The Only Way Is Essex

The Only Way Is Essex (often abbreviated as TOWIE /ˈti/) is a British reality television series based in Brentwood, Essex, England. It shows "real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way."[2] Originally broadcast on ITV2 from 2010, the series was moved to ITVBe in October 2014.[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 runtime 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 Only Way Is Essex
Title card from series 28 onwards.
Also known asTOWIE
GenreReality television
Created byRuth Wrigley
Tony Wood
StarringCurrent and former cast
Narrated byDenise van Outen
Opening theme"The Only Way Is Up"
by Yazz
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series29
No. of episodes351 (list of episodes)
Camera setupMultiple-camera setup
Running time30-35 mins (1–20)
60 mins (specials, series 22–present)[1]
Production companyLime Pictures
Original networkITV2 (2010–2014)
ITVBe (2014–present)
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release10 October 2010 (2010-10-10) 

On 13 March 2016, ITVBe aired a one-off documentary hosted by former cast member Mark Wright, discussing the history of the series. On 28 February 2017, with the announcement of the cast for the show's twentieth series, it was confirmed that instead of the usual three series per year, ITVBe would only be airing two series, but with more episodes.[4]


Year Series Number of
Average viewers Channel
2010 Series 1 10 977,000 ITV2
2011 Series 2 14 1,466,000
Series 3 14 1,772,000
2012 Series 4 10 1,518,000
Series 5 10 1,576,000
Series 6 10 1,267,000
Series 7 10 1,441,000
2013 Series 8 12 1,379,000
Series 9 12 1,386,000
Series 10 12 1,379,000
2014 Series 11 12 1,491,000
Series 12 12 1,581,000
Series 13 11 1,092,000 ITVBe
2015 Series 14 13 992,000
Series 15 12 910,000
Series 16 12 1,069,000
2016 Series 17 14 1,123,000
Series 18 10 1,056,000
Series 19 10 1,044,000
2017 Series 20 18 1,047,000
Series 21 18 898,000
2018 Series 22 10 996,000
Series 23 11 1,112,000
2019 Series 24 11 956,000
Series 25 11 991,000
2020 Series 26 18 746,000
2021 Series 27 11 575,000
Series 28 10 401,000
2022 Series 29 11 N/A


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

Cast member Duration
Amy Childs 2010–2011
Harry Derbidge 2010–2011, 2014
James "Diags" Bennewith 2012–present
James "Lockie" Lock 2013–present
Dan Edgar 2015–present
Pete Wicks 2015–present
Chloe Meadows 2016–present
Courtney Green 2016–present
Amber Turner 2017–present
Yaz Oukhellou 2017–present
Saffron Lempriere 2018–present
Chloe Brockett 2019–present
Ella Wise 2019–present
Dani Imbert 2021–present
Roman Hackett 2021–present
Bill Delbosq 2021–present
Elma Pazar 2022–present
Junaid Ahmed 2022–present


The genre of "scripted reality" has attracted much criticism for a lack of authenticity, or indeed outright deception.

The show has been criticised for its negative and stereotypical representation of Essex, and there have been a number of complaints to ITV2.[5] It contributed to the popularity of Essex girl jokes.[6] Some Essex residents felt it was not a true representation of the area and the people who live there.[5][7][8][9][10][11] 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."[12]

In April 2011, it was reported that Big Brother 8 winner Brian Belo intended to sue the makers of The Only Way Is Essex – claiming they "stole his idea". Belo was in the original pilot of the show – provisionally titled Totally Essex[13] – alongside current stars Mark Wright, Sam Faiers, Kirk Norcross and Amy Childs. Belo planned to sue his former manager and Lime Productions, which makes the show, for lost earnings of up to £100,000 a series.

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 in London: "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.[14] 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. She returned in episode 9 and her absence from the show was not mentioned on screen.

On 1 December 2012, it was reported that The 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."[15][16] 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."[17] 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."[18]

The live episode was called "an utter car crash"[19] and "possibly the worst TV show ever".[20][21]


The show was initially filmed just a few days in advance and has been narrated by Denise van Outen since its inception. The first series ran 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.[22] 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.[23] On 2 December 2011, it was revealed that many of the cast would not be returning for the fourth series in 2012 but would feature in the 2011 Christmas Special.[24] 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.[25]

On 20 March 2020, it was announced that filming for the forthcoming twenty-sixth series had been postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on television. ITV said the move was to ensure the "safety of the cast and crew".[26] Whilst off air, it was announced that the show would return later in the air with an extended series for the show's 10th anniversary and would include the return of old cast members, as well as going back to two episodes per week.[27] The show returned for its twenty-seventh series on 14 March 2021 where it once again reverted to just one episode per week. Despite filming for this series taking place during a national lockdown, some restaurants and pubs opened especially for the show.[28]

