The Only Way Is Essex

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"TOWIE" redirects here. For the hamlet in Aberdeenshire, see Towie.
The Only Way Is Essex
Towie opening title.png
Genre Reality television
Created by Ruth Wrigley
Tony Wood
Starring See below
Narrated by Denise van Outen
Opening theme "The Only Way Is Up" by Yazz
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 14
No. of episodes 170 (as of 5 April 2015) (list of episodes)
Production
Running time 30 mins (series 1)
45 mins (series 2–7)
50 mins (series 8–)
60 mins (specials)
Production company(s) Lime Pictures
Distributor All3Media
Release
Original channel ITVBe (2014–)
ITV2 (2010–14)
Original release 10 October 2010 (2010-10-10) – present
Chronology
Related shows It's All About Amy
Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights
Educating Joey Essex
External links
Website

The Only Way Is Essex (often abbreviated as TOWIE) is a BAFTA award-winning British "scripted reality" television soap opera based in Brentwood, England. 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 as Britain's answer to The Hills and Jersey Shore.[2]

Each series lasts six weeks, airing on Wednesdays and Sundays at 10pm on ITV2 from 2010 to 2014, although it was announced in February 2014 that the show would be moved to ITV2's sister channel ITVBe when the channel launches.[3] The first series consisted of 10 episodes and ran for 30 minutes, with a Christmas special following later in the year. Due to popularity, the show was extended to 45-minute episodes and renewed for a year's airing. On 22 May 2011, the series won the Audience Award at the 2011 BAFTA Awards. The twelfth series was the last to air on ITV2 before the show moved to ITVBe in October 2014.

Series[edit]

Year Series Number of Episodes Average viewers Channel
2010 Series 1 10 916,000 ITV2
2011 Series 2 14 1,470,000
Series 3 14 1,720,000
2012 Series 4 10 1,520,000
Series 5 10 1,580,000
Series 6 10 1,270,000
Series 7 10 1,460,000
2013 Series 8 12 1,297,000
Series 9 12 1,348,000
Series 10 12 N/A
2014 Series 11 12 1,568,000
Series 12 12 1,581,000
Series 13 11 1,094,000 ITVBe
2015 Series 14 13 992,000
Series 15

Series 1 (2010)[edit]

The first series of the show 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 centered on the love triangle of Mark Wright, Lauren Goodger, and Lucy Mecklenburgh. This was the only series to feature cast members Candy Jacobs and Michael Woods. Mark also appeared alongside fellow cast members Amy Childs, James Argent, Nanny Pat and Sam Faiers on Alan Carr: Chatty Man on 21 February 2011 to discuss the first series and also confirmed a second series.

Series 2 (2011)[edit]

The second series 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 "I'm in Essex Girl". This series saw the departure of Amy Childs off screen and introduced new characters Joey Essex, Gemma Collins, Chloe Sims, Debbie Douglass, Carol Wright and Mick Norcross.

Series 3 (2011)[edit]

The third series began airing on 24 September 2011 and concluded on 9 November 2011, consisting of 14 episodes. As well as being the first series to feature new cast members Mario Falcone, Dino and Georgio Georgiades, Billi Mucklow and Cara Kilbey, this series saw the departures of original cast members Mark Wright, Harry Derbidge, Kirk Norcross and Maria Fowler.[4] 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.

Series 4 (2012)[edit]

The fourth series began airing on 29 January 2012 and concluded on 29 February 2012, consisting of 10 episodes. On 25 January, the show was nominated for "Most Popular Reality Programme" at the National Television Awards. The series was the last to feature Dino and Georgio Georgiades but included the arrival of new cast members Ricky Rayment, Bobby-Cole Norris, James "Diags" Bennewith, Georgia Dorsett, Tom Kilbey, Little Chris Drake and Charlie King. Mick Norcross returned to the series for the first time without his son Kirk. This was also the first series where the opening scenes changed to include silhouettes of the current characters, with the theme tune playing on the background.

Series 5 (2012)[edit]

The fifth series began airing on 15 April 2012 and yet again ran for 10 episodes concluding on 27 May 2012. The series included just one new cast member as Danni Park-Dempsey made her first appearance. It was also the last to include Georgina Dorsett who left after just two series. Shortly after the series, an hour-long special entitled The Only Way Is Marbs, set in the holiday destination of Marbella, aired on 13 June 2012.[5] Tinchy Stryder made a guest appearance in the episode.

Series 6 (2012)[edit]

The sixth series started airing from 22 July 2012 and concluded on 22 August 2012. Lauren Goodger confirmed that this series would be her last and she departed at the end of the series. Former cast member Mark Wright, who last appeared in Series 3, made a cameo in the eighth episode, but did not have a speaking part.

