ITV TOWIEs first ever Christmas specials funniest moments – 11 years on

Cast your mind back to December 2010 – it was a simpler time where the words Brexit and Coronavirus weren't yet invented – can you even imagine?

Prince William and Kate Middleton had just announced their engagement, David Cameron was Prime Minister, One Direction had finished third behind Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson on X Factor and Kara Tointon had won Strictly Come Dancing with boyfriend Artem Chigvintsev.

Something else very important happened in that faithful month. The Only Way is Essex got their first Christmas special.

Here we take a walk down memory lane (thanks to Britbox's 30 day free trial), to highlight the best and most ridiculous moments that were packed into the 43 minutes and 59 seconds…

The opening montage

Denise Van Outen has barely caught her breath after telling us 'While some of the Christmas trees may be fake, these people are all real', and we're already seeing some TV magic. Amy Childs sticks up a sign offering 'back, sack and crackers' at her salon, while Mark Wright and James Argent enjoy a game of twister followed by some tree shopping.

We quickly learn that Arg and Lydia Bright aren't getting on as he spends too much time with Mark. It may be 11 years later but the couple are still very on and off. The amount of fake tan they apply may have changed, but some things will always be the same and I'm strangely comforted by that.

The love triangle

2010 Mark Wright would not get away with the stuff he does in 2021, and I think that's growth for women in reality TV. He's dating Lucy Mecklenburgh, while seeing his former girlfriend Lauren Goodger who repeatedly tells us through the episode that they "were together for nine years". Tbf that is a long time.

Lucy and Lauren often get angry at each other, rather than the man actually doing the bad things, which is frustrating to watch. When either of them cry rather than console them and apologise he tends to shout, "Why are you crying?" like he doesn't understand the concept of being upset. Lucy ends up sobbing on a pub date, when Sam Faiers and Amy arrive, notice her upset and say, "Have a good night". It's so chaotic that I let out a giggle.

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It seems Mark has endless hours in the day as he's also texting Sam Faiers saying, "Do u love me when u c me?", to which she responds, "Y u saying that?" It then transpires that she is also sleeping with him. Earlier in the episode she was helping Lucy choose aftershave for Mark at The Perfume Shop. How these two are still friends in 2021 is wild!

A trip to Santa

Amy asks the big man for a "designer watch, designer shoes, a footballer, a red Ferrari and world peace."

Anything Nanny Pat does

Thank heavens for Nanny Pat who provides plenty of light relief through the episode. We see her stuffing a turkey and dressed as a Christmas tree. She was the best and most unproblematic cast member.

Lauren's whimsical job

Lauren meets her boss Adam Ryan (fun fact – he later appeared on Take Me Out, where he met his wife and baby mumma!) for a coffee, and he's telling her she needs to move to Dubai for her job for no obvious reason. I'm unsure what her role actually involves or what the business is (some sort of events company maybe?), but when she refuses to go to Dubai he says fine as long as you attend the Christmas party. Makes zero sense, but okay.

He's then her plus one to a gathering at Arg's house because all of us bring our bosses to our mate's house.

Arg is apparently all out of sorts as Lydia isn't responding to his texts and this is shown by having tinsel, crackers and fairy lights scattered on the sofa. When I'm sad I also like to put Christmas decorations in unusual places.

Mr Darcy's debut

In order to get back in Lydia's good books Arg buys her a micro-pig "like Victoria Beckham and Paris Hilton", which turns out to just be a regular pig. It works though – they are back on track. Phew!

A glimpse at the future

Jess Wright is in a band called Lola and unfortunately one of the members has decided to leave, which is a shock as they have got a gig booked at Faces. They host auditions for a new member, and future castmates Megan McKenna and Jasmin Walia compete for the coveted spot. The former wins the spot in the band, and Mark chats her up. How many women does this guy need?

Maria struggles to get her words out

Maria Fowler is tasked with passing on the message to Lauren that Mark and Sam are outside the Christmas party flirting. Although, everybody in the group ignores her as she tries to get it out. She was described as an "extra" by Kirk Norcross and rejected by Joey Essex in future series – this girl really can't catch a break. Eventually she is given the floor and Lauren is fuming. She confronts Mark and asks him who he would chose to be with forever at that point. He romantically tells her, "You because you're the easiest option."

The dramatic ending

I've not missed an episode of TOWIE since it began in October 2010, and I'm not ashamed to admit that. I thought my knowledge was pretty good but it appears the hundreds of episodes filled with drama has made me forgetful of this early series.

My jaw actually dropped when after telling Lauren that he still loves her and would get back with her in a minute he climbs into a taxi with Sam and the pair have a snog while the driver patiently waits for the destination. "Can you take me to Faces please?" are the final words before the end credits. You can see why they won the BAFTA over Downton Abbey.

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