Ahead of Sunday’s Love Island launch on ITV2, I’ve had a sneak peek around the islanders’ huge villa (it should probably be called a mansion) and got to know more about the make up of the show. The premise of the series is that a batch of singletons head into said villa to look for love. But reality shows are never that simple, eh? Indeed, it’s fair to say the phrases used numerous times by production included ‘maybe, maybe not’, ‘everything goes’ and ‘it’s fluid’ when it came to exactly what would be happening during the six-week run. It’s not structured reality, but production sure as heck will have their hand in mixing things up to get the best story lines.
For example, the original line-up boasts twelve single islanders, but it’s clear more will come in to ‘refresh the dating pool’, as others exit. Could celebrities be thrown in? Anything could happen. Could exes come in? We haven’t ruled anything out. Could there be more people in there than there are beds? You’ll have to wait and see.
The aim, of course, is for a couple to eventually find love and skip off into the sunset with the cash prize of £50,000. Caroline Flack is on hosting duties and will get all of the juicy gossip. But that’s clearly not the half of it. Here’s a taste of what Mallorca has in store for the Love Islanders…
First up, I feel that should be written THE VILLA. It is sensational. It’s like someone picked out Barbie’s dream house and went, “make that”. In fact, it’s a French businessman who owns the property and had it built in Mallorca to replicate a property he already owns in France. As you do. Production have added a huge outdoor space, with an open-air kitchen, extra beds (naturally), fire pit, jacuzzi and more surrounding the pool to encourage outdoor living. The owner is set to return to the villa ahead of the show’s launch and, if he so fancies, he can request to keep the changes in place once the show is over, or have everything returned to the way it was before.
The pool is quite the sight and, as it turns out, it’s actually the largest private pool in the Balearic Islands. It’s designed to look like the shoreline and could certainly tempt me into adopting an outdoor lifestyle.
Wanting the contestants to live an outdoor life brings its own issues for the cameras and indeed the microphones. The islanders will wear a mic at all times, but there are plenty more dotted around with fluffy covers to catch their conversations above the wind. There are sixty nine in total and the Love Island production team haven’t let a detail drop – they’ve even invested in cameras used in football matches to ensure they can get close ups on the facial expressions from across the pool. No tear, smile or flirty eyelash flutter will be missed, people.
Well, of course Love Island was going to play games with the contestants – the ITV2 advert hinted as much with a symbolic snow globe showing how things would be shaken up. “Take that quite literally,” producers told me, with those in charge set to meddle with the Love Islanders to create the best story lines. As such, there are only six double beds in the bedroom. On day one, the islanders will have to pair up with each other, boy and girl, and share beds. No, we’ve got no idea what they’re hoping to achieve either…
In what I think is a brilliant twist – and bound to be nabbed by other reality shows – we’ll see the addition of Love Island phones. The islanders will get three credits per day (with opportunities to earn more along the way) and can text each other. This could be a secret message of love or a picture but, either way, we’ll get to know exactly what messages they’re sending each other. It may help love stories develop that people were too shy to say out loud, or lead to rows among the group. Who knows? Producers will also be able to contact the islanders on their phones if they need them all in one place or want to make an announcement.
Sharing is caring as they say and the bathroom is very much open plan. The bath has some rather prominent cameras on it, so there’ll be no hiding away under the bubbles. The toilets have no lenses, but there’s a ‘one at a time’ rule, which they will enforce, to stop any islanders hiding away in there together. The bathroom also comes complete with a basket of Love Island-branded condoms which will be refilled as and when needed. Good to know.
A dressing room of sorts has been set up with hidden cameras behind the mirrors. We don’t want to miss any eyebrow pluck or lipstick retouch, after all. The production team are hopeful islanders will gather in here to gossip.
The ‘Pod’ room also gives Love Island an extra twist by enabling contestants to break from the bubble and connect with the outside world. Islanders may be invited into the Pod to receive messages from their loved ones, to see communications on social media, or to find out about the latest news. It could be a welcome treat or a dreaded one.
Oh yes, the house has some tricks up its sleeve, so everything isn’t all it seems. Production are keen to keep the secrets to themselves, but I gather the contestants shouldn’t assume they’ve seen everything when they first arrive. Watch this space.
The Beach Hut
Contestants will also have a room to go to if they want to discuss their thoughts and how they’re feeling about the other islanders. With a possible six-week stint together, a bit of privacy will certainly be welcome.
In front of the house are Caroline’s digs. The Cabanna is where islanders will come and go, with Caroline completing interviews, at times from the comfort of a bed. Well, why not? There’ll be a live crowd on certain nights and there’s also an area near the Cabanna for production to create dates or activities away from the house. This could be a dinner for two under the stars or some sort of activity.
Love Island starts this Sunday on ITV2