If, like me, you are reality TV trash, then you know it’s been a long year.
Last summer was spent stuck inside, pyjamas on, and the most drama we had surrounded who’s turn it was to load the dishwasher. Oh, and the global pandemic straight out of a thriller movie. That too. But luckily, this summer is looking up. We’re all getting vaccinated, spending boozy days down the beer garden, and now… Love Island is returning to our screens.
You’ve probably already heard, considering all social media has been abuzz with rumours, theories, and cast announcements. You can check Brig’s lowdown on who’s entering the villa here, FYI.
Of course, it’s not as simple as just flying out a bunch of hotties and putting them up in a nice house, with a fully stocked fridge, shared bedrooms and making them all kiss. Much of the speculation around this seventh season hasn’t been about the line-up, or the villa changes, but about the actual logistics around putting this many strangers in one house without the risk of infection.
ITV has shared some details on how they plan to manage any COVID-19 outbreaks, as well as the preventative measures they’ll use throughout their 8-week stay in Majorca, which ITV Commissioner Amanda Stravi calls ‘the home of Love Island’. However, we weren’t always promised the show would be filmed in the iconic Spanish villa. ITV had debated filming the series much closer to home, either in Devon, Cornwall, or Jersey, but ultimately scrapped those plans once given the green light to film abroad. And thank God, because watching the islanders lie on sunbeds during a typical British summer does not fill me with summer vibes.
A spokesperson for Love Island offered reassurance to anyone worried about the impact of COVID on filming, stating ‘the production of Love Island Series 7 will adhere to all of the UK and Spain’s government guidelines surrounding Covid-19 in line with the UK TV Production Guidance’. This guidance recommends fewer people on the ground during filming, with other reports noting that most of Love Island’s production will happen back in the UK.
On top of this, islanders will be expected to quarantine before entering the villa, and yes, this goes for those surprise additions too. There will also be calls for increased handwashing, communication with GPs at home, and minimised travel. Now, I know what you’re thinking. But what does this mean for the dates? The prize shopping trips? The close-contact challenges? The infamous Casa Amor?
Love Island have yet to comment on this, though there is an assumption that all these events will be tightly regulated to ensure they don’t risk contact, for the sake of both islanders and those just living nearby. So, while last year’s Anton got away with flirting with a shop cashier, this year’s line-up may not be so lucky. Or unlucky, considering the wrath of Anton’s girlfriend, Belle, in season 6. Many have worried that Season 7 producers may omit Casa Amor altogether, arguably the best part of the series, due to the pandemic, but Stravi has offered some subtle reassurance: “I can’t confirm anything 100 percent at this stage but it will definitely be the Love Island viewers know and love”.
Oh, how I’ve missed this: Let’s hope this year’s Casa Amor antics are as CHALDISH as 2019’s.
The Metro has hopes Love Island are ensuring they have a summer cast, with an apparent set of back-up islanders ready to replace any fallen soldier, should they need to be removed from the villa. This comes after some previous faux-pas of ITV’s casting – like Dancing on Ice, which saw many contestants leave the show due to both injury and testing positive for COVID.
But COVID precautions aren’t the only consideration for islanders this year; ITV have recently published their duty of care protocols for the upcoming cast, after a troubled past which saw previous contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, as well as original host Caroline Flack, take their own lives. Fame and trolling have been cited as the cause for all three deaths, as the pressure for influencers and celebrities in the age of social media seems to reach new heights.
The new duty of care protocols offer comprehensive psychological support throughout the entire process, from pre-filming to aftercare, alongside extensive social media training plus financial and management advice upon exiting the show.
It’s no secret Love Island has had a lot to learn since its beginning in 2015, and we can only hope this series sees an improvement on earlier failures, as well as adjusting to our new version of normal. On the plus side, maybe COVID-19 will finally stop that gross food-spitting challenge…
Love Island will be returning to screens Monday 28th at 9pm, on ITV2.
Check back every Monday for Brig’s lowdown on that week’s Love Island drama!
Featured Image Credit: ITV