ITV has reportedly axed its Christmas special of The Only Way Is Essex after 12 years as fans are left devastated. 

The TOWIE cast has been informed that they will not be filming a festive spin-off, according to an exclusive report in The Sun.

ITVBe (and formerly ITV2) have aired Christmas shows every year for the past 12 years with the festive episodes becoming a bit of a tradition.

The only time a TOWIE festive show didn't air was Christmas 2018.

Somerset County Gazette: ITVITV (Image: ITV)

TOWIE Christmas special 'axed' by ITV

The Sun has reported that ITV has no plans for a 2022 special but it has so far not been officially axed by the broadcaster. 

A source told The Sun: "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.

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"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...

"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 news comes as ITV prepares to launch its new streaming platform ITVX. 

The "first integrated advertising and subscription funded platform" is expected to go live in November.

The Only Way Is Essex is available on ITV Hub.