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TOWIE stars grilled in awkward Daybreak interview by John Stapleton

He’s been interviewing stars for the past 40 years, with numerous appearances on shows including Panorama and Newsnight under his belt.

So it comes as little surprise that John Stapleton was slightly perplexed when he was faced with the prospect of interviewing the stars of The Only Way Is Essex on Daybreak today.

And the 65-year-old anchor certainly didn’t pull any punches when it came to quizzing the reality stars, admitting he had only watched the programme for the first time over the weekend in preparation for the interview.

Giving them a grilling: John Stapleton pulled no punches when he interviewed the TOWIE cast on Daybreak today

Giving them a grilling: John Stapleton pulled no punches when he interviewed the TOWIE cast on Daybreak today

Stapleton then proceeded to ask the stars – Lauren Goodger, Jessica Wright, James ‘Arg’ Argent, Lydia Bright and Harry Derbidge – how much of the programme was set up.

But Stapleton’s forceful questioning technique led to a very awkward interview to watch.

However, he appeared to be doing the nation a favour by asking the stars exactly how much of the show was actual reality, and how much was made up.

He began the interview by telling the stars: ‘I have to confess, I had never seen your programme until this weekend when someone very kindly gave me your boxsets.

Aren't you embarrassed? Stapleton admitted he was 'intrigued' by the ITV2 programme, but said he believed parts of it were acted

Aren’t you embarrassed? Stapleton admitted he was ‘intrigued’ by the ITV2 programme, but said he believed parts of it were acted

Good spirits: The cast all managed to hold their own in the line of fire, but Harry Derbidge remained resolutely silent

Good spirits: The cast all managed to hold their own in the line of fire, but Harry Derbidge remained resolutely silent

‘But I am intrigued, I am genuinely intrigued. I have never seen
anything like this before. Is this truly a reflection of your views, and
your attitudes and your lifestyles or is it, in the best interests of
entertainment, is it massaged?’

Lauren replied: ‘No it is, it is our real lives. Obviously it is a bit exaggerated and some scenes are set up but nothing’s scripted. It’s just like we’ll all go to a party, and we’ll know that we are going, and then certain situations happen bu it’s all real.’

Stapleton then asked Arg: ‘One of the things that stuck me about it, Arg, is that most of you are very well off. You drive around in Mercedes cars, every time I see you in a nightclub there’s a bottle of champagne there, now that may have been laid on by producers, but you are well off people already?’

Belting it out: The cast also performed their charity Christmas single Last Christmas on the programme

Belting it out: The cast also performed their charity Christmas single Last Christmas on the programme

Having a ball: Nanny Pat, who has one line in the song, appeared to be enjoying herself with the performance

Having a ball: Nanny Pat, who has one line in the song, appeared to be enjoying herself with the performance

However, Arg contended: ‘I think a few of the cast are well off already. I mean, obviously Kirk owns his own nightclub called Sugar Hut and a few of the girls are from wealthy families.

‘Me myself, I’m not one of the most well off out of the cast and all the champagne I drink is probably because Mark brought it for me!’

Stapleton then asked: ‘You all live in roughly the same area in Essex, what do people say to
you because a lot of people would watch that in stunned disbelief,
because they couldn’t believe that people were behaving that way, were
talking that way, were being so revelatory about their personal lives –
what do people say to you when they see you in the streets?’

Pretty in orange: Lydia Bright looked cute in an orange pleated dress as she left the television studios

Pretty in orange: Lydia Bright looked cute in an orange pleated dress as she left the television studios

Pretty in orange: Lydia Bright looked cute in an orange pleated dress as she left the television studios

Jessica replied: ‘At first people were shocked and no-one would admit that they watched it
and it was almost like it was a bad thing if you watched it but now
it’s completely the other way around – everyone is so complimentary about
it, we have such an amazing following.’

Continuing in the same vein of questioning, Stapleton pushed: ‘Have you ever been embarrassed by it?’

Jessica, who managed to remain calm in the line of fire, said: ‘At the beginning, the first episode, we were all a bit shocked. We weren’t sure how it was going to come across and how it was going to be perceived, so for us it was our lives on television so it was hard.

Glamorous: Chloe Sims, Lauren Pope and Harry Derbidge were all photographed leaving the studios after the awkward interview
Glamorous: Chloe Sims, Lauren Pope and Harry Derbidge were all photographed leaving the studios after the awkward interview
Glamorous: Chloe Sims, Lauren Pope and Harry Derbidge were all photographed leaving the studios after the awkward interview

Glamorous: Chloe Sims, Lauren Pope and Harry Derbidge were all photographed leaving the studios after the awkward interview

‘But since then it’s grown into such a phenomenon and everyone loves it and it’s funny.’

At the end of the interview, Stapleton’s Daybreak co-host Kate Garraway praised the TOWIE cast for managing to keep their cool.

