THE GAZETTE'S APRIL FOOLS
A six-foot statue of Joey Essex cast in solid bronze is set to be created in a bizarre juxtaposition, next to Brentwood’s 14th century Chapel Ruins.
Brentwood Borough Council commissioned the statue in homage to the TV star, as it begins to tap into public's fascination with the long-running reality TV series The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE).
Already the town has become a hot destination for hoards of TOWIE fans and it is hoped by investing up to £300,000 in the Joey Essex statue, the tourist surge will continue.
Organisers are hoping the large representation of Joey, sporting his famous goofy smile, will attract thousands more visitors each year.
The decision has upset some, who believe other TOWIE cast members including Joey’s on, off girlfriend and Brentwood business owner Sam Faiers and Sugar Hut boss Micky Norcross are more deserving of the accolade.
But it was Joey’s long list of famous one-liners that has tipped the choice in his favour.
The word Reem, which will be engraved in the granite plinth beneath the statue, is proudly cited as one of Joey’s more creative contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Brentwood Borough Council is thought to have asked little-known sculptor Rolf Ailsop to create what would be his most ambitious project to date.
The sculpture will be given pride of place at the entrance to Brentwood's most modern shopping precinct, though organisers have not ruled out commissioning a much larger statue to be placed in William Hunter Way once that development has been completed.
Other Brentwood dignitaries, past and present, were considered for the honour, including the former Queen of TOWIE Amy Childs and Brentwood-born actor Stephen Moyer, now a Hollywood star thanks to his portrayal of a blood-sucking vampire in the TV series True Blood.
His Oscar-winning wife Anna Paquin was thought to be not keen on the idea, preferring instead the idea of Brentwood’s Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert sitting in a life-sized cast of a racing car.
An online petition calling on Brentwood Borough Council to drop Joey in favour of a 30ft statue of Steve Davis, along with snooker cue, has already attracted dozens of signatures.
It is hoped the statue will be ready by the time the 12th series of the ITV2 show begins later this year.