Mario Falcone will not be appearing in the next series of The Only Way Is Essex after announcing his exit from the hit reality show..

The 27-year-old bad boy, who has been on the show for four years, will not appear in the upcoming 16th season of the ITVBe show.

Mario Falcone with Tommy MalletMario Falcone with Tommy Mallet (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“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,” he said.

Mario – who took part in reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother in 2013 – is no stranger to controversy on the programme.

He was suspended in June 2014 after he was seen taking drugs, and was suspended again earlier this year for promoting diet pills, which was against ITV rules.

His co-stars James ‘Arg’ Argent and Lydia Rose Bright expressed their thoughts on his departure on Twitter.

Mario, who joined Towie in 2011, is best known for cheating on his on-off fiancee Lucy Mecklenburgh.

Mario Falcone and Lucy Mecklenburgh Mario Falcone and Lucy Mecklenburgh (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

His exit sees him following in the footsteps of former Towie stars Mark Wright, Amy Childs and Joey Essex.

An ITV spokesman said: “Mario won’t be appearing in the next series of Towie but the door is open for a future return.”