The only way is...Wigan?

The Grim Up North production team hit King Street on the hunt for potential reality stars
The Grim Up North production team hit King Street on the hunt for potential reality stars

ESSEX, Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea and ... Wigan?

The town could soon be following in the footsteps of reality shows such as TOWIE with a TV programme of its own.

It’s a concept which has taken the nation by storm over the last two years.

A camera crew follows regular people around noting every aspect of their daily lives, making celebratory stars of those featured. One young group of local people have taken note of this, and have spent the last 12 months researching a possible reality show for the north.

Jon Cooper, of Hindley, and Chris Jenkins set up Big Features, which has gone about assembling a cast and marketing for “Grim Up North”.

The concept of the new show isn’t to totally mimic what the other shows have done though.

While the other television shows, such as The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea, have a very generalised cast, the makers of Grim Up North want to show the diversity of the region.

One thing they are keen on though, is that Wigan will be at the heart of it all.

“We’ve been so busy over the last year,” said Jon. “We’ve paid people to go out to the streets during the day and night researching and also trying to find potential cast members.

“We’ve been all over the UK carrying it out the research, too.

“We have a few on board already, including a famous DJ from Wigan who is known the world over.

“We want to show the north off for its diversity, we want people from all walks of life.

“The other shows knocking about just show people with a load of money getting drunk all the time, which I just don’t think is entertaining to watch.

“We want to move away from that and set up a show which shows the North for what it really is.

“I’m very keen to have it very focused on Wigan, with me being from here.

“Lately, we’ve had teams in the town centre and out on to King Street at night talking to people about it and had some really positive feedback.”

The recruitment process has one more month to go and the makers have a well-known TV production company on board to back them.

Once applications close on November 30, filming will begin before Christmas.

It will be shot in a similar style to the other shows and will be minimally scripted, but it will show off northerners in their everyday lives rather than just contrived situations.

When pitching the show to the TV production companies, Jon and Chris told them they wanted it to be a mix of The Only Way is Essex, Shameless and Phoenix Nights. The team believe Wigan is ideal because of its diversity and the culture of the town and its people.

For more information you can visit the Grim Up North website, call 01942 864461 or email

Applicants must be aged 16 or over.