Well if anyone watched The Voice last night, you'll know that Anne Marie in her first year as a coach got her man Craig to the winning spot. (Sadly he was not from Essex but he was - I thought - brilliant.) Anne Marie is another fabulously talented Essex girl - from Tilbury to be precise. It also ocurred to me last night that Olly Murs, one of the other coaches is also from Essex (Witham) - as was his incredible contestant Grace (from South Ockendon).
My main characters in The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub would definitely have been watching The Voice and rooting for Grace and Olly - the Essex duo - because they came from Essex. Loyalty is a wonderful characteristic of Essex folk in my experience.
The list of seriously successful artists, actors and TV presenters from Essex is not to be sniffed at. They include Alison Moyet (Billericay), Tamzin Outhwaite (Ilford), Anya Hindmarch (Maldon), Denise Van Outen (Basildon), Dermot O'Leary (Colchester), Sarah Miles (Ingatestone), Richard Madely, Little Mix's Jesy Nelson and Jilly Cooper (all from Romford), Gemma Collins (Brentwood), Jessi J (Redbridge), Frankie Bridges and Rochelle Humes of The Saturdays (Upminster and Barking respectively), Stacey Solomon (Dagenham), and Russel Brand ( Grays). There are many more but these are the ones that spring immediately to mind.
So we may not be the most sophisticated bunch but we know how to get ourselves noticed. There's clearly something about the way Essex folk are - friendly, straight talking, approachable and ambitious.
And as Sarah Perry (author of Essex Girls) says, there's nothing wrong with that!