Two months after the twenty-seventh series had aired, the production team announced that the cast would face an overhaul, with several cast members having been axed. They described the change as an evolution of the series and explained that it would allow for the remaining cast to be featured more. They also assured axed cast members that they would be able to receive welfare support from ITV if needed and thanked them for appearing on the series.[29]


In December 2011, the cast of the series released a cover of the Wham! song "Last Christmas", with their own version of the theme song "The Only Way Is Up" as the single's B-side. All profits from the single went to Text Santa.[30]


Artist Single Year Peak chart positions Album
Cast of Series 3 "Last Christmas" 3343
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

The Only Way Is Marbs – Marbella Sessions

The Only Way Is Marbs – Marbella Sessions is a 61-song compilation album released 23 June 2014[31] 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.

Disc One
1."Jubel (Original Mix)"Klingande 
2."Extraordinary (Klingande Remix)"Clean Bandit featuring Sharna Bass 
3."Ready for Your Love"Gorgon City featuring MNEK 
4."I Love You"Mark Wells 
5."If U Got It (Mark Knight Remix Radio Edit)"Chris Malinchak 
6."Come On Now (Set It Off) (Radio Edit)"Tube & Berger and Juliet Sikora 
7."Shake That (Radio Edit)"Dansson and Marlon Hoffstadt 
8."Ey Yo"Kant 
9."Bassline (Main Mix)"Gotsome featuring The Get Along Gang 
10."Reverse Skydiving (Shadow Child Remix)"Hot Natured featuring Anabel Englund 
11."My Love"Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne 
12."Powerless (MK Remix)"Rudimental featuring Becky Hill 
13."Everything You Never Had (We Had It All)"Breach featuring Andreya Triana 
14."Dance With Me (MK Remix)"Le Youth featuring Dominique Young Unique 
15."Sonnentanz (Sun Don't Shine)"Klangkarussell 
16."No Eyes (Radio Edit)"Claptone featuring Jaw 
17."Lonely (DJ S.K.T. Remix Extended Mix)"La La Land 
18."Crossing Boarders (Pleasurekraft Remix)"Booka Shade featuring Kalkbrenner 
19."Into the Blue (Vanilla Ace Remix)"Kylie Minogue 
20."Come With Me (Radio Mix)"Nora En Pure 
Disc Two
1."A Sky Full of Stars"Coldplay 
2."How I Feel (Special Features Radio Mix)"Flo Rida 
3."Take Me Home (Extended Mix)"Cash Cash featuring Bebe Rexha 
4."Bad (Radio Edit)"David Guetta and Showtek featuring Vassy 
5."Animals"Martin Garrix 
6."Gecko (Radio Edit)"Oliver Heldens 
7."Wizzard (Tchami Remix)"Martin Garrix and Jay Hardway 
8."Come Alive (Le Youth Remix)"Chromeo featuring Toro Y Moi 
9."Trill Me (Riva Starr Remix)"Junior Jack 
10."Hope"Alex Metric and Oliver 
11."Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat (Calvin Harris Remix)"Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr featuring Beardyman 
12."Dirty Talk (Laidback Luke Remix)"Wynter Gordon 
13."Under Control"Calvin Harris and Alesso featuring Hurts 
14."Dare You (Radio Edit)"Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma 
15."Hey Now (Arty Remix)"London Grammar 
16."Hard to Beat (Axwell Mix) (Radio Edit)"Hard-Fi 
17."Howl at the Moon (Radio Edit)"Stadiumx and Taylr Renee 
18."Locked Out of Heaven (Cassette's Answering Machine Mix)"Bruno Mars 
19."You (Tiësto vs. Twoloud Remix)"Glantis 
20."Raise Your Hands (Radio Edit)"Ummet Ozcan 
21."Tsunami (Jump) (Bill & Will Remix)"DVBBS & Borgeous featuring Tinie Tempah 
Disc Three
1."Rather Be (All About She Remix)"Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne 
2."I Follow Rivers (The Magician Remix)"Lykke Li 
3."Infinity (Radio Edit)"Infinity Ink 
5."What Might I Do (Radio Edit)"Ben Pearce 
6."American Dream (Andre Crom & Chi Thanh Remix)"Jakatta 
7."At Night (Kid Creme Remix)"Shakedown 
8."Disco's Revenge (Mole Hole Dirty Mix)"Gusto 
9."Salsoul Nugget (If U Wanna) (M&S Radio Version)"M&S Present... The Girl Next Door 
10."Love On My Mind (Sharp Boys House Dub Mix)"Freemasons 
11."Big Love (The Dronez Mix)"Peter Heller's Big Love 
12."Push the Feeling On (The Dub of Doom)"Nightcrawlers 
13."Sugar Is Sweeter (Armand's Drum 'n' Bass Mix Edit)"C.J. Bolland 
14."Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden's Star Trunk Mix) (Radio Edit)"Tori Amos 
15."Soin Spin Sugar (Armand's Dark Garage Mix)"Sneaker Pimps 
16."I Feel Love (Raf Zone Mix)"CRW 
17."Missing (Todd Terry Remix)"Everything But the Girl 
18."You and I (Deadmau5 Radio Edit)"Medina 
19."Boom Boom (Heartbeat) (Radio Edit)"Ray Foxx featuring Rachel K Collier 
20."Show Me Love (Extended Mix)"Steve Angello and Laidback Luke featuring Robin S. 

