FANS of the hit television series The Only Way is Essex turned out in force to meet one its stars in a North East town.

Sam Faiers, who is a leading character in the reality show about a group of friends in Essex, was in Darlington WHSmith on Saturday to sign copies of her book Living Life the Essex Way.

Among the 80 or so fans who queued round the store to meet her was 14-year-old Beth Watson from Thornaby who arrived at 12.45pm to make sure she was first in line for the 3pm signing.

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“I’m a really big fan and I was determined to be first in the queue,” said Miss Watson who was wearing t-shirt with names of the show’s main characters splashed across the front.

“Sam is one of my favourite characters, my favourite is actually Joey Essex but I’m still really excited about meeting Sam.”

Miss Faiers had travelled to Darlington from an earlier signing at Newcastle’s Metro Centre and told The Northern Echo: “The best thing about the signings is getting to meet my fans, it is fantastic.

“It is so nice to know that people are buying the book and enjoying it.

“I’m getting a really good response; everybody here in Darlington seems to be in good spirits.”

Miss Faiers’ hardback book knocked Simon Cowell’s autobiography off the number one spot and spent 17-weeks in the top ten bestsellers chart, while the paperback version is currently at number 11.

The television show, often to shortened to ‘Towie’, was a surprise hit when it was launched in 2010 and regularly attracted over one million viewers. It is now in its seventh series.