News Column

MEET ABBIE, REALITY QUEEN ; Introducing the cast of Shoplife,set to be North's latest TV sensation

July 28, 2013

YellowBrix

OUTSPOKEN new reality star Abbie Thompson has revealed her greatest fear ... being compared to the cast of Geordie Shore.

Abbie, 18, appears in the new BBC Three television series Shoplife, following 10 youngsters as they work at the Metrocentre in Gateshead.

But Abbie said she fears being tarred with the same brush as the hard-partying group in the controversial MTV show.

The shop girl is shown complaining she has to use high street makeup in the first episode, airing on Thursday.

She also describes herself as a "bull in a china shop" and confesses her love of material things.

The teenager, who lives at home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, with her mum and a guinea pig, said she is worried about how she will come across.

She said: "I would hope Shoplife is not like Geordie Shore, although it does show what it is like on a night out in Newcastle.

"That's one thing I am frightened for because a lot of people have asked if it is going to be like Geordie Shore, blah blah blah blah, and I would hope it is not.

"I am really anxious how I will come across because the trailer for the programme has me talking about liking material things.

"But all I buy designer is handbags and shoes, I don't wear lots of make-up, I don't wear fake tan. I do wear hair extensions but who doesn't in Newcastle? "So if that is the light I am trying to be shown in, then it's going to be complete bullcrap, and it's not me.

"I am quite outspoken, if I have an opinion I won't be afraid to express it, because if you don't say anything, nothing will get done.

"Bull in a china shop is right, but it depends on how you take it. Everything I say depends on how people take it."

The series tells the stories of staff at the Metrocentre as they try to balance their hopes with the realities of working life, the minimum wage, and nights out. They include: ? Abbie, who dreams of rising through the ranks at top fashion store Van Mildert and owning a Louis Vuitton handbag.

? Slacker Joey Barrows, who escapes the sack from extreme sports shop Skate Shack for being late.

? Chocolate salesman Tom Whalley, who dreams of leaving shop work to stage his own musical.

Abbie is shown fretting about her shopping habits and the chances of getting promotion to supervisor at the high-end retail shop where she works for the minimum wage and 1% commission.

She tells the cameras: "I am not a materialistic person, but I like materialistic things. At the moment, I literally have no money left. I normally get Estee Lauder makeup, but I have had to go for high street make-up. I know it sounds really, like, shallow but it's bloody upsetting. Is this what your life is like, Abbie, is it really what's happening?" Abbie is filmed claiming that her month's pay is gone within a week, adding: "At the moment this is the skintest I have ever been. Ever, ever, ever."

Joey, 19, is shown struggling to cope with his job selling sports kit and complains about his boss Lee Elliott, who usually works from home but keeps an eye on staff by CCTV.

Joey finds a blind spot in the stock room, but is hauled over the coals for spending too long off the shop floor. He says in the show: "Coming in four minutes late - I got a warning for that. I would love to tell my boss to stick it. Who wouldn't?" Lee tells him: "Stop giving me the ammunition to give you a bollocking." Co-owner Paula Elliott said: "Joey is still with us. The important thing is that the shop is shown in a good light. We want to help young people get a foot on the ladder. The CCTV is there as security."

Tom, 23, of Whickham, said the series helped him achieve his ambition of staging a musical in his spare time after finishing work at Hotel Chocolat.

He said: "I had a meeting with someone from the BBC and a year later the filming started, so it was a long process.

"They filmed me at the shop, but the theme running through was what if my hobby and dream becomes the day job? They filmed a lot of me desperately trying to write, thinking about staging my musical, which eventually did happen.

"My favourite bit was the night at Boulevard, a cabaret venue in Newcastle, when the musical was staged. It was something I always wanted to do but never had the drive to push forward but, with the programme behind me, it was the push I needed."

Tom's musical is about a war between two supermarkets and he describes it as the West Side Story of the Tesco world.

Shoplife can be seen on Thursday, BBC Three, at 9pm.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.


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