Need to keep in the loop without watching? Read our recap of each week’s events here.
Summer is here, which means everyone around you will be talking about one thing: Love Island. ITV 2’s reality dating series, which first premiered back in 2015 (technically, it’s a reboot of an earlier version in 2005), has grown to become a genuine sensation, becoming wildly popular in 2017 and even more so in 2018.
This year, the same looks to happen all over again: the end of Season 4 upped the previous year’s finale viewing figures by 1 million, with 3.6 million viewers tuning in – ITV2’s biggest audience ever. The final boasted a further 1.9 million simulcast requests on ITV Hub, with digital audiences a huge part of the series’ success: according to data from BARB, Love Island was second most popular on-demand programme in the whole of 2017 and the number one most live-streamed TV show of the year.
With eight weeks of relationship gossip and suntan on the cards yet again, that means you’re going to find it hard to avoid Love Island chat between now and the end of summer. Whether it’s your friends, your family or your work colleagues, here’s your Love Island blagger’s guide. Looking to join in the conversation without watching any of it? Jumping in halfway through? Here’s everything you need to know about Love Island in one handy place:
What is it?
Love Island is a reality series that brings together 11 singletons all looking to find that special someone – and also bag a £50,000 cash prize. The only catch? They have to be in the house at the end of the summer to win it, something that requires them to win over both other Love Islanders and the viewing public.
How does it work?
Caroline Flack presides over the matchmaking, which takes place on the luxury Love Island villa. Every few days, the islanders are required to “couple up”, by choosing someone else they want to be paired with. With new islanders added throughout the series, and people able to couple up with people who are already in a partnership, there’s no guarantee that the people they start off with will still be their other half come the finale. The odd number of contestants, meanwhile, means that each week someone becomes the proverbial third wheel – they get dumped out of the villa and sent home. At the end of the eight weeks, the public have the final say on who wins the show and takes home the cash – and the winning pair can choose whether to share the £50,000 or take the whole lot for themselves.
When is it?
Season 5 of Love Island premieres on Monday 3rd June, with new episodes airing every night of the week on ITV 2 at 9pm. Each Friday sees the much-anticipated recoupling, which will send the odd singleton out packing, while every Saturday gives you a break from the gossip with a catch-up highlights show of the week’s events, plus some additional clips.
When does it end?
With eight weeks of break-ups and make-ups on the cards, Love Island 2018 is on course to finish with a live finale on Monday 29th July – watch this space for any changes to that.
Who’s on it?
There are 11 initial islanders to worry about knowing, and they’re all barely distinguishable from each other: essentially the same person but with different haircuts, nicely tanned, well toned, obscenely good-looking, and, of course, willing to go on TV to find a partner.
Here’s your rundown of the 2019 contestants:
Sandwich expert Joe is a former semi-professional rugby player, so he has a competitive streak.
“For me, it’s just more how we click -whether she’s fun, outgoing, doesn’t take herself too seriously and is open to talking about things. I’m looking for a connection. Obviously initial attraction is key but the connection is the main go-to.””
A surfer and a tomboy, 21-year-old Lucie has a passion for all things motocross, snowboarding and boxing.
“I love the honeymoon stage and being all excitable but then you just relax and I get bored… next!”
This 24-year-old Scot owns his own gym, but says he can be “a bit moody” and an “overthinker”.
“She has to be hardworking and good looking. Blonde hair is usually my type. They have to be into the gym because it’s such a big part of my life, so it’s important that it’s a big part of their life as well.”
A 28-year-old aircraft engineer, Callum doesn’t like cheating, doesn’t do dating apps and is a “genuine, normal guy”. But he does like Michael Bublé.
“I like blonde and petite girls. Personality, I just like girls that let me be myself. As long as they like me for me. Of course I’ve got to enjoy their personality too.”
A Masters graduate, this 28-year-old Londoner wants loyalty and sentiment, but also someone who’s fit.
“The right guy will want me without me having to go far for him. Once I’ve got the guy and he likes me, I’ll go far to make him happy.”
