Behind-the-scenes of Love Island: former winners dish all on the villa's best-kept secrets
From fake phones to off-camera meals, the show's former winners give RadioTimes.com the lowdown on all the Love Island secrets.
We're now well into Love Island 2021 and it's safe to say that the nation is fully invested, with fans tuning it at 9pm each night to find out what this year's contestants have been up to.
While ex-islander Laura Anderson recently revealed that there's a secret door in the villa larder, RadioTimes.com spoke to former winners Jess Hayes, Jack Fincham, Paige Turley and Finn Tapp to get the lowdown on all the villa secrets.
Islanders sometimes have to repeat conversations for the cameras
As authentic as many of the chats between islanders appear to look, some of the dramatic talks that make it to our screens have already happened once before, according to series four winner Jack Fincham.
"If I was having a conversation with somebody, but a camera didn't catch it and caught just the end bit of it, they've got to catch that bit otherwise the viewer doesn't know what's going on," he tells RadioTimes.com.
"There's no fakeness there, nothing's fake, it's all real. But sometimes you might have to have a conversation that you've already had so that it makes sense to the viewer.
"It's the same conversation, just so that they can show it to everyone else so the viewer isn't going, 'Hang on a minute, I thought he didn't like him? Or when did they become friends?' It's all to make sense."
The phones don't work
The islanders are frequently spotted taking selfies and receiving texts from producers with their show-issued smartphones, however that's just about all they can do.
"I thought we had them constantly and I could just be sitting there, texting my mates like, 'Ah, you know what, she's lovely she is.' I didn't realise they were just used to do the challenges and stuff like that," Jack says.
There are no clocks in the villa
It's a widely-known fact that the Love Island villa is completely free of any timekeeping devices – something recent winners Paige Turley and Finn Tapp can attest to.
"We never knew the time in there," Paige tells RadioTimes.com. "We tried to work out the time by the sun, but I don't think we were ever that good."
The 2020 islanders found their way around the no-clock situation by spotting the digital time on the villa oven. "They were going to take it off the oven but they left it on for a week or so," Finn says. "We clocked it and we'd look up to the sky and say, 'The sun's there. I bet it's about 11:43am in the morning' and apparently the producers were like, 'How are they getting it so spot on?'"
The islanders don't get as much sleep as you think
While it looks as though the Love Island contestants manage to catch their 40 winks (and if they don't, it's usually because they're getting up to something else in that time) on the show, they don't get as much time in bed as viewers would have thought, according to Paige and Finn.
"The lack of sleep was like a big thing for me," Paige says. "I feel like that’s all I complained about. I felt like it was just going to be like a holiday, but I think, to just like make sure the stories made sense, you were actually filming quite a lot of the time."
Finn adds: "I mean yeah, it was late nights – and then because your emotions are heightened as it is, you're then tired as well."
As for how much sleep they got, Paige says it felt like five minutes, with Finn chipping in: "Sleeping with Paige's snoring, I got about five minutes."
The cameras really do get up close and personal
As Love Island fans will have gathered, there are CCTV-style cameras all around the villa so as not to miss out on any of the 'can I pull you for a chat' action – however, the previous winners have revealed that they only really noticed they were being filmed when on dates.
"I mean, there were cameras everywhere so we kind of went about our day-to-day thing and I didn't realise how full on it would be," Jess Hayes, who won the first series of Love Island, tells RadioTimes.com.
Meanwhile, Jack adds: "Obviously you had to set cameras up to do dates. You couldn't just do a date and just hope for the best, so that obviously I understand now. But the first time I had a date and there's a camera there, I was so nervous. I was like, 'Oh God, what am I going to say?'
"Normally I can talk for England but then at this point, I was a robot so there's a lot of stuff I learnt about how, sometimes, cameras have to be used."
The islanders have meals off camera
While we don't get to see it in the show, the islanders do in fact eat all their meals together off-camera. "We all ate together, that's never on camera," Jack says. "We'd all sit down and all chat."
Series five's Chris Taylor revealed back in 2019 that while all Love Island chat is banned, friendships and relationships do blossom in that off-screen time.
"There’s a lot of downtime, us eating lunch, us eating dinner. We’re not allowed to talk about the show, but we can talk about whatever else we want,” he explained. "In those moments, there’s lots of flirting going on."
Love Island is more PG now
The very first Love Island champion Jess Hayes, who won the 2015 edition alongside Max Morley, thinks the show is more "toned down" now than it was originally.
"They've definitely made it very PG, more so than when we were on there," she tells RadioTimes.com. "They used to show us smoking, it was a bit more what you see is what you get. They showed everything.
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"Now, it's very toned down and I do feel like people play a part now because they know how it all works. They're sort of almost already pre-thinking about what they're going to do and how that's going to look," she says.
The show banned smoking in the villa ahead of the 2018 series, introducing an off-screen smoking area that can be used by just one islander at a time.