THE Only Way Is Essex has axed this year's Christmas special, which could spell bad news for the future of the show.

THE Sun can exclusively reveal that the cast of the ITVBe show have been informed that they won't be filming the traditional festive one-off, known as The Only Way is Essexmas.

The series has broadcast a Christmas special for eleven out of the last twelve years, only skipping 2018, and it is usually a staple of the ITVBe festive schedule.

A show insider said: "The cast were floored by the news as Towie's Christmas specials are something of a tradition, so none of them were expecting to not be filming this time around.

"They were all told that the scheduling didn't work out and the budget is being spent on other things, but it's left them all feeling really nervous about the future for the show.

"It's not a good sign for the series in general if bosses have decided it doesn't make financial sense to film the celebratory one-off.

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"Many of them rely on the Christmas special for additional work, and also because it helps maintain their profile as the regular show doesn't air as frequently throughout the year anymore."

The Sun has approached a representative for Towie for comment.

The news comes after a bumpy time for the long-running reality show, which won a BAFTA during the peak of it's popularity.

The Sims family, including sisters Chloe and Demi, have quit the series to star in their own spin-off series for OnlyFans new TV service.

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There was also controversy during the summer when several cast members were booted off a plane for vaping onboard and refusing to wear masks.

It came as they were returning from filming the series' kick-off episodes in the Dominican Republic.

One new cast member, Pia Grace Smith, was axed over the scandal before she even appeared on screen and her scenes were never shown.

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