The Only Way Is Essex (often abbreviated as TOWIE) is a BAFTA award-winning reality television show based in EssexEngland. It shows "real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way."[1] The show is filmed just a few days in advance. It is narrated by Denise van Outen, who is from Basildon, Essex. The show has been described by the Daily Mirror as Britain's answer to The Hills and Jersey Shore.[2]

The series airs for four weeks, airing on Wednesdays and Sundays at 10pm on ITV2. The first series consisted of 10 episodes and ran for 30 minutes with a christmas special followed later in the year. Due to popularity the show was extended to 45 minute episodes and renwed for a years airing. On 22 May 2011, the series won the Audience Award at the 2011 BAFTA Awards. The tenth and current series aired from October to November 2013 with a fourth christmas special confirmed to air in December.


 [hide*1 Series


Main article: List of The Only Way Is Essex episodesMain article: TOWIE Live

Series one began airing on 10 October 2010 and concluded on 10 November 2010, consisting of 10 episodes. Due to the success of the series, a Christmas special aired the same year on 24 December 2010. This series was heavily centred around the love triangle of Mark WrightLauren Goodger, and Lucy Mecklenburgh. Five of the main members of the cast appeared on Alan Carr: Chatty Man on 21 February 2011 to discuss the first series and also confirmed a second series.

Series 2 began airing on 20 March 2011 and concluded on 4 May 2011. Due to the popularity of the first series, the second series consisted of 14 episodes. Before the series aired, the cast filmed a four-minute music video that was screened on ITV2; dance duo LMFAO remixed their hit single "I'm in Miami Bitch" and replaced it with "Im in Essex Girl". This series saw the departure of Amy Childs off screen and introduced new characters Joey Essex and Gemma Collins.

Series 3 began airing on 24 September 2011 and concluded on 9 November 2011, consisting of 14 episodes. This series saw the departures of original cast members Mark Wright, Harry Derbridge and Kirk Norcross. A second Christmas special aired on 20 December. The cast of the third series (excluding Wright and Norcross) covered the Wham single "Last Christmas"; the official video premiered on ITV2 in November and the single peaked at number 32 on the UK Singles Chart. The cast for series 4 was officially announced on 24 January with the announcement that Maria Fowler and Harry Derbidge would not be returning.[3] On 25 January the show was nominated for "Most Popular Reality Programme" at the National Television Awards. Series 4 returned on 29 January 2012 and ended on 29 February. Series 5 began airing 15 April and yet again ran for 10 episodes concluding on 27 May 2012. An hour-long special entitled The Only Way Is Marbs, set in the holiday destination of Marbella, aired on 13 June 2012.[4] Tinchy Stryder made a guest appearance in the episode. Series 6 started airing from 22 July and concluded on 22 August. It was confirmed that original cast member Lauren Goodger would be leaving the series in the final episode. The seventh series started airing from 30 September 2012 with all of the cast from the previous series returning (apart from Goodger) and original cast member Kirk Norcross returning to the series after departing in series 3, the series will conclude on 31 October.[5] An eighth and ninth series was confirmed shortly after to be aired in 2013. On 13 November 2012, it was confirmed that three festive specials would air in December including a live episode, a first for any reality show. The specials aired from 3–19 December. On 19 December during the Christmas special, Lydia Bright announced that she was leaving the series.

Series 4 began airing on 29 January 2012 and ended on 29 February 2012, consisting of 10 episodes. Before the series aired it was confirmed that the show would run like a soap opera and therefore be screened throughout the entire year with four series airing in 2012. This series introduced numerous new characters due to the amount of departures from series 3, including Charlie King and Bobby Norris. Lauren Goodger confirmed that she would depart in the final episode of series 6 due to wanting to pursue other things, her final appearance was shown in the finale of series six. Kirk Norcross returned in series 7 after departing in series 3, making him the first cast member to return to the show. The series was renewed for two further series in August 2012, set to air sometime in 2013.[6] On 13 November 2012 it was confirmed that three festive specials would air in December including a live episode, a first for the show. Sam Faiers later tweeted "I'm really excited but so so nervous! It's going to be an amazing experience. Who knows what will happen... especially in Essex!" The live episode was met with numerous negative reviews, with Digital Spycommenting that it just didn't work and being complete car crash TV with it not making much sense. On 14 December 2012 it was confirmed that former cast member Mark Wright would return for a cameo appearance in the 2012 Christmas special, Wright confirmed this speaking to The Sun saying "Arg is a bit down right now, so I'm doing this for him. I know how excited he will be. It should be great fun and I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends." Original cast member Lydia Bright, Tom Kilbey, and Cara Kilbey all left after this series. In February 2013 it was confirmed that a film adaptation of the show would be made and would be set in Dubai with filming starting in the summer of 2013.[7] Series 8 started airing from 24 February 2013 and saw the introduction of several new supporting cast members. The series saw the departures of numerous long serving cast members such as Kirk Norcross, Debbie Douglas and Mick Norcross, who all announced their departures mid-way through the series.[8][9] An advert released on 22 May 2013 on ITV confirmed that Series 9 will begin with a The Only Way Is Marbs special. The series will begin 2 June 2013.[10] On 24 May 2013, it was announced that Billi Mucklow, Darrell Privett and Danni Park-Dempsey had all been axed from the show as well that Gary Lineker's brother, Wayne Lineker had joined the cast.[11] The tenth series began with two Vegas specials on 6 October – 9 October 2013.

