Love Island will always remain a “straight series,” despite viewer pressure to include gay contestants.
Producers insist the popular dating show is “not a same-sex production,” but admit they’re open to introducing Love Island’s first “throuple,” given that three-person relationships are “trendy” among celebrities.
While rival dating shows, including E4’s Married at First Sight and Celebs Go Dating, as well as Dannii Minogue’s new BBC Three series I Kissed a Boy, recruit stars from the LGBTQ+ community, Love Island remains a series about heterosexual relationships.
Executive producer Mike Spencer told MailOnline that the format has “dictated” the show that only straight Islanders be cast, despite 2019 winner Amber Gill now being in a gay relationship and former contestant Megan Barton-Hanson identifying as bisexual.
He said: ‘The show format is more open to bisexual islanders, but it’s not a same-sex production as such. The format has dictated that and we are not going to change that now, no.
Love Island will always remain a ‘straight series’, despite viewer pressure to include gay contestants (photo 2022 winners Ekin-Su Culculoglu and Davide Sanclimenti)
Love Island only cast straight Islanders despite 2019 winner Amber Gill now in a same-sex relationship with Arsenal footballer Jen Beattie
Megan Barton-Hanson has dated women since she rose to fame on Love Island in 2018, including former TOWIE star Demi Sims
“It’s a tricky one, obviously I work for Lifted and we’re making Love Island and there are other productions on ITV that cover more same-sex relationships but we’ll continue to make this brilliant show and focus on that and people are enjoying it still really love it and love it.”
The ITV2 show, which returns with its 10th series on June 5, is no stranger to love triangles as islanders often compete for the affection of the same contestant.
And after singer Una Healy and heavyweight boxer David Haye, who says he no longer believes in ‘conventional relationships’, flirted with the idea of being in a ‘throuple’ with model Sian Osborne, TV executives admitted that they wanted their cast would allow a triple romance.
Mike said, “We’d have to look at how that would affect relinks, but technically, if you want to be a trouple… I mean, it’s very hot right now because of our good friends.”
The Love Island lineup is criticized every year for not representing a wide range of body types and ethnicities, with many viewers believing the cast is formal and consists of replica Islanders from previous series.
Despite failing to recruit plus-sized contestants since its launch in 2015, Mike insists the show stars islanders of different body types while urging underrepresented sizes to sign up.
He said, ‘Every year there are different body types… I think it depends on how people see body types, how you define them as ‘different’. All the islanders are different shapes and sizes, so I think we do that every year.
“In order for people to see you have to sign up, so we always ask people to come forward and come to the audition and we will continue to strive to be as diverse and inclusive across the board.”
TV bosses admit they’d let their cast explore a three-person romance after Una Healy and David Haye flirted with the idea of being in a ‘trouple’ with model Sian Osborne
MailOnline spoke to Love Island executive producer Mike Spencer (pictured with host Maya Jama), who insisted the show cast a range of body types
This year’s cast includes Asian contestant, Ruchee Gurung, 24, who was born in Hong Kong and lived in Nepal until she was eight when she moved to London.
The Islander told MailOnline that “there’s been no one on the series who looks like me,” so she’s “happy and proud to represent,” while Mike says one of the show’s goals is to continue to improve inclusivity .
He added: “We’re always aiming to be as diverse and inclusive as possible and not just in the line-up, but some amazing bombshells are coming in.”
During last year’s summer series, contestant Luca Bish, who was paired with Michael Owen’s daughter Gemma, was accused of “toxic masculinity” by charities Women’s Aid and Refuge for their belief that he was showing signs of “misogynistic” and “controlling” behaviour.
But producer Mike insists using “labels” such as “toxic masculinity” can be “incredibly dangerous” and if anyone on the show breaks their code of conduct, which includes behavior, bosses will step in.
This year’s cast includes Asian contestant, Ruchee Gurung, who was born in Hong Kong and lived in Nepal until she was eight when she moved to London
During last year’s series, contestant Luca Bish, who was linked to Michael Owen’s daughter Gemma, was accused of ‘toxic masculinity’ by charities Women’s Aid and Refuge
The exec has asked viewers to think twice before passing judgment on the contestants, who are entering new relationships on camera for the first time and will undoubtedly make mistakes along the way.
He said, “Personally I think labels can be incredibly dangerous, people labeling situations on a show, with pretty strict labels, I think that’s pretty dangerous.
“We should all be careful about labeling situations that we take a perspective on. There are situations in real life every day where things happen that are really horrible and a lot of things on this show aren’t.
“If you watch the show from start to finish it gives people time to go on a journey, explore relationships, there are different sides to a relationship, everyone abides by the code of conduct if they don’t, which includes conduct , we’ll get into it, but it’s about the interpretation and how you experience something like toxic masculinity.’
He added, “I have a pretty strong feeling about it because I’m quite protective of the islanders, I’ve been doing the show from day one and I still speak to most of every series and think it’s important to take care of them .
“We look at the show every day through a lens that tries to protect them while telling the story accurately, which is also important because you don’t want someone to come out and say, ‘that’s not what my story was.'”
- Love Island starts on Monday 5 June at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX