Lydia Bright has described her The Only Way is Essex co-star and former flame James ‘Arg’ Argent as ‘the Ian Beale of TOWIE’.

After being suspended from the show due to his hard partying, Arg then checked into rehab late last year to deal with depression and anxiety issues.

“I was in regular contact with him when he was going through his ordeal and I’m happy that he’s now got himself better and is in a happier place,’ Lydia told whatsontv.co.uk, ahead of the launch of the 14th series of TOWIE this Sunday. Everyone’s hoping and praying that he’ll come back this series and I’m sure he will.”

She added: “Everyone calls him the Ian Beale of TOWIE because he’s never, ever gonna go – he’s been there forever! He’s definitely the fun factor of the show. You notice when he’s not around, so we’re all hoping he comes back soon.”

The Only Way is Essex returns on Sunday February 22 at 10pm on ITVBe.

Watch our full interview with the TOWIE cast, above…