Love Island: the British reality phenomenon that really needs no introduction. The pinnacle of frivolous summertime fun, the show is back after a long hiatus, with the infamous Majorca villa now ready for a new cluster of contestants looking to find love.
The upcoming season has already caused quite a splash on social media. This year, the producers have promised the most inclusive set of singletons yet, including the show’s first disabled contestant, Physical Education teacher Hugo Hammond. The 24-year-old was born with a clubfoot, a condition in which an infant’s foot is turned inward. Though a BBC analysis has touted this as “a step rather than leap”.
Apart from Hammond, there’s also Sharon Gaffka, a beauty pageant winner and government advisor; luxury events host Aaron Francis; Liberty Poole, a marketing student; model Shannon Singh; Jake Cornish, a water engineer; labourer Brad McClelland; Kaz Kamwi, a fashion blogger; and semi-pro footballer Toby Aromolaran.
The show previously came under fire for not including LGBTQ+ contestants (due to the “logistical” difficulty) and for promoting unrealistic, Euro-centric beauty standards. Still, changes appear to be afoot. This year also has ITV putting in new protocols to protect the mental health of the villa-goers, including extensive training on how to handle social media negativity and other forms of psychological support. The show announced that each contestant will receive at least eight therapy sessions after appearing on the show.
Whatever your views on Love Island, it's hard to deny just how addictive the singletons and their antics are to watch. As 2021 contestant Brad says, "Who wouldn’t want to be in a nice villa in a hot country for a while?" Viewers can live vicariously through Brad and the gang by tuning in for the first episode on Monday June 28 on ITV2 or watch live on the ITV Hub.