15.30: Reem! The moment of the weekend has arrived, A TOWIE masterclass at the Edinburgh TV Festival. I never thought I'd see the day. What can we learn from the Sugar Hut gang?
15.34: Kate Garraway is at the helm of the session again. She's following me around the festival today. Will she get vajazzled? My stomach hopes not.
15.40: Garraway says the festival has "gone TOWIE mad" and claims "so has the rest of the world". She teases that she may have had a vajazzle. Ugh.
15.36: On the panel are Mark Wright, Sam Faiers, co-creator Tony Wood, All3Media's Ruth Wrigley and ITV's Claire Zolkwer. Mark is glowing under the spotlight.
15.38: "Yes is is true, I can confirm that," says Wright on his love split. Garraway offers herself up as a cougar. Ugh.
15.39: Ruth says that she wanted to find the UK answer to The Hills in TOWIE. She says the combination of "the real" and "comedy sprinkled over the top to make it entertaining" appealed to her.
15.40: Tony Wood talks about The Season on BBC Choice, which he describes as "packagaing reality as drama". Tony and Ruth combined their knowledge of drama and the edit and reality shows such as Big Brother (Ruth worked on the first couple of series of BB).
15.44: "There was a whole generation of viewers who knew how reality TV worked... this was a natural progression," says Wrigley. "Audiences got it, ten years earlier they wouldn't."
15.45: "We went to Channel 4 first. We pitched it as Big Brother meets Hollyoaks. It's a difficult thing to explain and they thought it would be like the family," says Wrigley. She also reveals that originally the show was based on surfers in Bournemouth! Blimey.
15.45: Lots of talk about forgotten BBC Choice show The Season, which was ahead of the game with scripted reality. Claire Zolkwer says that the show tapped into the aspirational TV of Peter Andre and Katie Price, but it was different and more interesting for her as the talent were not already stars.
15.47: Ah TOWIE clips time. Vajazzles, rows, tans, bad acting. But utterly brilliant at the same time.
15.49: "I think we weren't sure if it would be a hit or embarrassing," says Faiers. She claims that everyone she knew slated it at the start, "but they're now auditioning to take part". Garraway says "they're well jel". Ugh.
15.50: Mark Wright claims that he considered the show "tacky", but argues that it works.
15.51: Ruth Wrigley: "They're not idiots. Essex is celebratory."
15.52: "What really works about the show is the comedy and the narrative. It's like a soap opera," says Tony Wood. He argues that it's harder to shoot as they become more comfortable with the cameras.
15.53: "It's all based on what's really going on in their lives... we don't try and trick them or set them up," says Wrigley. "None of it is scripted," says Wood.
15.55: "We have trust with the producers and I won't talk to Arg about something in my life if they want to film it tomorrow. We have that trust between us," says Wright.
15.57: "They always catch the best bits and use the best lines in the edit," says Mark. "So that doesn't help." Wright is talking about hearing his mum and sister slagging off Lauren on the show.
15.58: The disclaimer at the start of the show makes it clear "we're here to entertain you," states Claire Zolkwer, when asked about issues of fakery.
16.00: "It creates its own drama because it's close to transmission. Because it's not a soap, we don't know what's going to happen. There's a leap of faith that something interesting will happen," says Wrigley.
16.01: "It's a hideous amount of work," reveals Tony Wood. "It's a 24-hour operation.... you have eight hours to do something you'd normally have a month to do."
16.05: Mark Wright either has a cummerbund or he's borrowed Cowell's high trousers.
16.06: "The show was never about taking the mickey, it was about the pride and fun," states Zolkwer, when explaining the title. The Yazoo song helped as well apparently. Early working titles included Project Essex.
16.08: "It was weird walking down the local high road the next day," says Wright, talking about their overnight fame. "It's surreal. We didn't plan to be famous."
16.09: "I don't think we can really moan. Everything we've got from the show... even if we weren't getting paid, we'd still do the show," says Sam about their low pay. "I still want my £50 a day though," she jokes. Ruth Wrigley says they pay them like they would pay someone for jury service or Big Brother. "They've made a load of money off the back of it," she adds.
16.11: "Essex is a community and a weird bastard child soap," says Zolkwer. "You need regneration, growth and change... and Amy [Child]'s exit is part of that," says Zolkwer. "Amy leaving is like Martine McCutcheon leaving EastEnders. It's the achilles heel and strength of the show, people will get high profiles. Amy wasn't big in series two because she stopped living a real life."
16.15 "I had a little feeling about it, but it was heated and a genuine argument and she caught me off guard," says Wright on that famous pool push scene.
16.18: "We've allowed the world to get a lot wider. We described it in the past as the soap you can be in. Nanny Pat, Joey Essex, the world just widened. We've widened it even more," reveals Tony Wood.
16.20: "I've been living the single life," says Sam. "I want to be single on the show. I want people to see me in my life without a boyfriend."
16.21: "I wouldn't say quite yet, but I've signed with an agent and hopefully they'll send me in the right direction. But for now, my heart is in TOWIE," says Wright.
16.22: "There are a few programmes in the pipeline. Mersey Shore is a possibility," says Wood when asked about the possibility of more scripted reality shows from Lime Pictures.
16.25: "The key to the show lies in the interaction between transmission, fame and being in the moment," says Wood. He claims that they couldn't shoot in advance because it would lose the "real time" element. He argues that it also prevents stories being spoilt by the press.
16.26: "It's so part of ITV2's DNA, I'm not sure it would work on ITV1 so well. ITV 2 is where it was designed for. If we wanted to do something for ITV1, we'd start all over again and do something bespoke for that channel," says ITV's Claire Zolkwer.
16.28: "What it lacked was humour and it was shot upfront so we knew where it was going," says Ruth Wrigly, criticising Made In Chelsea. Mark Wright argues that "people relate to us" rather than the poshos in Chelsea. "I think Chelsea lacks the entertainment part of the thought process," argues Wood. Zolkwer says the fact that Made In Chelsea makes things confusing for promotion and social media of the show.
16.31: "I think it's a honour to be part of the show. If nothing happens in the future, we've always been part of an amazing show."
16.33: Mark on the new series: "I want people to warm to me a bit more. I'm a caring person. I'm not just a playa who hurts girls." Tony Wood ends the session by saying he wants everyone to "stay reem". Brilliant.