Series 7 (2012)[edit]

The seventh series started airing from 30 September 2012 with all of the cast from the previous series returning apart from Lauren Goodger, and original cast member Kirk Norcross returning to the series after departing in Series 3.[6] This made 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.[7] On 13 November 2012 it was confirmed that three festive specials would air in December including a live episode, a first for the show. The live episode was met with numerous negative reviews, with Digital Spy commenting that it just didn't work and was 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. Original cast member Lydia Bright, Tom Kilbey, and Cara Kilbey all left after this series, and it was the first to include Danny Walia and Jasmin Walia, who had previously made a cameo in the first Christmas special of the show.

Series 8 (2013)[edit]

The eighth series started airing from 24 February 2013 and saw the introduction of several new cast members including James Locke, Dan Osborne, Jack Bennewith and Abi Clarke. Twin sisters Amy and Sally Broadbent were also confirmed to have joined the cast however after two episodes, Lucy Mecklenburgh announced on Twitter that they had been used by the show create storylines and had been dropped from the cast.[8] The series saw the departures of numerous long serving cast members such as Kirk Norcross, Debbie Douglas and Mick Norcross, Billi Mucklow and Danni Park-Dempsey who all announced their departures mid-way through the series.[9][10]

Series 9 (2013)[edit]

The ninth series began airing from 2 June 2013 with two The Only Way Is Marbs specials and concluded after 12 episodes on 10 July 2013.[11] On 24 May 2013 it was revealed that Gary Lineker's brother, Wayne Lineker, had joined the cast. However he only appeared in two episodes.[12] The series was the first to include new cast members Ferne McCann and Charlie Sims, and was the last to include Charlie King. It also featured the one off return of Lydia Bright, who had previously featured in the show from Series 1 through to 7.

Series 10 (2013)[edit]

The tenth series 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.[13] The regular tenth series followed running from 13 October to 13 November 2013. Ahead the series finale it was confirmed that Joey Essex would make his final appearance. As well as being the last series to include Joey, Abi, and Little Chris also made their final appearances during this series. Elliott Wright, Lewis Bloor and Danni Armstrong all made their first appearances in this series. A third Christmas special aired on 11 December 2013 and was Lucy Mecklenburgh's final episode.

Series 11 (2014)[edit]

The eleventh series started airing from 23 February 2014 consisting of 12 episodes, ending on 2 April 2014. This series was the first to include Fran Parman, Grace Andrews and Georgia Kousoulou but was the last to feature original cast member Sam Faiers as she departed to focus on her health. Mark Wright also made another cameo appearance during this series, and it also included the return of Lydia Bright who made a full-time return to the series during the series finale.

Series 12 (2014)[edit]

The twelfth series began on 22 June 2014 with two The Only Way Is Marbs specials followed by 10 regular episodes, concluding on 30 July 2014. Original cast member Harry Derbidge made a full-time return to this series, however he was axed at the end of the series and did not return for the thirteenth. It was also the final series to feature Grace Andrews but first to include Vas J. Morgan. Mario Falcone was also absent during this series following a suspension.

Series 13 (2014)[edit]

The thirteenth series, the first to air on new channel ITVBe, began on 8 October 2014 with two The Only Way Is Ibiza specials, followed by 10 regular episodes, concluding on 16 November 2014, with the 2014 Christmas special following a month later on 10 December 2014. The new channel also launched on 8 October 2014. Because of this, the first episode of The Only Way Is Ibiza featured a live after party straight after the episode hosted by Mark Wright and narrator of the show Denise van Outen. Mario Falcone returned to the series following his suspension. This was the final series to feature long running cast member Tom Pearce, and the only series to include George Harrison. Tommy "Mal" Mallet also made his first appearance during this series.

Series 14 (2015)[edit]

The fourteenth series began on 22 February 2015 and consisted of thirteen episodes ending on 5 April 2015. Original cast member Arg returned to the show after his suspension during the thirteenth series. After the launch of the new series, Mark Wright returned to host another live after party. The series includes the final appearances of Charlie Sims and Dan Osborne, but the first for Dan Edgar, Chloe Lewis and Jake Hall.

