Love Island's Iain Stirling on the pressure of narrating ITV2 dating show ahead of season 10
Comedian Iain Stirling speaks exclusively to RadioTimes.com as the show returns for season 10, sharing his thoughts on rumoured spin-offs and the upcoming season.
Over the years we've seen new hosts, new villas, new countries, and of course new islanders when it comes to Love Island, but one thing that remains the same is the show's voiceover, with comedian Iain Stirling having lent his voice to the show since season one in 2015.
So, with season 10 kicking off on Monday 5th June, we thought who better to speak to than the man himself who has been at the helm for eight whole years.
After being put on a short hold, Iain's publicist connects us to the comedian, who has just returned from a trip to Scotland.
"It's weird not being out there [Mallorca]," says Iain, as we fill him in on our recent press visit to the villa.
Asked whether he'll be making a trip overseas for season 10 to record part of his voiceover, he continues: "Possibly, I don't really know. I'll have to look at family commitments and diary and stuff. I used to go out all the time, but with COVID it obviously became vey apparent that working from home is very much an option. In many ways, it's the easier option to not have to uproot your life for two months, but then I do miss the team and everyone. I've lived in Spain for over a year of my life so to speak and don't know a lick of Spanish!"
After practising the only Spanish phrase he knows: "Dos Cervesa, por favour" which translates to "Two beers, please", talk turns to the upcoming season, which you might be surprised to hear Iain knows very little about.
"Normally, the week, maybe even two weeks leading up to it, I'd be getting stuff ready. Now, I'll start thinking about it on Sunday. Me and Mark [who Iain co-writes with] deliberately never do any prep. But the thinking behind that has always been that we want to watch the first episode like a member of the public watches," he says.
That means the comedian hasn't had a chance to look a this year's line-up, which includes model Molly Marsh, who is the daughter of Coronation Street actress Janet Marsh, business development executive George Fensom, and Tyrique Hyde - footballer and friend of former contestant Toby Aromolaran.
Despite this, Iain is feeling the pressure to make sure he lives up to previous performances, admitting he feels a "responsibility" to the audience.
"There's obviously a pressure because you want it to be good. And in this day and age, we have the world of social media and stuff, so you just feel pressure to make a TV show that a significant amount of people watch because nowadays people just watch telly in such different ways. And there's not many shows that people tune into every night at that time," he explains.
More like this
"So, I think the pressure is more there. I do feel a genuine responsibility to the audience because it's got such a following and people sort of structure their summers around it. It sounds a bit extreme, but it's become the sort of thing you do - a little talking point for when you get to the office the next day or when you go to school, college, or whatever it is you're doing so that's where the pressure comes."
And the pressure is only increasing, with Love Island now airing two seasons a year - one in South Africa for winter, and the second in Mallorca.
So, how does Iain feel about all these seasons?
"It's a lot of Love Islands, isn't it? But, I really like it. I really love working on the show, I love the people that work on the show, and I have a lovely time. And also because I do stand up four months out of the year, it's just nice that a third of my year involves set times and I can have like breakfast and lunch with my family and then be around in the evenings. It's so naive, but I like the structure of it, because for 15 years doing stand-up, I never had that! When I was younger, I loved not having that structure but I've got to a place now where I crave structure."
"I also do America, so there's a lot going on in my life, and they're doing a sort of spin-off with the best of the best, which could be quite fun. So, why would I say no! I'd be mad to say no," he says.
As for who he thinks should host the middle-aged series, which will give mums and dads a second chance at finding love, Iain says former Big Brother host Davina McCall would be "great".
In terms of who he'd like to return for an all-stars version of Love Island, he adds: "'I've got a few. I think Kady [McDermott] was really great. She was really brilliant. Obviously Hannah [Elizabeth] back. She's got a baby now, so I don't really know what the vibe would be or if she'd even do it. I'd like to see Chris Taylor back. He was really good! It'd be good to see him from the start so he could get into a proper relationship, which would be fun.
I'd like to see the twins from the South Africa one - they were really fun. And obviously Maura [Higgins]. She's got to be involved in some way. Even if she's just like the relationship guru for them all or something. You can't have an all-stars without Maura Higgins I don't think."
Asides from narrating season 10, viewers will also see Iain on our screens for a brand new season of CelebAbility, where he'll be joined by Scarlett Moffatt, who returns as a team captain for a handful of episodes in this series, with Katherine Ryan, Will Best, Snoochie Shy, Pete Wicks and Donna Preston featuring as celebrity guest team captains in her absence.
"We have Katherine Ryan on the show a lot and she's so great. I know Katherine. I'm lucky enough to call her a friend, and she's just so funny. When we're talking about the team captains, we're always just like, 'Hi, how are you?' and she always answers so funny, like most comics would struggle to be funny about nothing, but she's just so great! I just think comedically she's just so great and funnier than most comedians I've watched."
As well as this, he'll be heading on his brand new stand-up comedy tour, Relevant, from March 2024.
He continues: "I always like comics that are just like jokes, fun, a nice night out. Just a talk to the audience. I sort of like the Kevin Bridges, the Lee Mack and the Michael McIntyre types, which is just an hour of funny. I suppose the stuff I'm talking about is me getting to a weird stage where I'm starting to feel like my relevance is waning. There's social media platforms I don't really understand and tons of phrases I don't really get, and trying to keep up with in this world.
"I've got a kid now, so I'm trying to stay a little bit informed so I know how the world works for when they're older and stuff, so it's basically how the world is sort of madly changing and I'm just trying to desperately keep up. So if you like jokes, you'll like it, but also if you sort of feel like the world is passing you by and you're getting more and more confused by the second, then it's probably the show for you as well."
Iain is set to embark on his biggest UK & Ireland tour to date with brand-new stand-up show Relevant from 20th March through 28th April 2024.
Love Island summer 2023 starts on Monday 5th June at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX. You can watch all previous seasons of Love Island on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial.
Take part in the Screen Test, a project from Radio Times and the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, to explore the role of television and audio in our lives.