September 04, 2019
Former Love Island star Marcel Somerville has revealed he initially turned down the chance to appear on the ITV dating show, as he was concerned it wasn’t diverse enough.
Love Islands Marcel Somerville Admits He Initially Turned Show Down Over Diversity Concerns
The former Blazin’ Squad singer appeared on the 2017 series, lasting the entire duration, alongside now ex-girlfriend Gabby Allen.
However, giving evidence to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Wednesday, Marcel admitted he was offered the chance to be a late arrival a year earlier, but had issues with the lack of diversity in the villa.“The year before I participated in the show, Love Island contacted my agent and said ‘Do you have anyone that would be good for the show?’” he explained.
“I spoke to the casting producers, done a medical, but they wanted me to go on for the last two weeks of the show. During my conversation with the production team I said I wasn’t sure… I basically said I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go on the show at that time because the show didn’t look very diverse.
“So I was like I didn’t want to be the first black person to be on the show as a bombshell because you’ve got to go in there and try and steal someone’s girlfriend. I was like ‘I’m not really sure that’s my character’, so they held off from putting me on that year...”
Back in June, Marcel was among those calling for a change to the way Love Island casts its contestants, after the final three contestants to be coupled up at the beginning of this year’s series were all black or mixed-race.He said: “The one thing that lets the show down is when they’re doing their casting they don’t take into consideration people’s tastes.
“They need to make sure people match up in terms of their types, they put a bunch of good-looking people in there but if you’re putting people in there that won’t form connections you’re making it impossible − especially if it is a person of colour.”
During his first day on Love Island, Marcel also found himself the last to be picked, admitting it did make him consider whether he was being sidelined because of his race.
“As a person of ethnic background you do feel ‘Is it because I’m black?’ You do have that go through your head,” he said. “I’m not different from anyone else. I’m a human, I go to the gym, I have a good body. The only difference between you and that person is the colour of your skin.”On the subject of aftercare, Marcel commented: “You are kind of left to your own devices. It wasn’t like a big thing of them contacting you. It wasn’t much of a ‘How are things going now?’”
ITV has been vocal about how they made big changes to both their aftercare system and the training given to contestants ahead of this year’s series, which came after the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
Yewande Biala – who took part in the show this year, and gave evidence at the panel alongside Marcel – said she was given extensive social media training and psychological support.
After leaving the villa, she initially dismissed claims that Love Island has a problem with race, but later suggested she had difficulties finding love on the show as a black woman.MORE LOVE ISLAND... Love Island's Theo Details Horror Champagne Cork Incident That Led To Him Losing Sight In One Eye Maura Higgins Reveals How Love Island Taught Her She Is A Feminist Dani Dyer Reveals She Sought Out Therapist After Love Island Fame Became 'Overwhelming' These truly are the best of the worst... c.20thC.Fox/Everett/Rex/Shutterstock/OWN/Channel 4/Ray Tang/Rex/Shutterstock'There's Something About Miriam' Back in 2003, 'There's Something About Miriam' hit the airwaves. A dating show with a difference, the titular Miriam dated six different men over a period of time before revealing to them all that she was transgender.After filming ended, the six men who took part in the show filed a lawsuit against producers, accusing them of conspiracy to commit sexual assault, defamation, breach of contract and psychological and emotional damage.It was also blasted by critics, with some accusing the Sky One show of reinforcing stereotypes about trans people, and exploiting an important issue. 'I Wanna Marry Harry' The premise of this completely ridiculous show was that a group of American women were flown to the UK, where they competed for the affections of a man they were led to believe was Prince Harry, but was actually a look-a-like.Eventual winner Kimberly Birch later hit out at the show, claiming the girls all knew that 'Prince Harry' was an imposter, but were manipulated into thinking they were just being paranoid by producers, who urged doubters to speak to a fake therapist for reassurance. 'Playing It Straight' OTT and mildly offensive, 'Playing It Straight' saw one woman having to whittle down a group of 12 single men, with the unfortunate obstacle that six of them are hiding the fact that they're gay.The E4 show was eventually won by former Mr Gay UK Ben Harris, who opted to split the prize money with the show's leading lady, Zoe. 'Being Bobby Brown' 'Being Bobby Brown' marked Whitney Houston's move from Grammy-winning voice of a generation to the side-kick in a Bravo reality show, the highlight of which was this infamous scene. 'Shattered' A reality show where contestants are truly pushed to their limits, the participants in 'Shattered' were required to stay awake for a full week in a bid to win £100,000.What Channel 4 hadn't banked on, though, was quite how dull this would be for viewers. 'Dapper Laughs: On The Pull' More than one person at ITV2 gave this programme the thumbs up. In fact, a string of people thought this was a good idea. Something to think about. 'CelebAir' When you start running out of skills celebrities can learn as part of a TV show, you have to think outside the box, and that's exactly what the producers of 'CelebAir' did when they came up with a show that would see a host of C-listers training to become cabin crew members. 'Flockstars' No, but seriously. Who gave the green-light to a show where Fazer from N-Dubz, Tony Blackburn and Brendan Cole herd up a load of sheep?Of course, the involvement of Leslie Joseph meant we still watched every episode... 'Lindsay' "Cut the bullshit""'K"One of the finest exchanges in reality TV history.What was so unbelievable about 'Lindsay' wasn't that the former wild child got her own reality show (forgive us, docuseries), but just how uneventful it was. 'Cheaters' A show where people catch their philandering partners in the act... with an entire camera crew behind them, and Clark James Gable quizzing them about how they feel.Running mascara and a few torn-out hair extensions later, and hey presto, you've got yourself a reality show. 'Totally Jodie Marsh' This MTV reality series saw Jodie Marsh choosing a spouse from a group of eligible bachelors, eventually plumping for the ex-boyfriend of her rival, Katie Price (funny, that).In 2015, she admitted she was "ashamed" of the show, describing it as "the worst period of her life". 'Bridalplasty' People love bridal shows, and people love shows about plastic surgery. Put 'em together and what have you got..? 'Peter Andre's Bad Boyfriends Club' A reality show entirely dependent on the premise that Peter Andre is the perfect boyfriend.Sure thing. 'Princess Nikki' E4's attempt to turn post-'Big Brother' Nikki Grahame into the UK's answer to Paris Hilton, with this British spin on 'The Simple Life'. It was actually comic genius, which sadly only ran for one series. 'Temptation Island' What better way to test your relationship than to head to two separate private islands with a load of people you fancy, get plied with alcohol and just let the cameras see what happened?Surprisingly, 'Temptation Island' was a smash the world over, with editions airing in the UK, America, Australia, Italy, Spain, Russia, Romania THE LIST TRULY DOES GO ON.
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