From Love Island to Married at First Sight, how Australian reality TV is the perfect form of lockdown escapism
We might not be able to watch new series of UK reality shows due to the pandemic, but there's a lot of series from Australian which are just as good, says Grace Henry.
Just when we thought our evenings were doomed again, ITV2 delivered us with series two of Love Island: Australia.
The series - which was filmed back in 2019 - was revived for the network on March 1st, and it's already been causing quite a stir, with new islander Eoghan arriving hours later to shake things up.
It came just in time, as Married at First Sight Australia wrapped up on E4 with its last reunion show, following two months on air.
As we sat down to tune into all the shenanigans the Fiji villa had to offer, we have to give credit where its due - to all the Australian reality TV shows which have kept us entertained during the pandemic.
While we haven't been able to enjoy many of the UK reality TV shows we'd usually be gearing up for, due to filming delays caused by COVID-19, we have benefited from the huge catalogue of reality TV shows previously filmed Down Under.
Since we went into lockdown last year March, we've enjoyed two series of Love Island: Australia, and three series of Married at First Sight Australia, with a fourth scheduled to air this Summer.
From coupling up to being dumped (or even worse jilted at the altar), both shows have kept us busy during the past year and saved us from the lockdown boredom.
Last year, we were left devastated when we were told Love Island wouldn't be going ahead in the summer. To fill the void, ITV introduced us to the likes of Tayla and Grant, as they aired series one of Love Island: Australia in its place.
Things only got better when E4 rebooted Married at First Sight Australia for the network, kicking off with series four which was filmed way back in 2016.
We couldn't believe our eyes when "runaway bride" Lauren Bran ditched her hubby-to-be Andrew Jones on their wedding day, and it was a huge shock when Scarlett Cooper revealed she’d been receiving texts from Jonathan Troughton, although he was married to Cheryl Maitland at the time.
Four months later, E4 returned with series five of the show, bringing us way more drama in the form of Dean Wells and Davina Rankin.
Clearly on a Married at First Sight Australia high, it was a huge delight when E4 then announced the show would be back for series six, airing from the beginning of January 2021.
From Cyrell Paule and Martha Kalifatidis's feud, which eventually ended with Martha throwing a drink on Cyrell in an explosive reunion episode, to power couple Jules and Cameron making the final decision on their relationship, we just couldn't get enough of the 2018 series.
So, when ITV then delivered the 2019 series of Love Island: Australia it was like our reality TV prayers had been answered.
Yes, we know it's a repeat, but there's something about having the show on each day that makes it feel like we're watching a brand news series all over again - which for some us who haven't seen the Australian versions is actually the case.
With filming plans up in the air due to the pandemic, these shows have kept us patiently waiting for the UK versions to return when possible.
They've made the wait less tedious, by keeping us laughing along the way and giving us the reality TV fix we so crave. They've filled the hole where our home grown shows would often sit, and got us hooked on a brand new line-up of reality TV stars.
So, as we wait for a new series of Love Island to be confirmed or for Married at First Sight to return in 2021, we don't mind catching up with our Australia instead.
After all, these shows have been our lockdown saviours, and we can't wait to see what more they have to offer.