Series 8, the first of 2013, began airing on 24 February. On 23 February, the day before the premiere of the first episode, it was reported that Lucy Mecklenburgh and Mario Falcone had split for a second time due to reports of Falcone cheating with new castmember Amy Broadbent, although the couple have not officially confirmed the reports.[12] The same day the series began, it was reported that Joey Essex and Sam Faiers would make series 8 their last series to appear as they wanted to star in their own reality spin-off series, having filmed a pilot in 2012, although no sources have confirmed.[13] New cast members were officially confirmed on 24 February to be twin sisters Amy and Sally Broadbent. However on 7 March, Lucy Mecklenburgh announced on Twitter that Amy had been used by the show create storylines and had been dropped fom the cast.[14]

Series 9 began with a The Only Way Is Marbs special as confirmed by an advert airing on ITV on 22 May 2013. It was also confirmed that it would begin 2 June 2013.[10] On 24 May 2013 it was revealed that Gary Lineker's brother, Wayne Lineker, had joined the cast. It was also announced that Billi Mucklow, Darrell Privett and Danni-Park Dempsey had all been axed from the show.[11] Series 10 began with two-hour long The Only Way Is Vegas specials on 6 and 9 October 2013, as confirmed by ITV Press Centre on 25 September 2013. [15] The regular tenth series followed running fro 13 October to 13 November, in the series finale it was confirmed that Joey Essex would make his final appearence.


Main cast[edit]Edit

This is the main current cast for series 1–10.

From series 1–3, the main cast received star billing in the opening credits, and were credited by their first names.

Cast member Age Series(s) Notes
Jess Wright 27 1–present Jess is the sister of former cast member Mark Wright, she runs her own lingerie shop called 'With Love, Jessica'. Educated at Bancroft's School. Ricky Rayment's girlfriend.
James "Arg" Argent 25 1–present Arg is the best friend of Mark Wright and ex-boyfriend of both Lydia Bright and Gemma Collins.
Sam Faiers 22 1–present Sam is the co-owner of Minnie's Boutique with her sister Billie, former glamour model. Ex-girlfriend of Mark Wright; recently engaged to Joey Essex after a rollercoaster romance beginning in series 2 before splitting only to reconcile in series 5 and become engaged in Dubai during the series 8 finale. However in series 9, the pair split again and ended their relationship.
Lauren Pope 31 1–present Lauren is a DJ, model and businesswoman and best friends with Chloe Sims. She is the ex-girlfriend of Kirk Norcross and briefly dated Tom Pearce.
Lucy Mecklenburgh 22 1–present Lucy is the owner of fashion boutique Love Lucy. She is also the ex-girlfriend of Mark Wright and Mario Falcone, and best friends with Lydia Bright. Lucy went to school with Sam Faiers at Shenfield High School.
Chloe Sims 31 2–present Chloe is the sister of Charlie Sims and the cousin of Joey Essex and Frankie Essex, and best friend of Lauren Pope. Sims is also a single mother to daughter Madison who appeared in series 4 of the show.
Gemma Collins 32 2–present Gemma is the ex-girlfriend of both Arg and Charlie King and took an early shine to Mick Norcross (not reciprocated). Gemma has had a very public battle with her weight which has been documented throughout the series.
Mario Falcone 25 3–present Mario is Lucy's ex-boyfriend and has been best friends with supporting cast member Little Chris.
Elliot Wright 32 10–present Elliot is the cousin of Jessica Wright and Mark Wright, he is currently the main love interest for Sam Faiers.