Series 15 (2015)[edit]

The fifteenth series will launch on 14 June 2015 with two Marbella specials.[14] It is the third series to feature on ITV's new channel ITVBe. As well as confirming the new launch date, it was confirmed that ITV had renewed their contract keeping the show for a further six series, taking it to Series 21.[15] Ahead of the series it was announced that cast member Ricky Rayment had taken a short break from the show but would be back.[16] It was also confirmed that Mario Falcone had been suspended from the show for the second time, this time after promoting slimming pills on social media.[17]

Cast[edit]

This is a list of main and supporting cast members currently appearing in the show. From series 1–3, the main cast received star billing in the opening credits and were credited by their first names.

Cast member Series Year
James Argent 1– 2010–
Jess Wright 1– 2010–
Patricia "Nanny Pat" Brooker 1– 2010–
Lydia Bright 1–7, 9, 11– 2010–12, 2013, 2014–
Lauren Pope 1– 2010–
Billie Faiers 1– 2010–
Carol Wright 2– 2011–
Debbie Douglas 2–8, 10, 12– 2011–13, 2014–
Chloe Sims 2– 2011–
Gemma Collins 2– 2011–
Mario Falcone 3–11, 13– 2011–
James "Diags" Bennewith 4– 2012–
Bobby-Cole Norris 4– 2012–
Joan Collins 5– 2012–
James "Lockie" Lock 8– 2013–
Ferne McCann 9– 2013–
Lewis Bloor 10– 2013–
Danielle Armstrong 10– 2013–
Fran Parman 11– 2014–
Georgia Kousoulou 11– 2014–
Vas J. Morgan 12– 2014–
Tommy 'Mal' Mallet 13– 2014–
Dan Edgar 14– 2015–
Jake Hall 14– 2015–
Chloe Lewis 14– 2015–
Pete Wicks 15– 2015–
Verity Chapman 15– 2015–

Other appearances[edit]

As well as appearing in The Only Way Is Essex, some of the cast members have competed in other reality TV shows including Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Splash!, Dancing on Ice, Celebrity Super Spa, The Jump, Tumble and Strictly Come Dancing.

Reception[edit]

Controversy and criticism[edit]

The genre of "scripted reality" has attracted much criticism for a lack of authenticity, or indeed outright deception (see article on reality television).

The show has been criticised for its negative and stereotypical representation of Essex, and there have been a number of complaints to ITV2.[18] Some Essex residents felt it was not a true representation of the area and the people that live there.[18][19][20][21][22][23] Kirk Norcross responded to this criticism by saying, "We are all from Essex, so this is Essex. It's not acting. It's not like they've got people from America and said 'Right, act like you think you know where Essex is.' We are Essex people so what you're watching is Essex."[24]

In April 2011, it was reported that Big Brother 8 winner Brian Belo planned on suing the makers of The Only Way Is Essex – claiming they "stole his idea".[25] Belo was in the original pilot of the show – provisionally titled Totally Essex[26] – alongside current stars Mark Wright, Sam Faiers, Kirk Norcross and Amy Childs.[25] Belo plans on suing his former manager and Lime Productions, which makes the show, for lost earnings of up to £100,000 a series.[25] The Sun reported that Belo had spent the previous two years working on an idea for a United Kingdom version of The Hills, with his manager successfully pitching the pilot to Lime Productions.[25] After not making the cast list, Belo believed he might be involved in producing the show, but was "cut" from the production entirely.[25]

Series 1 title card with the original cast members including Mark Wright, Lauren Goodger and Amy Childs (2010)

On 24 October 2011, it was reported that sisters Sam and Billie Faiers had been attacked by a group of girls on a night out: "The sisters were first targeted inside the club when the girls made off with Billie's handbag... When they left, the gang followed them back to Essex." An insider also commented saying "Both Sam and Billie later went to A&E to get checked out. They are fine now, just a bit shocked, although Sam has been left with two black eyes." A video of the attack leaked online a day later.[27] The aftermath of the attack was aired during series 3 episode 10.

In May 2012, it was reported that original cast member Lauren Goodger had fallen out with the show's director for her bad timekeeping on set and her diva demands. Goodger appeared in the first four episodes of series 5, and was suspended from appearing in the show, however on 18 May 2012, it was confirmed that the issues had been resolved and that Goodger would be returning to the programme. Goodger returned in episode 9 and her absence from the show was not mentioned on screen.

