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What's behind our love affair with Love Island?

What's behind our love affair with Love Island?

Love Island - the reality gameshow where contestants compete to find love - has charmed the nation.

The show boasts some impressive credentials: an idyllic location (Majorca); beautiful contestants (10 to kick off, plus weekly additions and evictions) and plenty of screen time (six hour-long episodes per week).

Yoga... But with a Love Island twist

And it has viewing figures to match. Wednesday night's episode was the most-watched programme ever on ITV2, attracting three million viewers.

This beat the show's launch at the start of the month which previously claimed ITV2's highest ever audience with an average of 2.9 million viewers.

So why is it so successful?

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ITV Studios

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WOW! @LoveIsland @itv2 ?☀️❤️

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BAFTA-winning presenter Iain Stirling's quippy voiceover certainly helps to lubricate the on-screen action.

Stirling studied law at Edinburgh University, before going on to present children's TV and earning his presenter stripes alongside a scruffy terrier puppet called Hacker.

The voice of Love Island, he now dates former MTV presenter and Love Island fan Laura Whitmore. She apparently pumps him for Island gossip on a regular basis.

Dani Dyer with Biro salesmen Jack Fincham

And she's not the only celebrity fan - ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, rapper Stormzy (who made a surprise appearance on series three) and DJ Nick Grimshaw have all expressed a liking for the reality show.

American hotel heiress Paris Hilton appears to be watching too, tweeting to her 18 million followers: "@LoveIsland Jack & Dani are goals! ? #LoveIsland".


Paris Hilton

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@LoveIsland Jack & Dani are goals! ? #LoveIsland

2:04 AM - Jun 30, 2018

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There's even the odd minor-celebrity thrown in to give it a little star dust, with Danny Dyer's daughter Dani (yes, really) one of the favourites to win.

The highest-rated show across all channels in its 9pm time slot, it's not just the Britons who love it. Love Island is now produced in seven other countries.

Within 24 hours of launching last month, Love Island Australia received the largest catch-up service ratings for an Australian reality TV show ever.

When Megan chose Eyal over Alex, people were not pleased

With three successful series behind it, it even took home a BAFTA earlier this year, winning the award for best reality show, paving the way for this series' success.

Thorpe Park is opening its own Love Island-themed attraction - complete with beach - this summer.

And more than one university student has even written their dissertation on the reality show.

Adam's "gaslighting" of Rosie led to accusations of emotional abuse from domestic abuse charity Women's Aid.

When Niall, a construction worker from Coventry, made an unexpected exit due to "personal reasons", concern was palpable across the country.

LINK -

stellacreasy
@stellacreasy
Wait -what Niall has quit #LoveIsland?! Totally focused on Brexit votes obviously but do hope the shows Neville longbottom alright….?

8:37 PM - Jun 12, 2018
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Labour MP Stella Creasy tweeted amid the Brexit votes to say she hoped he was all right.

The show even has its own underdog.

Unlucky in love Alex, an A&E doctor from Wales, has won the hearts of the nation.

When Megan - an ex-erotic dancer from Essex - chose former popstar Eyal (who has since been evicted) over the NHS medic there was outrage across the country.

Dr Alex finding a girlfriend has become a talking point in tabloids and office kitchens across the UK.

Dishy Dr Alex is finding it harder than most to couple up

One fan explained her newfound love for the show: "It's the first series I've ever watched, but I'm addicted. It's the same appeal as Big Brother. Seeing into people's lives - into relationships which are normally secret. You know they're not real, but it doesn't matter.

"Plus, as a girl, you get to see how the men act when they are with a date, and then how their behaviour changes when they are with their friends. And then again, how that dynamic changes when they interact with the girl's mates.

"It's on six nights a week but I wish it was seven. I look forward to 9pm. Most of my friends watch it too. And every episode ends on a cliff-hanger, so you have to watch it the next day."

The world, it seems, cannot get enough.

With the show recently commissioned in Denmark, Finland and Norway, there will be a version of Love Island on somewhere around the world every single day between now and Christmas.

Morning After podcast presented Arielle Free has bagged the job of her dreams

A daily Love Island podcast which dissects each night's antics - presented by one half of last year's winning couple Kem Cetinay and DJ Arielle Free - has barely been out of the top spot on the iTunes podcast chart since launching at the end of May.

Free - who once appeared in one of the Harry Potter films and briefly worked as a foot model - landed the job as Morning After podcast host after throwing her own Love Island final party last year.

A true Love Island fan, she puts the success of the show down to its authenticity: "It's a real insight into how we function as adults when it comes to dating. There are always those moments you can relate to, the uncertainty, the lust, the love.

"Last year's show moved away from all the sex and focused more on the relationships between people, I think that's why everyone became so gripped. You want them to fall in love, you want them to work and you're always rooting for someone or a couple. I genuinely feel heartache when it doesn't work out for some of them."

The girls have a conflab in the bedroom

Love Island commissioning editor Amanda Stavri agrees that the tone of the show is of primary importance. Explaining how the production team carefully edit any intimate scenes, she says: "It's really important that it's not a salacious show - that it isn't grubby."

Stavri also puts its success down to "not being full of conflict" and the fact "it doesn't feel exploitative".

When whittling down the vast numbers of entries, producers insist they don't cast for potential conflict, instead relying on the natural dating dynamic to create tension.

Some 85,000 people applied to be on the show this year - more than double the number of applicants for Oxbridge.

The boys get a text while chilling in the sun
Image:
The boys catch up in the garden
Love Island producer Richard Cowles has called the non-scripted show "aspirational, relatable and all about falling in love".

However, Cowles goes on: "If people don't like it they don't have to watch. We're not pretending to be anything other than an entertainment show that's a distraction from real life."

Geared towards a younger audience, over half of Love Island's launch night viewers were aged 16-34.

Only Britain's Got Talent - shown on ITV's main channel - has attracted a bigger audience for that demographic on any channel so far this year.

Like Britain's Got Talent, Love Island can boast critical acclaim within the industry as well as popularity with the public, thanks to its BAFTA win earlier this year.

The TV celebrity from Newcastle took part in the second series of the dating show and was one half of its first same-sex couple.

Arielle Free says that success is in large part down to the hard work of the production team: "I think Love Island winning the BAFTA was a true reflection of what audiences are consuming and enjoying. It's such a great accolade, especially for all the cast and crew who work tirelessly over the year and the two months in the villa to make it as entertaining and memorable as possible."

It's also possible that Love Island can put its popularity down to the simple fact that people love to see their own experiences reflected on screen.

If you take away the location, honed physiques and perfect hair, what you are left with is people attempting to connect, along with all the pitfalls and pleasures that come along with that gamble.

As Free puts it: "Sometimes we act so differently when we meet someone we like and to see others be exactly the same gives you a reassurance or a lightbulb moment that it's a natural human reaction. It shines a spotlight on how weird and wonderful we all are when it comes to finding love."

One thing's for sure, with around 30 episodes still to go, there's plenty of time to fall in love with the show everyone's talking about this summer.

(Sky News)

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