After six successful seasons of their family’s reality TV show, you could claim that Sam and Billie Faiers are Britain’s answer to the Kardashians.
The sisters believe, however, that their no-holds-barred approach to filming makes their series a far more relatable proposition.
Sam, 29, and Billie, 30, first found reality fame on The Only Way Is Essex. Since 2016, Sam and Billie: The Mummy Diaries has followed the sisters’ day to day lives as they bring up their young children with partners Paul Knightley and Greg Shepherd.
The ITVBe show has covered everything from night feeds and teething problems to potty training and screaming tantrums - via Billie’s headline-grabbing Maldives wedding to Shepherd last spring.
Speaking ahead of the seventh series, Sam (who is mum to “Little” Paul, four, and Rosie, two) and Billie (who shares Nelly, five, and Arthur, two, with Shepherd) pinned the show’s success on their willingness to “give everything” when they are filming.
“There’s the highs and the lows,” Billie said, Sam completing her sentence to add: “So many mums like to be able to relate, and think, ‘it’s not just me, it’s not just my children.’ If we didn’t give everything, people wouldn’t invest their time into it.
“Obviously we share everything - we’re putting it out there that we’re not the perfect mums and we do struggle with childcare. The kids aren’t perfect…”
“They’re not all perfectly well behaved, we show all their tantrums,” Billie continued, before recounting how Arthur left her mortified when he came out with a swear word during a recent photo shoot - a scene captured by the cameras that will feature in the upcoming series.
“It came out of nowhere,” she explained. “Honestly, I’m not a swearer, especially not around the kids. We’re sitting there, all these professional people, and all of a sudden he just goes…
“When I watched it back, I went ‘Oh no, they’ve left it on, that’s going to make me look like a bad mum.’ But then I thought, every child, every mum has probably been in that position.
“All the highs and lows of motherhood are [in the show].”
Sam admitted that it is often the most “mundane” scenes that have resonated with viewers.
“We’re a nosy nation and we love to see inside people’s lives,” she said. “The things that we think are really mundane and boring are what the viewer loves.
“I was doing a scene a little while ago and I was doing the ironing and I was like, ‘Surely we can’t put this on TV’ but [the producers] were like, ‘Trust me, the mums that are at home ironing watching this will be happy to see it.’”
“I’ll say, ‘I’m not filming in my kitchen any more!’" Billie added. “But people love the kitchen scenes, people love to see the mess.”
As their show invites viewers into the day-to-day minutiae of their lives, the sisters agree, the fans that they meet often feel like they know them personally - though this doesn’t seem to faze them.
“Anyone that stops us in the street is always so friendly and it’s really nice knowing that people feel like they can approach us,” Sam says. “You don’t want to be someone [people] think is standoffish.”
With their young children also taking starring roles in the series, do they receive attention from fans, too? “Not really - not in a way that’s uncomfortable,” Billie reasons. “Little girls will say hi to Nelly, but she gets really shy.”
Sometimes, though, viewers are more starstruck by the scene-stealing kids than by the sisters. Sam laughs as he recalled how “we were at this lunch somewhere and these two boys, I think they were footballers, came and said ‘Excuse me…’
“We thought they were coming to talk to Billie and I, and they were like ‘Sorry to interrupt your lunch… but can we just get a picture with Nelly?’”
“Then they got in their Rolls Royce and drove off!”
Sam and Billie: The Mummy Diaries returns to ITVBe tonight at 9pm.