Opinion: Love Island has had its day in the sun – it’s time for something new

With the 2023 summer Love Island well under way, many people are wondering the same thing. Has the show had its day in the sun?  

The series 10 launch was watched live on ITV2 by 1.3 million viewers – one million less than this time last year. ITV have said this rose to 1.7m after streaming numbers from ITVX were added. 

However, this still doesn’t compare to previous seasons. 

With the introduction of a second season each year, it has become very saturated. 

Having to wait a year for the return of the summer of love heightened the anticipation. Social media would go into a frenzy. It was a phenomenon. Now, many people forget it’s even on. 

Back when the show launched in 2015 it was authentic, islanders were looking for love, now it’s the same type of people looking for a brand deal. 

They know how to play the game, they know what works. 

There is also the longstanding issue of diversity, with fans calling for the representation of disabilities and different body types.

Tasha from season eight and Tyrique in the current series both have hearing impairments as well as Hugo, who was born with clubfoot, being the first person with a physical disability on the show.

But, there hasn’t been much progress with body types. Whenever a curvy girl enters the villa, she is labelled plus-size. Yet the average UK woman is size 16. 

And with the popularity of apps like BeReal, people aren’t entertained by the facade portrayed on social media any more. They’re eager to watch real people they can relate to. Not copies of former islanders or Kardashian lookalikes. 

It could be argued that this has been brewing since the multiple tragedies connected to the programme has changed the way people feel about it. 

Two former contestants – Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – took their own lives as well as the show’s former host Caroline Flack. Following the TV presenter’s death in 2020, many people called for the show to be axed. 

ITV continued with the show but following relentless trolling of islanders and their families took measures to protect the mental health of all involved. This included a ban from season nine onwards, on the islanders’ families running their social media accounts.

This has impacted the amount of followers gained after leaving the villa. Kai Fagan and Sanam Harrinanan – season nine winners – both have under 500k followers on Instagram whereas Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu  and Davide Sanclimenti – season eight winners – have 3.2 million and 1.8m followers respectively. 

In recent seasons there has been a decrease in the amount of big brands collaborations with islanders. This could be due to follower numbers or purely lack of public interest.

Whatever the reasons, after 10 seasons, maybe the sun has set on the dating show and it’s time to make way for something new.

Image: Kady and Zachariah in Love Island, SR10 Ep21 on ITV2 and ITVX. From Lifted Entertainment ©ITV Plc

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