She said: ‘Can I just say well done to all of you. I’ve sat next to John Stapleton
when he’s taken prime ministers apart and I think he gave you a pretty
good going over but you were marvellous.’

When Garraway said to Stapleton that the reality stars had managed to cope with his forceful interviewing, he conceded: ‘They can answer my questions very adequately, very eloquently.’

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Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol UK premiere

If you’ve not yet started dressing for the festive season, take a tip from Gillian Anderson – wear red and show some flesh.

The actress led the Christmas babes who all turned up to the Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol red carpet tonight.

The ladies turned out in force with a number of Christmas frocks, dressed head-to-toe in glitz and glamour at the BFI Imax in London for the UK premiere.

Mission Festive: Gillian Anderson led the pack of ladies turning out in festive frocks to the MI4 premiere as she flashed her cleavage

Mission Festive: Gillian Anderson led the pack of ladies turning out in festive frocks to the MI4 premiere as she flashed her cleavage

And it was actress Gillian Anderson who stole the limelight as she stepped out in a festive red frock with her cleavage shown off with its slinky cut.

The former X-Files star also went for some glitz with her accessories, opting for black and silver diamante earrings which matched her large ring.

She also adorned herself with a black clutch bag and cropped black jacket to add to the sophisticated look.

Star of the fourth Mission movie, Paula Patton, also outshone the celebrities at the UK premiere as she stepped out in a cream mini dress adorned with embellished jewels.

Flashing some flesh: Gillian dared to bare in her glam festive frock

Flashing some flesh: Gillian dared to bare in her glam festive frock

That Christmas feeling: Guest including Caprice and Sinitta obviously can't wait for the big day later this month

That Christmas feeling: Guest including Caprice and Sinitta obviously can't wait for the big day later this month

That Christmas feeling: Guests including Caprice and Sinitta obviously can’t wait for the big day later this month and also opted for red get-ups

The actress, who plays one of the
lead female parts in the latest instalment of the franchise, was happy
to show off her supermodel legs despite the wintry London weather.

And she didn’t even seem to notice the icy conditions as she fully embraced the festive season.

Gillian
and Paula were joined by a flurry of females all dressing to impress
with their own Christmas take, with many opting for seasonal red.

Normally a fashion faux pas at red carpet events, there were all shades of red also on former pop star Sinitta and model Caprice.

Festive fun: Paula wowed in a cream mini dress embellished with sparkly jewels and ignored the cold weather

Festive fun: Paula wowed in a cream mini dress embellished with sparkly jewels and ignored the cold weather

Festive fun: Paula wowed in a cream mini dress embellished with sparkly jewels and ignored the cold weather

Holidays are coming! MI4 star Paula Patton was the belle of the red carpet at the UK premiere as she led the pack of ladies adorned in festive outfits

Holidays are coming! MI4 star Paula Patton was the belle of the red carpet at the UK premiere as she led the pack of ladies adorned in festive outfits

Catwalk beauty Caprice was also obviously feeling the Christmas spirit as she too went for a crimson number.

Ignoring the cold air, Caprice showed off her ample curves and long legs in a strapless red mini dress, while also going for gold shoes and accessories.

Arriving back to England straight from her stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Sinitta also welcomed the Christmas spirit with the big day approaching fast.

Opposites: While Paula opted for all out festive glamour, her co-star Lea Seydoux opted for a completely black ensemble. Maybe her friend's Christmas spirit will rub off on her!

Opposites: While Paula opted for all out festive glamour, her co-star Lea Seydoux opted for a completely black ensemble. Maybe her friend’s Christmas spirit will rub off on her!

Standing out: Tom Cruise and Lea obviously warmed towards Paula's bright and festive get-up

Standing out: Tom Cruise and Lea obviously warmed towards Paula’s bright and festive get-up

Simon Cowell’s ex walked the carpet dressed in skintight red trousers with gold platform heels and a yellow top to brighten the look up even more.

Sinitta also gave herself a lick of red lipstick to fully complete the festive party get-up.

But Christmas clearly wasn’t on the top of everyone’s lists, as a few of the guests certainly needed some festive spirit injected into their wardrobes.

Not so festive: Lea and Jenni only have a few more days to get into the Christmas mood!

Not so festive: Lea and Jenni only have a few more days to get into the Christmas mood!

Not so festive: Lea and Jenni Falconer only have a few more days to get into the Christmas mood!

Where's your Santa hat, Tom?! The star of the film opted for classic dark colours at the London screening

Where’s your Santa hat, Tom?! The star of the film opted for classic dark colours at the London screening

Star of the film Tom Cruise certainly wasn’t feeling in the holiday mood as he dressed in black, with trousers, jumper, shirt and jacket all playing it safe.

Co-star Lea Seydoux also opted for head-to-toe black, but gave a small glimpse of the party season with her gold clutch bag and bracelet.

