Exclusive – Love Island boss promises diverse 2021 line-up but says including gay contestants presents “a logistical difficulty”
ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri tells RadioTimes.com all about the Love Island 2021-line-up.
Recently there has been a lot of speculation about whether the show, which sees individuals coupling up, will feature contestants who are gay or bisexual.
RadioTimes.com spoke to ITV's commissioner Amanda Stavri who set the record straight on the recent rumours, and whether we'll see more diversity when it comes to sexuality on the upcoming seventh series.
"There's been quite a few rumours circulating about featuring gay Islanders, so it's worth touching on that really," Stavri told us exclusively.
"The line-up will be announced within time and it goes without saying that we want to encourage greater inclusivity and diversity."
While contestants aren't strictly required to identify as heterosexual, the format of Love Island typically promotes relationships with the opposite sex, with the boys and girls choosing to couple up with one another ahead of each dumping.
Some contestants have appeared to form connections with the same sex in the past, but this has been quite limited – something Stavri says is difficult on Love Island in particular.
She continued: "In terms of gay Islanders, I think the main challenge is regarding the format of Love Island. There's a sort of logistical difficulty, because although Islanders don't have to be 100 per cent straight, the format must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up.
"With our dating shows, such as The Cabins, there is much more sexual diversity. The formats don't have as much restrictions as Love Island. So we're very sort of mindful of that across our programming on ITV and dating series. But that's the difficulty with Love Island."
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Nevertheless, the team are hoping this year's line-up will be more representative, with Stavri adding: "We're always very mindful of diversity and inclusion and hopefully you'll see that when we announce the line-up."
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So far, Stavri tells us the casting team have met with over 1,000 applicants, and the starting line-up and bombshells are currently being decided.
"There's been more applications than ever. They've whittled it down and we're all very pleased. We've got a big sort of pool at the moment and we need to sort of work out who to put in the opening line-up and who sort of to hold back, you know as a bombshell - we need the bombshells!" she said.
ITV recently released two 10-second teaser clips ahead of the show’s return, in which Iain Stirling can be heard calling out “This is not a drill!”.
It comes after ITV spoke out on the Love Island 2021 location, calling Mallorca the show's "home".
With the promo going out, the location almost confirmed and the line-up shaping up nicely, it looks like our summer will be back as we know and love it very, very soon.
We can't wait!