A 20-year-old chef and a semi-pro rugby player, which means he and Joe are ready to be best friends – he’s a firm believe in the sanctity of the bro code. And loyalty, of course.
“She needs to be able to hold a conversation. I feel that I make people laugh so I want a girl that makes me laugh, even if that’s just from being herself and not trying to be funny. A nice smile and nice teeth. And a nice bum! That’s one of my criteria.”
A 26-year-old air hostess who is done with time-wasters, and has celebrity crushes including Ashley Banjo and Liam Hemsworth.
“I’m going there to find ‘the one’ but I’m also going there to have an amazing summer and meet amazing friends as well.”
A professional dancer – hello to Ashley Banjo fans – Curtis says he’s loyal, but also says he’s cheated before. Oh, and AJ Pritchard from Strictly Come Dancing is his brother.
“I like blondes and an athletic body, not too fake and somebody that respects themselves. But if the complete opposite comes in and I fall madly in love with them then I’ve completely lied to you. Love is blind.”
A firefighter, this 27-year-old Liverpudlian is straight-talking and doesn’t like people who smell.
Someone with “intellect, banter and a nice bum”.
This 21-year-old beauty therapist from Newcastle is opinionated and up for a laugh.
Tom Hardy lookalikes.
A professional boxer, Tommy is the brother of Tyson Fury and is ready to go ‘to the moon and back’ in the villa to get the girl he wants.
“I want to end up with a girl where I look at her every morning and think ‘You are gorgeous, I’m so lucky.’ and if a thousand girls walked past, I don’t want to look at one of them.”
This 23-year-old scientist from Ireland is “a tad dramatic and very lazy”, but also enjoys a laugh. She is “a terrible flirt”, but “can’t imagine stealing someone’s man in there”.
Anthony Joshua lookalikes.
Recap: Week 1
Love Island is wasting no time in kicking off the drama for the summer, with the first contestant out – Callum – and a love triangle threatening to turn into a square, or maybe even a rhombus. Here’s the skinny so you can join in any chat:
An awkward first coupling
This year’s contestants didn’t seem to take much of a liking to each other, with the first coupling far from a charged affair, leaving “I want constructive feedback for my first dates” Amy and “I’m a mummy’s boy” Anton together (he was too shaved for Amber), Amber and Callum paired up (after she ditched her initial partner Sherif), Lucie and Joe holding hands (after “I have a thing for noses” Michael got the push for the “I love Les Mis” hunk), and Yewande with Michael plus Anna with Sherif.
Tommy and Curtis stir things up
Straight away, things got shaken up, though, with Tommy and Curtis arriving, with the former picking Lucie has his partner – leaving Joe (a sandwich maker) without any one to complete his BLT. Curtis, meanwhile, swiftly blossomed into romance with Amy, with the couple sharing a kiss before the week was out.
Molly-Mae makes a move
By the end of the week, another arrival appeared in the form of Molly-Mae, who invited Tommy on a date (as voted for by viewers at home), much to the frustration of Lucie.
Callum goes walkies
The recoupling took place on Friday, with girls picking the partners. With Amy picking Curtis (Curtis made it clear to Molly-Mae that he wasn’t interested on their date) and Lucie choosing Joe, and Amber saving Anton, Callum was the one leaving on a jet plane to go home. Which is good news for anyone keen on Anton’s suggestion for the Love Islanders to form their own boy band. And even better news for Joe, who was talking with Lucie about the idea of them starting their own catering business.
The love square gets another side
The love square remains in place for Lucie, Amber, Joe and Tommy, with Lucie interrupting flirty charts between Amber and Joe during the week. With Molly-Mae arriving, things could become a love pentagon – although her partnering with Tommy, and Joe and Lucie remaining together, suggests things might settle down for now… maybe.
Things to say in conversation
– Who’s this Danny I hear is coming into the villa next week?
– McDonald’s for a first date? I’m not sure about Tommy.
– Drinking raw eggs for breakfast? I’m not sure about Tommy.
– Singing Hannah Montana lyrics? I’m a big fan of Tommy.
Love Island is available live and on-demand through ITV Hub.