Actress defends 'ominous' Sent to Coventry TV show

By Matthew Bates Tuesday 18 December 2012 Updated: 27/12 10:40

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Holly Matthews said Sent To Coventry would be a positive experience for the city.

A REALITY TV show based in Coventry will not portray the city in a negative light, an actress behind it has insisted.

Holly Matthews admitted Sent to Coventry would play on stereotypes but claimed it would create a buzz of excitement.

A pilot is set to be filmed with auditions held next month, and the idea has already created a storm on social networking sites such as twitter.

But it was slammed by a city councillor, who claimed it would wrongly present the city as unsafe.

Coun Kevin Foster said it was 'ominous' the show was being compared to The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) - a Bafta-winning production which shows 'real' people in semi-scripted scenarios.

A tagline for Sent to Coventry states: "What happens when sparks fly, chaos ensues, and the Job Centre is closed?

"Join us, as we get Sent to Coventry..."

But Holly, a former Byker Grove actress, branded the show a tongue-in-cheek look at Coventry.

She will play a part in casting at auditions being hosted in S7ven nightclub from 10am on Friday, January 11 - people must be over 18 to enter.

"The show will play on certain stereotypes but it's a tongue-in-cheek look at the city and won't be making fun of it.

"Everyone involved is proud of the city. It has a real British sense of humour and pokes fun at itself.

"This will be a tongue-in-cheek show but one that tackles more issues than TOWIE does."

She claimed the show could become positive in a similar way Geordie Shore has seen publicity for Newcastle.

The drink-fuelled show has been criticised by council chiefs who promised to clean-up the city's image.

Holly, a Newcastle-native who moved to the city, said Sent to Coventry would not be as extreme but added: "Bizarrely, Geordie Shore has created a buzz and excitement about Newcastle.

"It's negative but there have been good things to come off the back of the show."

Tory Coun Foster disagreed, telling us: "It certainly does not sound like Coventry will be portrayed as the city where Sir Frank Whittle developed the jet engine or where students come and earn high quality degrees, or as the base of Jaguar Land Rover and Severn Trent.

"It sounds ominously like it will be presented in a very different way.

"The tagline makes it sound like it will portray the city as unsafe and where people don't get on with each other.

"Of course the opposite is true - it's a diverse but cohesive city.

"Yes there are problems but that is just like other cities."

He said programmes like TOWIE, Geordie Shore and The Valleys promoted stereotypes.

"The Valleys will not be one of the Welsh government's favourite ways of promoting tourism.

"My hope is that it shows Coventry as it is - I came here as a student and found it very welcoming."

Labour councillor Bally Singh added it could be for the city.

"The people of Coventry are what make this city great. This programme has the potential to put Coventry on the map, as long as it shows the city in a good light."

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The show promises to be a 'tongue-in-cheek' look at Coventry life.

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