Mario Falcone quits TOWIE – but “hopes” the door has been left open

The Only Way Is Essex star has left after fourteen series, but is "hopeful" of a return if things don't work out

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Mario Falcone has quit The Only Way Is Essex after fourteen series, but a return to the ITVBe series isn’t completely out of the question.  

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“He’s done it in the proper way. He’s officially resigned, it’s not like he’s crept in and said ‘I quit’,” a source told RadioTimes.com. “I think he’s hopeful that if things don’t work out he can come back.”

Mario wouldn’t be the first to return to the ITVBe show, with Kirk Norcross and Lydia Bright both back on the show after their respective absences. 

“I have had a great time on TOWIE and relished the many opportunities the show has given me,” said Mario following his exit, “but after fourteen series I feel it is time to move on and explore something new.”

It is thought Mario, who has several other projects on the go – including a hair care brand and fitness related commitments – simply needed to make some space in his diary.

“He’s said in the past that he loves doing it, but that something would have to give. I think it’s just a case of wanting to free up a bit of time. He does genuinely still have affection for TOWIE. He’s not one of those people that’s like ‘I quit, I’ve had enough’,” the source added.

It was only last month that Mario told us he still had “more to give” after returning to the series following his second suspension, which he earned for promoting a diet product on his social media accounts. However, he also said at the time that if he was going to leave he would remove himself “promptly”.

“I’d want to leave in the right way like Mark [Wright] and Joey [Essex] have done,” he added, suggesting he’d got his eye on other television projects.

With rumours persisting that fellow TOWIE star Gemma Collins will return to the jungle, it doesn’t look like I’m A Celeb is on the cards for Mario. But the TOWIE star did say he fancied a spell on the Strictly dance floor so that he could get into those tight costumes.

“I like the little open shirts, get the six pack out,” he laughed to RadioTimes.com.

With a stint on Celebrity Big Brother already ticked off, why not? 

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Due to the timing of his departure, there will be no leaving scenes with Mario. He will be absent from the first episode of the new series.