A NEW sitcom set in Basildon and entitled Scumbags has been dubbed the “Shameless of the south".
Scriptwriter Chris Windle believes he has created the “complete anti-Christ” to Towie by exploring the socalled new underclass of the uneducated and unemployed.
Shameless, set on a Manchester estate, featured TV’s most dysfunctional family.
Mr Windle hopes a company like Channel 4 will be interested in commissioning episodes of the gritty Scumbags – which promises no fake tan, just plenty of dodgy birds and geezers.
The 29-year-old, of Leigh, said: “We are not saying everybody in Basildon is a scumbag. The type of people depicted are likely to be viewed by others as scumbags.
“If anything they are misunderstood.
To tell you the truth, it is there to grab people’s attention. If I had called it the Wandsworth estate, it wouldn’t attract as much attention.
“You could probably say it is the Shameless of the south.
There are other areas of economic depression. I could have used Grays, Southend or Tilbury, but Basildon just felt right, having worked there myself.” Mr Windle funded the pilot, which cost him about £600 and took nine months to make.
He believes as the series progresses viewers will come to love the characters. He acknowledges that while the show aims to represent the out-of-work man, it is an exaggeration which uses humour to make a point.
Katie Parsons, 25, of Benfleet, plays lead character Jay Jay, a security guard who grew up with a drug addict mum and is trying to make it in a man’s world.
The former Appleton and Seevic pupil said: “It is not a reflection on the people of Basildon. Being born and raised in Basildon, I know it is not the town but society that makes such characters.’’ Mr Windle has released the 26-minute pilot on the Gherkin TV Youtube channel, where it has had more than 350 views.