Love Island on ITV2: Sunderland academic on why the show will be under more scrutiny this year
It's that time of year again.
It's time to fire up Twitter, and set up your group WhatsApp ahead of the return of reality TV show Love Island.
The show, which follows a group of singletons as they get to know each other in a villa, will begin its fifth season on ITV2 on Monday.
Ahead of its launch, a Sunderland professor is looking at potential dark clouds plaguing the show, as questions are asked about the care offered to contestants, and the impact taking part has on their mental health.
Programme-makers have recently released a detailed account of the duty of care process each contestant will go through before entering the Mallorcan villa.
Sophie Gradon appeared on the show in 2016 and was found dead in June last year. Series three contestant Michael Thalassitis died in March this year.
Angela Smith, Professor of Language and Culture at Sunderland University, has discussed why the show may come under more scrutiny than usual as its new season begins.
Love Island has also been mentioned in relation to recent discussions about the Jeremy Kyle Show, which was taken off-air indefinitely following the death of a man who recorded an episode of the programme.
Professor Smith said: “Whilst the two shows would appear to be very different, the similarities drawn by commentators covering the sad death of one participant on the Jeremy Kyle Show also drew links with the desperately sad fate of two previous participants on Love Island.
“Questions were raised about the level of post-filming care that both shows provided. In the case of the Jeremy Kyle Show, this had been a topic of discussion for many years.
"The post-filming care is obviously now in the public eye. However, might it be a good idea to also look more carefully at the selection of participants in the first place?
“It is clearly the case that on Love Island, the participants are initially selected for their youth and looks, with anyone who is not exhibiting an idealised 'beach body' being commented on to draw attention to that body.
“However, it is also the case that the extrovert personalities of such participants are part of the reason they are perceived to be 'good TV' and therefore selected to take part.
“This focus on the body is also emphasised implicitly by the sponsorship deals for the programme, such as the 2018 sponsorship by a retailer in the UK which marketed a range of beach-body-perfect and beach-ready products.
“Is the emphasis on 'good TV' participants, the very people we find interesting and engaging, being made at the expense of an initial assessment for mental robustness?”
Ten of thousands of people are expected to tune in to the new series, taking to social media before, after and during each broadcast, adding to the focus and phenomenon of the show.
*Love Island begins on ITV2 on Monday, June 3