On 1 December 2012, it was reported that X Factor finalist Rylan Clark would appear on the TOWIE Live special episode and later return as a full-time cast member in 2013. Mario Falcone reacted to the rumours by saying, "If he comes on Monday's live show, that's fine because it's all for charity, but if he comes on TOWIE as a main character, I'll leave. We hate him. He's a douche bag." Kirk Norcross commented, "I've met Rylan before and he's actually a really nice boy but when people think of Essex they just think of the abbreviation, the 'Shut-up', the 'Oh my god' - that was all Amy Childs and we don't want that."[28] On 3 December, following Falcone and Norcross's comments, Clark pulled out of his one-off appearance for the live episode, later saying: "TOWIE's a great programme and I wish them all the best of luck, but I can’t do the show because I’ve got commitments to the X Factor tour and I’ve got to be in rehearsals. I’ve never met Mario in my life, so I find it very unprofessional and ungentlemanly for him to go around talking about people he hasn’t even met, Anyone who cheats on his girlfriend that much isn’t worth my time."[29]

The live episode was called "an utter car crash"[30] and "possibly the worst TV show ever".[31][32]

Production[edit]

The show is filmed just a few days in advance, and is narrated by Denise van Outen, who is from Basildon, Essex. The first series ran initially for four weeks, airing every Wednesday and Sunday. The show has been described by the Daily Mirror as Britain's answer to The Hills and Jersey Shore.[2] Series 2 began on 20 March 2011, once again airing every Wednesday and Sunday, but with longer episodes than Series 1. Series 2 also saw the departure of original cast member Amy Childs. The second series consisted of 14 episodes, ending on 4 May 2011. The series returned for a third series on 25 September 2011 and was the final series to feature two of the original cast members Mark Wright whose departure was seen in the final episode while Kirk Norcross departed off-screen like Childs. The series ended on 9 November 2011.[33] On 2 December 2011, it was revealed that a large amount of the cast would not be returning for the fourth series in 2012 but would feature in the 2011 Christmas Special.[34] The fourth series began in January 2012.

Digital Spy reported that the series had been renewed for a further four series following the Christmas Special and would air four 10-episode runs in 2012.[35] On 11 January it was reported that 12 new characters would be joining the cast.[36]

Fresh Out of Essex[edit]

Fresh Out of Essex was a set of mini online 5–12 minute episodes that were uploaded onto the official website when the series was off air. 35 mini-episodes were uploaded, with two series airing in 2012. The series never returned for 2013.

Music[edit]

In December 2011 the show's current cast released a cover of the Wham! classic Last Christmas, with their own unique version of the show's theme song 'The Only Way Is Up' as the single's B-side. The version used on the show, by Yazz, spent five weeks at number one in 1988. All profits from the single go to Text Santa, a major new charity initiative set up by ITV, which aims to raise money and awareness for a group of charities, including Crisis, Samaritans and Great Ormond Street Hospital.[37]

The official video for the single premiered on 1 December at 11 pm on ITV2 and featured Jessica Wright taking lead vocals alongside Lauren and Gemma. The video shows the current cast from series 3 singing in the studio with clips of the Lauren, Mark and Lucy love triangle from series 1. Half of the current cast, including main singers on the single Jessica Wright and James Argent, performed the single on the final episode of the Text Santa TV series.

Singles[edit]

Single Year Peak chart positions Album
UK
IRE
NED
"Reem"
(featuring Joey Essex)
2011 non-album singles
"Last Christmas"
(featuring cast of series 3)
33
"Dance All Night"
(Jessica Wright)
2012 36 TBA
"Dominos"
(Jessica Wright)
2013 TBA non-album single

Joey Essex Presents Essex Anthems[edit]

Joey Essex Presents Essex Anthems is a 60-song compilation album of dance tracks selected by Joey Essex, released on 17 March 2014.[38]

The Only Way Is Marbs – Marbella Sessions[edit]

The Only Way Is Marbs – Marbella Sessions is a 61-song compilation album released 23 June 2014[39] to coincide with the start of series 12 which saw the return of The Only Way Is Marbs. The album is mixed by Lauren Pope.

The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems[edit]

The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems is a 61-song compilation album due to be released 13 October 2014[40] The album is the second to be mixed by Lauren Pope.

DVD releases[edit]

Series Date released No. of episodes No. of discs Special features
The Complete First Series 28 March 2011 11 2 2010 Christmas Special
The Complete Second Series 26 September 2011 14 3 Chapter Selections
The Complete Third Series 20 January 2012 15 3 2011 Christmas Special
The Complete Fourth Series 7 May 2012 10 2 Chapter Selections
The Complete Fifth Series 1 October 2012 11 2 The Only Way Is Marbs Special
The Complete Sixth Series 8 October 2012 10 2 Chapter Selections
The Complete Seventh Series 18 February 2013 11 2 1 episode of 2012 Christmas Special

International broadcasting[edit]

