FUMING Towie fans complained to Ofcom and accused the cast of "breaking rules" by visiting pubs and restaurants in lockdown.
Stars such as Chloe Sims and Georgia Kousoulou were able to go to each other's houses to film the ITVBe show while others mingled in pubs as the latest series launched on Sunday.
But viewers were unimpressed when they tuned in and called the scenes a "kick in the teeth" after pubs and restaurants were reopened especially for the cast.
Such businesses have been closed to the public throughout lockdown – with Brits unable to visit these venues for months.
However, they have been opened especially for Towie, with special measures said to be in place to keep the cast and crew safe.
And The Sun can confirm some viewers were so incensed they reached out to telly watchdog Ofcom and aired their frustrations.
Ofcom received 64 complaints after fans said they believed having the stars enjoying these outings on TV was "distasteful" – and also offensive to venue owners who lost their business during the pandemic.
A spokesperson said the complaints were about: "Filming in bars, restaurants and gyms during lockdown and food wastage".
Taking to Twitter, one wrote: "Livid that Towie has apparently been allowed to film in pubs and stuff because they ‘opened just for the show and have put in lots of extra measures’ lol"
"As if them all f**king off to Dubai on holiday during lockdown wasnt enough?? cba it’s literally a different world for them."
Another seethed: "Not allowed a wake and only limited number for funeral however Towie can go to pubs, gyms, gardens go to each other's houses! Parties!
"Shame on you! Preaching about lockdown these people have no idea what’s it’s like to be in a real lockdown!."
One more added: "Just seen on #Towie that they’re all in the gym, snooker clubs, restaurants and clubs.
"I’m sorry but it’s a massive kick in the teeth for all those who’ve had lost their businesses over the past year, and everyone else who hasn’t seen family members or friends.. What a joke."
Another agreed: "#TOWIE is so distasteful, did not need to be filmed this way meeting up with their mates – with extras – in pubs and gyms and clubs at this point in time."
A fifth raged: "Totally disagree with @OnlyWayIsEssex using restaurants and pubs to film in! The whole of the UK are in lockdown, why should they be given this preferential treatment.
"Everyone else isn’t allowed parties and drinks with friends. What a joke."
A spokesperson for the show previously said in a statement: "Series 28 of The Only Way is Essex will be filmed by Lime Pictures following strict COVID-19 protocols, ensuring that cast and crew are safe throughout.
"The show will still be bringing you the cast's real lives and stories, but to keep everyone safe TOWIE have had to create its own little world to film in.
"So, although you may see cast in pubs and restaurants, don't worry because they've opened just for the show and have put in lots of extra measures, so Lime Pictures and ITV can still bring you the TOWIE you love safely."
The Sun has contacted Towie for further comment.
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