Supporting cast[edit]Edit

Cast member[16] Age Years credited Job/role Series(s)
Patricia "Nanny Pat" Brooker 72 2010–present Jess and Mark Wright's grandmother and Carol Wright's mother. 1–
Billie Faiers 23 2010–present Sister of Sam Faiers. She appeared in series 1, but without any speaking parts, before being cast as an official cast member in series 2. 1–
Carol Wright 52 2011–present Jess and Mark Wright's mother. 2–
Ricky Rayment[3] 22 2012–present Financial manager, owner of Bar Blanco in Rayleigh. Jess Wright's boyfriend. 4–
James "Diags" Bennewith[3] 21 2012–present Best friend of Joey Essex and Tom Pearce. 4–
Chris "Little Chris" Drake 25 2012–present Best friend of Mario Falcone. 4–
Bobby-Cole Norris 27 2012–present Hair stylist and best friend to Charlie King and Gemma Collins. 4–
Tom Pearce 22 2012–present School friend of Joey Essex, dated Lauren Pope, Lauren Goodger, and briefly newcomer Abi Clarke. 5–
Jasmin Walia[17] 22 2010, 2012–present Appeared in one episode in series 1 auditioning for the group LOLA before returning in series 7 as a supporting cast member. Former love interest for Charlie King and James Argent. 7–
Abi Clarke 21 2013–present Best friend of Jasmin, has dated Diags, Tom Pearce, and James Lock on the show. 8–
Dan Osborne 23 2013–present Model, best friend of James Lock and ex-fling of Lucy 8–
James Lock 24 2013–present Best friend of Dan Osborne 8–
Ferne McCann 23 2013–present Sam and Billie Faiers' friend, Charlie Sims' ex-girlfriend 9–
Charlie Sims 21 2013–present Chloe Sim's brother, Joey and Frankie Essex's cousin, Ferne McCann's boyfriend 9–

Former cast[edit]Edit

Cast member[16] Age Years credited Job/role Series
Lydia Rose Bright 22 2010–2012, 2013 Co-owner of boutique Bella Sorella, ex-girlfriend of James Argent and Tom Kilbey. 1–7, 9(s)
Kirk Norcross 24 2010–2011, 2012–2013 Son of Mick Norcross, ex-boyfriend of Amy Childs and Lauren Pope 1–3, 7–8
Mark Wright 26 2010–2011, 2012 Nightclub promoter, ex fiancé of Lauren Goodger. 1–3, 7
Lauren Goodger 26 2010–2012 Ex fiancée of Mark Wright, ex-girlfriend of Tom Pearce, owner of product line & shop Laurens Way. 1–6
Harry Derbidge 19 2010–2011 Student and cousin of Amy Childs. 1–3
Maria Fowler 27 2010–2011 Glamour model and former housemate of Lauren Pope, briefly dated Mick Norcross. 1–3
Amy Childs 23 2010–2011 Beautician, cousin of Harry Derbidge and ex-girlfriend of Kirk. Educated at Raphael Independent School. 1–2
Michael Woods 27 2010 Former bar worker at Sugar Hut and friend of Kirk Norcross. 1
Candy Jacobs 26 2010 Former bar worker at Sugar Hut and friend of Kirk Norcross. 1
Mick Norcross 49 2011–2013 Father of Kirk Norcross, nightclub owner of "Sugar Hut" and briefly dated Maria Fowler. 2–8
Joey Essex 23 2011–2013 Former fiancé of Sam Faiers, cousin of Chloe and Charlie Sims 2–10
Debbie Douglas 51 2011–2013 Mother of Lydia Bright. 2–8, 10
Billi Mucklow 25 2011–2013 Salon owner, best friend of Cara. Ex-girlfriend of Tom Kilbey and had a brief fling with Kirk Norcross. 3–8
Cara Kilbey 26 2011–2012 Sister of Tom Kilbey, best friend of Billi Mucklow. 3–7
Dino Georgiades 36 2011–2012 Male model and fitness trainer. Twin brother of Georgio Georgiades. 3–4
Georgio Georgiades 36 2011–2012 Male model and fitness trainer. Twin brother of Dino Georgiades. 3–4
Georgina Dorsett 27 2012 Property developer. Fiancée of Manchester United footballer Tom Cleverley. 4–5
Charlie King 27 2012–2013 Best friend of Bobby-Cole Norris, ex-boyfriend of Gemma Collins and Danni Dempsey 4–9
Tom Kilbey 22 2012 Brother of Cara Kilbey, ex-boyfriend of Billi Mucklow and Lydia Bright. 4–7
Danni Park-Dempsey 23 2012–2013 Best Friend of Lydia Bright, dated Charlie King briefly and is in charge of looking after the "Sugar Hut Honeys". 5–8
Danny Walia 19 2012–2013 Brother of Jasmin Walia, friend of Jack Bennewith 7–8
Jack Bennewith 19 2013 Diags' brother, friend of Danny Walia 8

Cast departures[edit]Edit

Amy Childs left the show after the second series so that she could enter Celebrity Big Brother 8 (where she came fourth). She then starred in her own reality show It's All About Amy on Channel 5. On 9 January 2012, it was rumoured that Childs would be returning to TOWIE due to It's All About Amy being cancelled, but she denied this via Twitter.[citation needed].

