Pop Culture

The UK’s Favorite Dating Show Is Back For Some Winter Love

'Love Island' Winter Season 2023 Promo

Love Island UK is on its way back to its screens for its winter season for the first time after two years with just one season a year. While many might say one season is too many, it’s a guilty pleasure for many and, for better or worse, certainly captures the hearts and minds of people across the UK.

A dozen or so Islanders will be heading into the Villa, this time in South Africa in the height of its summer, rather than Mallorca. They will be coupled up, tasked with challenges, and ultimately compete for the public’s popularity to win them £50,000, to either share or steal from one another.

The 2023 winter series introduces a new host, presenter Maya Jama and a flurry of new rules designed to protect its contestants. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season.

Trigger warning: mention of suicide

When does Love Island start?

Love Island will kick off on January 16, the so-called Blue Monday (just a note: Blue Monday is not a thing). Episodes will air daily for approximately eight weeks, ending in March. However, an exact date has not yet been confirmed.

“After eight brilliant series, we are excited to be serving up two helpings of love in 2023 by kicking off in January at a stunning new villa in South Africa. We can look forward to more romances, bromances and everything in between as we embark on another epic year of love,” said Mike Spencer, Executive Producer at Lifted Entertainment in a statement.

Who’s in the Love Island 2023 cast?

The first 10 contestants of Love Island have already been revealed, but we know the producers love to throw in curveballs even in the first episode, so more might be on their way. For now, we know that the initial couples will be made up of:

  • 21-year-old Haris Namani
  • 27-year-old Olivia Hawkins
  • 24-year-old Shaq Muhammed
  • 26-year-old Tanyel Revan
  • 23-year-old Will Young (no, not that one)
  • 20-year-old Anna-May Robey
  • 25-year-old Ron Hall
  • 24-year-old Kai Fagan
  • 25-year-old Lana Jenkins
  • 22-year-old Tanya Manhenga

Following in the footsteps of last year’s Tasha Ghouri, who used a hearing aid, Ron Hall is blind in one eye. Including disabled contestants has been ITV’s attempt at diversifying the line-up, but that hasn’t stopped them from casting a number of thin, conventionally attractive people this year, as in all other years. Criticism has also been leveled at the show in pretty much every season that Black contestants’ storylines are edited out and reduced in the show, as well as pairing Black couples together.

What are the new rules for Love Island 2023?

Another aspect of frequent criticism for the show is the treatment of contestants on social media. Two former contestants, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, and the show’s former host, Caroline Flack, all completed suicide after appearing on the show. All of them experienced trolling and social media harassment, prompting ITV to take increasingly sharp measures over the last few years, from putting out social media posts encouraging viewers to “be kind” through to ending the controversial ‘Fill in the Blank’ game, where social media criticism of Islanders was shown to those still in the Villa.

This year, new rules are in place to protect Islanders during the show. The Islanders will be asked to pause their social media accounts for the duration of their time on the show.

“Islanders’ accounts will remain dormant while they are in the Villa, so that nothing is published on their behalf,” reads the statement from ITV. “For the first time, the broadcaster will ask islanders to make their accounts ‘dormant’ while they are in the villa so nothing can be published on their behalf and so they can avoid ‘the adverse effects of social media’.

“Contestants will also receive ‘guidance and training’ around ‘mutually respectful behaviour in relationships’ after the most recent series prompted thousands of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.”

This comes after Islanders within the Villa were accused of bullying each other last year, and many contestants’ loved ones experienced trolling while managing the Islanders’ accounts during the show.

(featured image: ITV)

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