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The Only Way Is Essex (often abbreviated as TOWIE ) is a British reality television series based in Brentwood, England. It shows "real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way." 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.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. 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 12th series was the last to air on ITV2 before the show moved to ITV's new channel, ITVBe in October 2014.
On 13 March 2016, ITVBe aired a one-off documentary hosted by former cast member Mark Wright discussing the history of the show. Celebrities as well as cast members past and present united to talk about the popularity of the show, the fame the cast members have achieved from appearing in the series as well as the influence it has had on the economy.
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.On 21 December 2017, it was announced that a further two series had been commissioned for 2018. It was also confirmed that the series will only air once a week unlike past series which aired twice a week. It was also announced that episode running times would be increased from 50 minutes to 60 minutes.