Mario Falcone is returning to The Only Way Is Essex cast this year

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Mario Falcone is returning to The Only Way Is Essex less than two years after quitting.

Mario left the series in 2015, saying he wanted to try "something new".

He said: "I have had a great time on TOWIE and relished the many opportunities the show has given me but after 14 series...

"I feel it is time to move on and explore something new."

Now The Sun newspaper reports that Mario will be back for the latest series this year on ITVBe.

A source told the newspaper: “Mario has been quite keen to come back for a while and Towie have invited him back to film the odd cameo and will use him where story permits.”

It could prove a rather awkward reunion after some of Mario's comments about the series and its cast following his exit.

Speaking about the show last year, Mario said: "I have mixed feelings on the last series. I heard it wasn’t as good. Judging by my Twitter, a lot of people think it’s on its last legs."

He claimed: "I don’t think anyone can relate to the new cast. They’re very young and very bitchy. It’s a very different show to what I’m on."

And Mario went to brand some of his ex co-stars "a***holes".

He told The Sun newspaper: "It shows who your real friends are when you step away from it.

"The ones who stay in contact are your friends and the ones who don’t seem to bother unless they see you at an event and they kiss your a**e, they’re not really your friends."

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