ENTERTAINMENT
26/08/2021 11:06 BST

ITV Boss Addresses Calls For Inclusion Of LGBTQ Love Island Contestants

"Love Island is a particular thing, it’s about boys and girls coupling up."

ITV boss Kevin Lygo has said Love Island bosses will have to think outside the box to “spice it up” for future series – but this apparently won’t include the welcoming of gay contestants to the villa.

One of the biggest criticisms the ITV2 reality show has repeatedly faced over the years is down to its lack of LGBTQ representation, an issue which it sounds like no one behind the scenes is in a major rush to rectify.

Asked about the future of Love Island during an interview at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Lygo insisted: “I don’t think it has peaked, I think this [slight drop in the ratings] is a pattern that you see when new programmes come along and they are huge phenomenons.”

He continued: “There are many years left in it and I think the challenge thrown down to producers – and let’s give them a bit of credit, through a pandemic they managed to make a show every single night – is to make some subtle change to spice it up a bit and make it as fresh as you can.”

Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock
Love Island finalists Faye Winter and Teddy Soares, Chloe Burrows and Toby Aromolaran, Kaz Kamwi and Tyler Cruickshank and Millie Court and Liam Reardon

When asked about the inclusion of LGBTQ contestants in future seasons, Lygo claimed: “Love Island is a particular thing, it’s about boys and girls coupling up so if you want to do a gay version, or widen it, it is discussed and we haven’t yet found a way that would make it suitable for that show.”

Elsewhere in his interview, Lygo also dismissed the 33,000 complaints made to Ofcom about the most recent series of Love Island, the majority of which related to Faye Winter’s outburst towards boyfriend Teddy Soares.

Ken Jack via Getty Images
Kevin Lygo pictured in 2019

Prior to the launch of this year’s series earlier in the summer, ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri infamously said that LGBTQ Islanders would present a “logistical difficulty” for producers.

In terms of gay Islanders, I think the main challenge is regarding the format of Love Island,” she claimed.

“There’s a sort of logistical difficulty, because although Islanders don’t have to be 100 percent straight, the format must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up.”

Love Island has previously only featured one same-sex pairing in the past six series, when the late Sophie Gradon briefly coupled up with Katie Salmon.

Several former Islanders have come out as LGBTQ since leaving the show, including finalist Megan Barton Hanson, who claimed in 2019 she kept the fact she is bisexual hidden on the show out of concern there’d be a “stigma” attached to her.