Mark Wright announced that he would be leaving the show to take part in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in which he placed second. Wright's final episode was in the series finale of series 3 on 9 November 2011. Wright later went on to present Take Me Out: The Gossip on ITV2 for two series in 2012.[18] Like Childs, Wright went on to star in his own reality series Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights on ITV2 in June 2012 which ran for 5 episodes but was quickly cancelled due to lack of interest and low ratings. Wright made a cameo appearance in series 6.

On 13 December 2011, Kirk Norcross confirmed he would not be returning to the show saying: "I reached my peak. I also felt I was becoming known as the fiery guy who would flare up, which isn't me. It's just weird how it got, with so many characters fighting for storylines. TOWIE is a great show, but I couldn't see what storyline I was going to end up with - I think I've quit while I was ahead". He later went on to appear on Celebrity Big Brother 9.[19] Norcross returned to the show in the first episode of series 7.

On 9 January 2012, Maria Fowler and Harry Derbidge confirmed their exits from the show on Twitter, with both of them hinting that they have different projects lined up for the future.[20] Fowler thanked her fans for their support, and revealed that she had agreed to leave the show following a meeting with producers.[21] Meanwhile, Derbidge wrote that he was "moving on to different things."[22] Harry had been previously rumoured to leave in September 2011 due to lack of air time and wanting to branch out on his own. Harry now owns his own shop in Brentwood called "Harry's World".

On 22 August 2012, a few hours before the airing of the finale episode in series 6 it was officially confirmed that Lauren Goodger would make her exit in the upcoming episode. Goodger "mutually agreed" a deal to leave the series withITV, although producers have stated that Goodger could return in the future.[23] On 19 December 2012 original cast member Lydia Bright departed in the 2012 Christmas special. On 19 February 2013 it was announced Cara Kilbey mutually would not be part of the next series; following the departure of her brother Tom Kilbey and a guilty plea for a drunk driving arrest.[24]

On 8 March 2013, Mick Norcross announced he had left the show saying "My club is an upmarket venue where people come to drink champagne and feel spoiled, All these rows they keep filming don't show the club in a good light and I'm worried it's putting people off coming, which is the last thing I want. Allowing the Sugar Hut Honeys to be called slags is the final straw. I would never allow that to happen in my venue. I've had enough. I'm out." Norkross has banned producers from filming in his club "The Sugar Hut" following his departure.[25] On 21 March 2013, Kirk Norcross announced on Twitter that he had left the series for a second time, claiming it had changed too much.[8] On 29 March 2013, Debbie Douglas also announced her departure on from the show on Twitter, saying "For everyone who has been asking me where I have been on recent episodes of TOWIE, I have made the decision to leave the show."[9] On 24 May 2013, it was announced Danni Park-Dempsey, Billi Mucklow and Darrell Privett would all leave the series.[11] Though no formal statements were made, neither Danny Walia or Jack Bennewith were seen during series 9.

On 9 September 2013, Charlie King announced he'd left the show before thanking everyone for the support on Twitter.[26] Four days later, before the series 10 finale, it was confirmed that Joey Essex had left the show and would not be returning for the next series.

Cast returns[edit]Edit

On 30 September 2012, Kirk Norcross returned to the show in the first episode of series seven. Norcross had a stint on Celebrity Big Brother 9 earlier in the year. He continued on the cast during series 8 but then announced he would be leaving the show again. On 16 December 2012, Mark Wright confirmed he would be returning for a one-off appearance in the 2012 Christmas Special, after originally appearing in the show from series 1-3. Mark also had a non-speaking cameo appearance during series six.

On 16 June 2013, it was revealed in the "next time" montage of the episode that Lydia Rose Bright would be returning. She then took to her Twitter to confirm this but said it was only for one episode; she would meet with Lucy Mecklenburgh to help her through her relationship issues.[27] Debbie Douglas returned in episode 8 of series 10 and met up with Lucy Mecklenburgh to advice her on her relationship with ex boyfriend Mario Falcone.

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