The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems

The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems is a 61-song compilation album released on 13 October 2014.[32] The album is the second to be mixed by Lauren Pope.

Disc One
1."Am I Wrong"Nico & Vinz4:07
2."Waves" (Robin Schulz Radio Edit)Mr Probz3:27
3."Prayer in C" (Robin Schulz Radio Edit)Lillywood & Robin Schulz3:09
4."Pushing On" (Radio Edit)Oliver $ & Jimi Jules2:41
5."Gecko (Overdrive)" (DJ S.K.T Remix)Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill4:25
6."I Wanna Feel" (Radio Edit)Secondcity5:18
7."Always"MK featuring Alana6:14
8."Benediction"Hot Natured6:39
9."I Got U" (MK Remix)Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones7:17
10."Right Here" (Skream Remix)Jess Glynne8:40
11."Ey Yo"KANT vs. MK6:16
12."Here for You"Gorgon City featuring Laura Welsh3:50
13."You Know the Words" (Devolution Remix)Wiley6:12
14."Push the Feeling On 2014"Nightcrawlers vs. DJ S.K.T4:20
15."Sing That Song"TIEKS featuring Celeste2:59
16."Higher Ground" (KANT Remix)Blonde featuring Charli Taft6:13
17."Freedom" (Route 94 Remix)Grades4:47
18."Kisses for Breakfast" (Ill Blu Remix)Melissa Steel featuring Popcaan5:01
19."Never Say Never" (Mark Knight Remix)Basement Jaxx7:10
20."Own Up" (Ben Pearce Remix)Motez (producer)5:13
21."Sunlight" (Radio Edit)The Magician featuring Years and Years3:13
Disc Two
1."Lovers on the Sun"David Guetta featuring Sam Martin3:23
2."A Sky Full of Stars" (Hardwell Remix)Coldplay5:13
3."Sing" (Syn Cole Remix)Ed Sheeran4:45
4."Wasted" (TST Remix)Tiësto featuring Matthew Koma4:35
5."C.U.B.A"Calvin Harris4:26
6."Changes" (Stefan Dabruck Remix)Faul & Wad Ad vs. Pnau6:00
7."Come Over" (Cahill Remix)Clean Bandit featuring Stylo G3:02
8."Fancy" (Riddim Commission Remix)Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX4:40
9."Boom Clap" (Cahill Remix)Charli XCX5:28
10."Heart Weighs a Ton"Alex Metric featuring Stefan Storm3:41
11."Lightning" (Sex Panther Remix)Cash Cash featuring John Rzeznik6:24
12."Twisted" (Extended Mix)Fedde le Grand5:06
13."AnyTime" (Extended Mix)Don Diablo4:33
14."One More Day (Stay with Me)" (Extended Mix)Example5:00
15."Way We Are"Kove featuring Melissa Steel3:21
16."You" (Moska Remix)Galantis6:39
17."Fix Me"Swanky Tunes featuring Raign5:16
18."Tremor"Dimitri Vegas, Martin Garrix & Like Mike3:12
19."Ping Pong" (Radio Edit)Armin van Buuren2:58
20."Come with Me (We Are One 2014)" (Paul van Dyk Festival Mix)Paul van Dyk & Ummet Ozcan5:25
Disc Three
1."Lola's Theme" (Extended Vocal Mix)The Shapeshifters6:55
2."Sing It Back" (Boris Dlugosch Mix)Moloko4:27
3."Calabria" (Original)Rune7:35
4."Needin' U"David Morales Presents The Face7:53
5."Salsoul Nugget (If U Wanna)" (M&S Radio Version)M&S Presents...The Girl Next Door3:29
6."Want Love" (Original Radio Edit)Hysteric Ego3:33
7."U Don't Know Me" (Radio Edit)Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden3:20
8."Get Get Down" (Original Mix)Paul Johnson6:32
9."Love Don't Let Me Go (Walking Away)"David Guetta vs. The Egg3:11
10."Sun Is Shining"Funkstar De Luxe3:53
11."I Luv U Baby"The Original6:43
12."Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)" (Hi_Tack Remix)Hi_Tack8:03
13."Out of Touch" (Radio Mix)Uniting Nations2:48
14."Bromance" (Avicii's Arena Mix)Tim Berg8:15
15."Million Voices"Otto Knows3:25
16."Miami 2 Ibiza" (Radio Edit)Swedish House Mafia vs. Tinie Tempah2:47
17."Lies" (Otto Knows Remix Radio Edit)Burns3:48
18."Infinity 2008" (Klaas Remix)Guru Josh Project6:29
19."Greece 2000" (Original Mix)Three Drives on a Vinyl8:02
20."Touch Me" (Radio Edit)Rui da Silva featuring Cassandra3:26
iTunes bonus tracks
62."The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems (Continuous Mix 1)"1:19:52
63."The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems (Continuous Mix 2)"1:18:43
64."The Only Way Is Essex – Dance Anthems (Continuous Mix 3)"1:19:41

