January 23, 2020
The winter version of the UK’s biggest reality show should have steamed up the cold nights. Instead, we’re – whisper it – bored
No more bae-cation! Why weve fallen out of love with Love Island
Winter Love Island. It sounded like the dream: the UK’s most popular reality show, only, er, in the winter. There would be snow, presumably, with Mallorca replaced by a Sloaney ski resort, perfect for fondue and fondling. What a vision, what a plan. Besides, it was surely time to shake up the show that turned ITV2 from an insomnia cure to a hit channel, as it morphed from niche concern to national obsession. Alas, it has not come to pass: Winter Love Island ended up looking suspiciously like the Boohoo-clad, protein shake-fuelled Normal Love Island, except it was set in South Africa (not that you could tell from the identikit villa). A lack of innovation was the first misstep. But it is far from the only problem, as a sense of fatigue begins to seep in to the biggest reality show since Big Brother. Caroline Flack’s departure – after she was involved in an assault case – was another opportunity to put a twist on what was fast becoming a ubiquitous format; Gemma Collins and Maya Jama were mooted to replace her, the former having a propensity for viral moments, the latter a millennial idol and Stormzy’s ex. Instead, ITV played it safe with Laura Whitmore, who seems lovely but could also very much be Flack with a dye job.
It’s unsurprising, then, that audiences dipped from the start, with figures down by 800,000 compared to the opening episode of the previous series. Last week’s instalment of companion show Unseen Bits was obliterated by How the Victorians Built Britain on Channel 5 (yes, really) and The Voice – the talent show surely nobody even knew was on.
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