Last year Caroline Flack juggled hosting duties on both X Factor in the UK and Love Island in Mallorca and, while she enjoyed it, the presenter admits it’ll be good to have a clearer diary this time around.
“It will be nice to focus on Love Island this year,” Flack tells RadioTimes.com, as she readies to fly back out for the second series of ITV2’s steamy hit, which sees single cast mates couple up in the hope of finding love (and the winners’ cash prize).
This isn’t a dig at X Factor. Despite rumours of rifts and rows following confirmation of her exit in February, Flack has already insisted she wanted to leave and that she’s “not bitter”. Besides, a working presenter isn’t silly enough to moan about having too much work.
“I loved it, it was really good. They didn’t clash too much – just towards the end when the auditions started on X Factor.”
Flack’s certainly not one to sit still. I would have thought an X Factor-less diary would see her hole up in Mallorca for the summer – it’s what comedian and Love Island’s voiceover man Iain Stirling is doing – but Flack’s slotted a new Sunday morning Heart FM radio gig in, so back and forth she’ll go again. Indeed, she may want to work on sorting the quickest route to the airport as this year’s Love Island series will go live on an ad hoc basis, rather than a set day each week.
“They’re just keeping me on hold,” Flack laughed, seemingly more than aware of the first-world-problem nature of it all. “They’re my first call. I can be there, if they need me, it’s two hours away.”
As for hosting this show solo – X Factor saw her buddy up with former Xtra Factor co-host Olly Murs – she’s more than happy on her own.
“I liked it [last year]. It’s a different kind of show,” Flack said, although she’s keen for another batch of famous fans to join her every now and again.
“I liked having that one show where we had the panel in,” Flack said. Ferne McCann and James and Ola Jordan among last year’s celebrity commentators. “When we do one of the live shows this year we’ll definitely have a panel in to talk about it. People have such strong opinions on it. A bit like how we used to do I’m A Celeb [Flack hosted the after hours ITV spin-off from 2009 to 2010], which is always really fun.”
And yes, dear Love Island fans, that looks set to include Paul Danan once again.
“Paul Danan, he’s a Love Island legend isn’t he?” Flack said. “Probably get him on the last show again, I think it would only be fair.”
While Flack admits she was “obsessed” with last year’s series like a viewer – “I was more excited to watch it than be on it” – she promises this year’s line-up of singletons is even better.
“There’s more variety in the cast. Last year they didn’t know what the show was going to be, everything was sort of trial and error, even though it sort of found its feet and got really good.
“I think this year they know kind of what could happen, so they’ve cast it really well with age and personality. It’s going to be really good.”
“Already there is one like Jonathan,” Flack teased of Mr Clark – aka the one who proposed to Hannah Elizabeth at the end of last year’s series (yes, they have since split).
The presenter knew the show was doing well – it was the number one show on the channel during its six-week run last year – but admits to being caught off guard by the reaction from viewers.
“People stopped me in the street and said ‘I love Love Island’. Actually stopped me – that hasn’t happened with anything ever.”
Despite stepping into the reality TV bubble – where everyone with a Twitter account can pass judgement on her and the show – Flack is upbeat about engaging with fans.
“Social media is a big part of our lives now. I don’t think you can hide from it. You don’t have to put your private life on it all of the time, but it’s definitely something that’s there. It’s not going to go away and there’s a really lovely fun side to it that we can all use. There’s a dark side, but it’s not real life.
“TV’s become one of those things where people think it’s about feedback online all of the time. That’s an online world. A lot of the fans don’t go online. You’ve just got to do your job and feel proud of how you’ve done it and go home,” she said. “Don’t sit there and think, ‘what do people think?’. It’s unhealthy to think like that.”
As for the show putting her own love life back in the spotlight, Flack brushes it off.
“There’s always going to be speculation. That speculation can be seen as you putting it out there and you’re not. That’s just part of it and you have to ignore it and go and laugh at it sort of thing,” she explains.
I point out she’s not backwards at coming forwards when it comes to putting people straight on social media anyway. Flack told a magazine to “f*** off” after they claimed she looked pregnant last year.
“Sometimes it’s better just to shut up,” she laughs. “They can catch you on a day when you don’t want to shut up, but sometimes it’s better to shut up, definitely.
“You’re only human.”
Love Island returns later this month on ITV2