These telly programmes are people-watching at its best

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

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Rick Jackson

Reality has been the buzzword of the past 15 years, with Big Brother being the first of many shows to supposedly show real life.

What The Only Way Is Essex is though, no-one will know. It’s about as real as their tans.

But now Channel 4 has started the new phenomenon of watching people. From the inspiring One Born Every Minute to the excellent First Dates and my personal favourite, Gogglebox.

The concept is so simple. It’s basically watching people’s reactions when they’re watching TV

Before you say ‘what rubbish’, you have to watch it for a couple of weeks to get the idea.

The people we eavesdrop on become familiar, friendly faces and they’re reacting in very similar ways to you and I.

It also means you don’t need to watch any telly as they bring you up to date each Friday.

You get used to your favourite characters too. Elderly couple Leon and June in Liverpool for instance.

Leon hates everything, then likes it after. The Siddiquis from Derby are very observant and humorous.

The people we eavesdrop on become familiar, friendly faces and they’re reacting in very similar ways to you and I

Then there’s Steph and Dom. They’re the posh couple who run what must be the smartest B&B in the UK.

They always give the impression of being sloshed and each week we try to identify what they’re drinking!

First Dates is another superb idea. It’s simply filmed in a restaurant for first date couples in London.

Fixed cameras film their entire dates, from awkward hellos to flirting or looks of desperation.

I wonder if there’s a camera overlooking the escape window in the toilets?

After the date, the couples are asked how it went and whether they’re likely to see each other again. The show also keeps tabs on any developing relationships.

Thank goodness my first date with Sarah wasn’t filmed. Apparently I spoke so much I hardly came up for air.

These telly programmes are peoplewatching at its absolute best. I wonder what’s next? Hairdressers? A coffee shop? Is nowhere safe from prying cameras?