Curious about Love Island producers and their role in the show? Here are some of the things show bosses allegedly have control over
Love Island viewers have become increasingly sceptical of the series' producers this week – and for good reason. It comes after Shaughna Phillips, a 25-year-old contestant from London, said she had feelings for 24-year-old Luke Mabbott – despite never having shown an interest in him before. "Since when did Shaughna and Luke M get along?" is a common question across social media. "We haven’t seen a scene with them together EVER."
Many have suggested that Love Island producers are encouraging the unlikely partnership to ensure both Shaughna (a clear favourite from the beginning) and Luke M (a recent favourite since becoming the underdog) make it to the final. Viewers are accusing the producers of forcing the partnership for ratings. "Why are Shaughna and Luke being forced to become our winners," one person asked, adding, "nobody wants this sh*t."
With so much speculation, we've done a deep-dive into the various ways Love Island bosses may be influencing the show.
Scripted and/or staged?
Since being eliminated from the South African villa, contestant Sophie Piper has opened up about life behind-the-scenes. When asked by Grazia about whether or not conversations are staged or if they happen organically, she said it's, "a bit of both".
Sophie, who spent the majority of the show coupled up with Connor Durman, said, "Producers might suggest, 'Why don’t you talk about this and that?'" but added, "a lot of stuff happened naturally. People think it's more staged than it actually is."
Not only that, but Tyla Carr (a contestant from 2017) told the Daily Star, "You have to tell the producers on-site if you are planning to have an important chat or do something – so they make sure the microphones pick it up and the cameras get it. If you forget, they would call you in and ask you to film it again. Liv Attwood had to dump Sam Gowland twice last year," she added at the time, "which was embarrassing for both of them!"
Show bosses later denied this, saying contestants have full control over what they say and who they partner up with.
Sex in the villa
Contestants have the option to have sex in the villa if they want to, but producers are strict about this being safe sex. Free condoms are provided and STI checks are offered before the show begins.
Rules regarding sex in the villa include: no nudity, no unsafe sex (condoms must be worn), no masturbating, and contestants who choose to have sex must see a therapist afterwards. What's more, if a couple has sex, the producers will refrain from showing it on-air in order to protect their privacy.
While Love Island singletons are allowed to drink alcohol on the show, former contestant Liana Isadora Van Riel said they are not allowed to get drunk. Speaking to The Sun, she said, "You're allowed one or two drinks a night, either wine or beer, no spirits". A spokesperson for Love Island added, "We provide our Islanders with all of the necessary precautionary measures and all alcohol consumption is strictly monitored by our production team."
There is no smoking allowed anywhere inside the villa – even around the swimming pool or garden. This rule came into effect in 2018 when producers faced dozens of Ofcom complaints that islanders were "promoting" the habit. Since the smoking ban has been in place, any contestant wishing to light-up a cigarette will be taken out of the villa by a crew member where they can smoke alone, off-camera.
Following the suicides of former contestants, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon (in 2019 and 2018 respectively), Love Island producers have made arrangements for all Islanders to have easy access to counselling.
Richard Hastings, who is the former creative director for ITV Studios, said in a statement, "When something so awful happens we naturally enter a period of soul searching and ask whether anything could have been done. This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders (and not only those that reach out to us).
"We will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management," he said. "The key focus will be for us to no longer be reliant on the Islanders asking us for support but for us to proactively check in with them on a regular basis."
Following the summer series of Love Island in 2019, contestant Amy Hart revealed to OK! magazine that she spoke with counsellors 12 times during her stay in the villa. She went on to praise producers' duty of care process, adding that she would continue to use the show’s counsellors for support after the show.
Photo: Love Island, ITV
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