And guest Jenni Falconer also kept it plain and simple in black skinny trousers and pointy shoes.

Simon Pegg and his wife Maureen McCann also steered clear of the festive theme with their simple ensembles.

The actor looked dapper in a grey suit and black shoes, while Maureen went for a cream longsleeved dress.

Playing it safe: Richard Hammond and Simon Pegg had no red in sight as they turned up with their partners

Playing it safe: Richard Hammond and Simon Pegg had no red in sight as they turned up with their partners

Playing it safe: Richard Hammond and Simon Pegg had no red in sight as they turned up with their partners

Half festive: Model Tallulah wore black but still looked festive with her faux fur jacket and large red clutch bag

Half festive: Model Tallulah wore black but still looked festive with her faux fur jacket and large red clutch bag

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Downton Abbey Christmas special

With a break-up, punch-up, animal cruelty and an unexpected romantic twist, it sounds more like a soap opera than a drama set in a stately home.

But this is what’s in store for viewers during the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey.

While full details of the plot remain under wraps until Christmas Day, the cast have let slip a few clues.

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Feast for viewers: Lady Violet Crawley (left) and the Earl of Grantham (right) at the dinner table during Downton Abbey's Christmas special

Feast for viewers: Lady Violet Crawley (left) and the Earl of Grantham (right) at the dinner table during Downton Abbey’s Christmas special

Gunning for it: Sir Richard Carlisle, Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley head out with a shooting party

Gunning for it: Sir Richard Carlisle, Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley head out with a shooting party

Romance on the Christmas cards? Downton addicts are hoping to discover if Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley become an item

Romance on the Christmas cards? Downton addicts are hoping to discover if Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley become an item

But there is still no answer to the question on every Downton’s fans lips – will Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley finally get together?

Matthew’s fiancée passed away in the last series as the house was hit by Spanish flu. Following a screening of the much-anticipated Christmas special yesterday, the audience were banned from revealing the plot.

And Dan Stevens, 29, who plays dashing Matthew – the heir to the Downton Abbey estate – admitted he had even been forced to hide the scripts from his wife.

Tensions: Scheming footman Thomas Barrow dances with Lady Violet at the servants' ball

Tensions: Scheming footman Thomas Barrow dances with Lady Violet at the servants’ ball

Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora) with Jim Carter

Phyllis Logan with Hugh Bonneville at the ball

Strictly Come Downton: Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora) dances with Jim Carter (Mr Carson), left, and Phyllis Logan (Mrs Hughes) with Hugh Bonneville (the Earl of Grantham)

However,
it has been revealed that the two-hour special, set over the festive
season in 1919, features a New Year ball, for those from both upstairs
and downstairs.

Even the strait-laced Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith, takes a turn on the floor – for a waltz.

Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, said: ‘I was sat with Maggie
watching the others between takes. Maggie and I were shouting numbers, almost like in Strictly Come Dancing, giving them scores. We had a real laugh watching everyone.’

It seems the dancing proved a challenge for some of the cast.

Soap opera: The family sit down for lunch after the shoot finishes, but many cracks will open up in the special

Intrigue: The family sit down for lunch after the shoot finishes, but many cracks will open up in the special

Festive: Lesley Nicol as Mrs Patmore and Sophie McShera as Daisy make mince pies

Festive: Lesley Nicol as Mrs Patmore and Sophie McShera as Daisy make mince pies

Good tidings: Sir Richard Carlisle, Lady Mary, Cora and Matthew Crawley exchange Christmas presents

Good tidings: Sir Richard Carlisle, Lady Mary, Cora and Matthew Crawley exchange Christmas presents

Jim
Carter, who plays the butler Mr Carson, said: ‘I still find it
difficult to talk and waltz, as in my head I’m going “One, two, three,
one, two, three”.

‘So when people wanted to engage me in a bright and lively conversation I was a bit dismayed.’

The cast said they were not worried about going head to head with BBC soap EastEnders, despite the fact that the show won the festive ratings battle last year.

Director Brian Percival said the production team made the show ‘for the viewers’ and not as a ratings vehicle.

Special screening: Stars of the hit show - including Hugh Bonneville and Laura Evans (left), and creator Julian Fellowes - attended a special screening of the Christmas Day episode in London last night

Special screening: Downton creator Julian Fellowes arrives at Cineworld Haymarket for a screening of Christmas At Downton Abbey

Special screening: Stars of the hit show  – including Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu (left), and creator Julian Fellowes with his wife Lady Emma Kitchener- at a screening of the Christmas Day episode in London last night

He said: ‘We don’t want to be competitive with anybody. If you make TV to do that it is the kiss of death.’

The stars of the drama, which has only been on air for 16 months, will begin filming a third series in February. And yesterday it was announced that ITV chiefs have already commissioned a two-hour Christmas special for 2012.

This year’s special will be on ITV1 at 9pm on Christmas Day.

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