The Only Way Is Essex party comes to Hornchurch

Essex’s glamorous, gorgeous and golden turned out dressed in their best for a night of partying - and mingling - with stars of The Only Way Is Essex last night (Thursday).

The party at Olivers and OJ’s bars, in High Street, Hornchurch, and hosted by the ITV2 reality show’s Mark Wright was the place where every fan of the show would have wanted to be that night - with some guests even travelling the length of the country to be there.

The show, which follows the real lives of a group of Essex gals and guys, has been a phenomenal success since hitting the screens last October collecting a BAFTA and, as of Wednesday night (June 15), two awards at the Broadcast Digital Awards for Best Programme Marketing and Best Entertainment Programme.

Mark decided to bring the TOWIE party to Hornchurch to “give everyone a good night out” and for parts of the night could be seen surrounded by groups of attractive ladies and fans desperate to say hello or take a picture.

Also making an appearance at the High Street double-bar event was Mark’s sister Jessica, and best friend Arg (James Argent) who charmed the audience with his usual three-song Frank Sinatra set That’s Amore, That’s Life, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You later that night.

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Looking forward to taking the stage likeable Arg said: “It’s already picking up, it’s a nice crowd, lots of pretty should be good.”

Mark’s girlfriend Lauren Goodger, who pushed Mark in a pool following a row at the end of Series Two, was also expected to turn up but was a no-show adding to the latest rumours that their relationship could be on the rocks - again!

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The cast, who will start filming for Series Three in September with the shows hitting our screens just days later, recently enjoyed some time out holiday-ing in Marbella.

And the hottest questions on everyone’s lips since they returned surrounded rumours Mark cheated on Lauren with old flame Lucy Mecklenburgh.

But when confronted, Mark was relunctant to offer any indication of it being truth or lies and said: “Sorry I can’t really talk about that at the moment.”

When asked if he keeps in touch with Lucy he said: “Not really no. I don’t really see her that often. When I do see her I talk to her but we’re just friends.”

On watching the show back, Mark, who admitted Lauren’s pool stunt made him “feel like an idiot”, said: “Sometimes I think ‘what did I say that for’ but you can’t worry about it too much.”

And gossip did not appear to be on Mark’s mind on Thursday.

The crowds were buzzing and the drinks were flowing as guests clutched their cameras desperate to get a glimpse of the Essex stars whose lives have changed radically as a result of the show.

Jessica, singer in girl band Lola who has become the face of a lingerie campaign for Alexis Smith on the back of the show, said: “It’s been absolutely incredible. I’ve performed in front of 20,000 people for T4. I’ve met so many famous people - Alan Carr, Jonathon Ross - but I still get star struck.”

She added: “I actually had to leave the group [Lola] two weeks ago. I was just missing too many rehearsals where I’ve been so busy. The girls are all fine though.”

Arg said: “Eight months ago no-one knew who I was. Now I’m on a BAFTA-award winning show. It’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Mark, who used to want to be a footballer but said the ambition was short-lived because he went out drinking too much, said: “I’ve gone from being a normal boy who could go to any bar or anywhere as a normal person to getting recognised everywhere I go. Which I guess isn’t always a bad thing.”

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