DVD releases

SeriesDate releasedNo. of episodesNo. of discsSpecial features
The Complete First Series28 March 20111122010 Christmas Special
The Complete Second Series26 September 2011143Chapter Selections
The Complete Third Series20 January 20121532011 Christmas Special
The Complete Fourth Series7 May 2012102Chapter Selections
The Complete Fifth Series1 October 2012112The Only Way is Marbs Special
The Complete Sixth Series8 October 2012102Chapter Selections
The Complete Seventh Series18 February 20131121 episode of 2012 Christmas Special


  1. Tutton, Charlotte (21 December 2017). "TOWIE set for MAJOR episode shake-up as series 22 confirmed for 2018".
  2. "Grace Dent's TV OD". The Guardian. 23 October 2010.
  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. "PICTURES! The Only Way Is Essex cast 2017 - who's on the show!". 5 March 2017.
  5. "Sam Faiers defends The Only Way Is Essex". Music Rooms. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  6. Halford, Jodie (9 March 2017). "What is the true meaning of 'Essex girl'?". BBC News. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  7. Langley, William (17 October 2010). "The Only Way is Essex: the worst address in England?". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  8. "TV's The Only Way Is Essex slammed as 'offensive'". Ilford Recorder. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  9. "ESSEX: ITV2 show The Only Way is Essex could set us back 20 years". This Is Total Essex. 14 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  10. "The Only Way Is Essex was insultingly bad". Metro. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  11. "The Only Way is Essex...?". Alexandra's Complaints of the Day. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  12. Weinfass, Ian (11 March 2011). "Only Way is Essex stars: We really do represent our area". London 24. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  13. Love, Ryan (15 April 2011). "Brian Belo 'suing Only Way Is Essex makers'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  14. Goodacre, Kate (24 October 2011). "'TOWIE' Sam Faiers 'attacked by gang'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  15. Eames, Tom (3 December 2012). "Rylan Clark drops out of live 'TOWIE'". Digital Spy.
  16. "Rylan shuns TOWIE after branded a 'douchebag'". PinkNews. 3 December 2012.
  17. Garo-Falides, Victoria (30 November 2012). "Mario, Kirk may quit TOWIE over Rylan". Digital Spy.
  18. Hope, Hannah (3 December 2012). "Your Ry-Q is too low for TOWIE: Rylan Clark quits show after Mario jibe". Daily Mirror.
  19. Wardle, Hilary (4 December 2012). "TV review: TOWIE Live - the only way is dire". MSN. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  20. "TOWIE Live Review: Panned As The Worst TV Show Ever (TWITTER REACTIONS)". The Huffington Post. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  21. Martin, Laura (4 December 2012). "TOWIE Live panned by viewers as the worst piece of TV ever". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  22. Huddson, Polly (10 December 2010). "The Only Way Is Essex: Our guide to the jaw-dropping new TV show". Daily Mirror.
  23. "Watch the new TWATS trailer - The Only Way Is Essex". Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  24. Sperling, Daniel (2 December 2011). "'TOWIE': Five cast members axed?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  25. Hooton, Christopher (13 November 2011). "TOWIE 'recommissioned for four more series'". Metro.
  26. "Coronavirus: The Only Way is Essex postpones filming". BBC News. 20 March 2020.
  27. Darvill, Josh (6 June 2020). "TOWIE will be back this autumn with familiar faces for a 10th-anniversary series". TellyMix.
  28. Pike, Molly (15 March 2021). "TOWIE viewers slam show for filming club and restaurant scenes during lockdown". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  29. The Only Way Is Essex [@OnlyWayIsEssex] (21 July 2021). "This change allows our cast more time to film their real lives, showing more of their personal passions and professions, alongside their strong bonds and dynamics with family and friends ✨" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  30. "'Only Way Is Essex' stars confirm Christmas single". Digital Spy. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  31. "The Only Way Is Marbs - Marbella Sessions [Box set]". 2014.
  32. "iTunes - Music - The Only Way Is Essex - Dance Anthems by Various Artists". Apple iTunes UK.
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