Series 1-14 have been shown in Australia on LifeStyle You channel on Foxtel, and Series 1-4 have been shown in New Zealand on LifeStyle You channel on Sky TV. Series 1–14 are available in the United States on video-on-demand site Hulu. The show airs in Israel on yes Drama. Series 1-5 has been showing in South Africa (June 2013-June 2014).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grace Dent's TV OD - Review, The Guardian, 23 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b Huddson, Polly (10 December 2010). "The Only Way Is Essex: Our guide to the jaw-dropping new TV show". Daily Mirror. 
  3. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (12 February 2014). "ITV announces new channel ITVBe, exclusive new home of TOWIE". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Eriksen, Alanah (23 January 2012). "There's a new Captain in Essex: Ricky Rayment will be TOWIE's leading man... but he's no Mark Wright". Daily Mail (London). 
  5. ^ "The Only Way Is Marbs pictures see TOWIE stars show off bikini bodies". Metro. 
  6. ^ "'The Only Way Is Essex' renewed for four more series". Digital Spy. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "TOWIE stars to face axe unless they stop being boring!". TellyMix. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Lucy Mecklenburgh on Twitter". Twitter. 
  9. ^ "Kirk Norcross on Twitter". Twitter. 
  10. ^ "Debbie Towie on Twitter". Twitter. 
  11. ^ Radio Times staff. "The Only Way is Essex series 9 air date revealed". RadioTimes. 
  12. ^ Gary Lineker's brother Wayne joins 'The Only Way is Essex' Digital Spy
  13. ^ "'The Only Way Is Vegas' date confirmed". Digital Spy. 
  14. ^ "The Only Way Is Essex return date confirmed for June 14 on ITVBe - The Only Way Is Essex - Telly Mix". Telly Mix. 
  15. ^ "ITV renews The Only Way Is Essex for a further six series". Digital Spy. 
  16. ^ "Ricky Rayment is taking a break from TOWIE by mutual agreement with producers". Digital Spy. 
  17. ^ "Mario Falcone has been suspended from TOWIE for the second time". Digital Spy. 
  18. ^ a b "Sam Faiers defends The Only Way Is Essex". Music Rooms. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  19. ^ Langley, William (2010-10-17). "The Only Way is Essex: the worst address in England?". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  20. ^ "TV's The Only Way Is Essex slammed as ‘offensive’". Ilford Recorder. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  21. ^ "ESSEX: ITV2 show The Only Way is Essex could set us back 20 years". This Is Total Essex. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  22. ^ "The Only Way Is Essex was insultingly bad". Metro. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  23. ^ "The Only Way is Essex...?". Alexandra's Complaints of the Day. 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  24. ^ "Only Way is Essex stars: We really do represent our area". London 24. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  25. ^ a b c d e "Brian Belo: Essex was my idea, I’m suing". The Sun (London). 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  26. ^ "Brian Belo 'suing Only Way Is Essex makers'". Digital Spy. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  27. ^ "'Only Way Is Essex' Sam Faiers, sister Billie 'attacked by girl gang". Digital Spy. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  28. ^ "TOWIE Cast Members In Rylan Quit Threat". MTV UK. 
  29. ^ Hannah Hope, "Your Ry-Q is too low for TOWIE: Rylan Clark quits show after Mario jibe", Mirror, 3 December 2012.
  30. ^ Wardle, Hilary (1999-12-31). "TV review: TOWIE Live - the only way is dire". Tv.uk.msn.com. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  31. ^ 04/12/2012 10:16 GMT Updated: 04/12/2012 12:35 GMT (2012-12-04). "TOWIE Live Review: Panned As The Worst TV Show Ever (TWITTER REACTIONS)". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  32. ^ Martin, Laura (2012-12-04). "TOWIE Live panned by viewers as the worst piece of TV ever". Mirror. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  33. ^ "Watch the new TWATS trailer - The Only Way Is Essex". Itv.com. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  34. ^ "'Only Way Is Essex' Sam Faiers, Kirk Norcross, Harry Derbidge axed? - The Only Way Is Essex News - TV". Digital Spy. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  35. ^ Hooton, Christopher (13 November 2011). "TOWIE 'recommissioned for four more series'". Metro. 
  36. ^ "'The Only Way Is Essex': 12 new characters cast?". Digital Spy. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  37. ^ "'Only Way Is Essex' stars confirm Christmas single". Digital Spy. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  38. ^ "Joey Essex Presents Essex Anthems: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.co.uk. 
  39. ^ "The Only Way Is Marbs - Marbella Sessions [Box set]". Amazon.co.uk. 
  40. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Only Way Is Essex - Dance Anthems by Various Artists". Apple iTunes UK. 

External links[edit]