There can be only one sovereign ruler of all the county of Essex, that's just the rules: and that person is… Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Defender of the Faith and Duke of Lancaster. But never mind her, who's the people's King or Queen of Essex?
We put it to the vote with a shortlist of 41 TOWIE legends past and present, and you answered in your thousands. But we won't keep you waiting any longer, here are your top ten favourite stars from The Only Way Is Essex:
10. Georgia Kousoulou
Half of the Kousoulou/Mallet power couple, beauty shop owner Georgia won our hearts since first appearing on the show in 2014.
9. Chloe Sims
One-woman storyline tornado Chloe has thrown the cat among the televisual pigeons dozens of times since her first appearance in series two. Was she a rival for Amy Childs? Would she date Mick Norcross or his son Kirk? And then, then, the stormy secret romance with Pete Wicks…
8. Tommy Mallet
What would an Essex-based constructed reality show be without its very own shoe magnate? The founder of Mallet London may not actually be from Essex (gasp! He's from Islington!) but he's still every bit the smooth-talking entrepreneur.
7. Amy Childs
She led the way for TOWIE's tough-minded business women and was arguably the first influencer, being the first constructed-reality star to leverage her instant fame into a lucrative personal brand. We salute you Amy, business pioneer.
6. Pete Wicks
Arrrrr, the Essex Pirate. Admittedly that's more about the long hair and tattoos (popular in East London, not so common further out), but Pete also lived up to the nickname by apparently having a girl in every port.
5. James 'Diags' Bennewith
Joey Essex's wing man (they've known each other since they were 13), Diags has been a stalwart presence on the shows since series four. The name, if you were wondering, is because of his "diagonal" smile.
4. Mark Wright
The leading man of series one, Mark's on-off relationships with Lauren Goodger (and others...) made for prime soapy viewing. With his looks and charisma it was obvious he would have a career ahead of him as a presenter, and so it was – he co-hosted Take Me Out: The Gossip, and is currently a DJ on Heart, and even bagged himself a celebrity wife in the form of Our Girl's Michelle Keegan.
3. Gemma Collins
There has never been anyone like The GC. A staple feature of TV reality challenges (including I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, Celebrity Big Brother, Celebs Go Dating, Splash!, Celebrity Masterchef and Dancing on Ice), Gemma is big, brash and unapologetically herself. We wouldn't have her any other way.
2. Nanny Pat
The late Patricia Brooker, known to fans as Nanny Pat, was the heart of TOWIE. While Mark Wright's bedroom antics caught viewers' eyes, it was his relationship with his beloved Nanny Pat that brought humanity to the show. She always had a sympathetic ear for her grandchildren's troubles and there was always a sausage plait in the oven.
1. Joey Essex
We told Joey about the vote – here's what he said:
"Buzzing to be voted fav TOWIE character ever by the Digital Spy readers… It's sick! Thank you, guys."
Aw, you're welcome, Joey. How to describe your King of Essex in a word? "Befuddled"? Though he freely admitted being unable to tie his own shoelaces or tell the time, it's that frank, joyful charm that made him so loveable. He's a good-looking boy, but it wasn't sex appeal that made him the nation's favourite TOWIE star: he's not complicated, he's not difficult. He's just a lovely guy.
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