Belfast Telegraph

Why Love Island will have you enthralled again this summer

Reality show Love Island had the nation hooked last year - and now it's time for a new batch of contestants to enter the villa. Georgia Humphreys chats to narrator Iain Stirling about how series four is going to live up to the hype

Plonk a bunch of hopeful singletons in an extravagant Spanish villa, where they couple up with the aim of winning £50,000, and what do you get? Seven weeks of non-stop drama, that's what.

Love Island, hosted by Caroline Flack, is back for a fourth series, and it has a lot to live up to - last year's competition, which saw Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies walk away with the cash prize, was a ratings success with an average of 2 million viewers per episode.

Here, narrator Iain Stirling helps us list the reasons we can't wait for the reality show's return - plus why you should tune in if (for some crazy reason) you didn't before.

IT'S A GREAT CONVERSATION STARTER

One of the biggest talking points last series was the heartwarming bromance between Kem and runner-up Chris Hughes (after leaving the villa, they got their own ITV2 show together, and released a single).

Their hilarious rapping sessions, and deep and meaningful conversations, was just one factor in people cancelling their plans in order to stay in and watch Love Island (seriously, people were obsessed).

"It went mad, it went absolutely mad," recalls Stirling (30) of the show's popularity. "No one could believe it.

"I don't think we did anything massively different to the year before, we just did what we've always done, and it was nice watching the work we've done for the last three years be taken on board by that many people."

The Scottish comedian continues ardently: "The proof is if you watch comments from people watching it on Netflix now - series 1 and series 2.

"It's not like people are watching series 1 and are going, 'Oh God, this is terrible (compared) to series 3'. People still love it."

YOU CAN EXPECT SOME HILARIOUS CATCHPHRASES

No matter which couple you back as your favourite, we can all agree on one thing - the best bit of the show is Stirling's sarcastic commentary.

However, fans repeating his now-famous one-liners back to him doesn't happen as much as you might suspect.

"I think the people that I say them about get it more than I do," remarks the Edinburgh-born star, whose TV career started on CBBC.

"So, maybe Kem will have 'Romford!' shouted at him on the street, or Marcel (Somerville, 2017 contestant) will get a bit of 'Paging Doctor Marcel' action. I sort of managed to stay clear of it, luckily!"

And while not many TV shows manage to introduce new words into the nation's vocabulary, Love Island did it with "grafting", "muggy" and "melt". People could even buy T-shirts showing the series' best quotes. Now, that's dedication.

IT'S GUARANTEED TO BE DRAMATIC VIEWING

The heat really gets turned up when it comes to the challenges the contestants are faced with.

In one episode in series three, they had to secretly nominate a couple to be dumped by the British public. Ouch...

Meanwhile, an awkward game called Bang On Trend saw them work out the identities of the co-stars mentioned in viewers' tweets.

It meant they found out what friends and partners had said about them - and serious friction between Chris and Olivia Attwood, already a very on/off pair.

As Stirling puts it: "There's nothing better than watching a couple have an argument on television, and knowing that you're not involved in it in any shape or form. It's brilliant."

And the drama is bound to keep us hooked long after the tans have faded...

Amber and Kem split just months after winning in 2017, and Chris and Olivia not long after - in fact, Camilla Thurlow and Jamie Jewitt are the only couple from the third series who are still together.

THE COMPETITION WILL ONLY KEEP HOTTING UP

The islanders are handpicked, and you can expect to see some big personalities chilling by the pool and going on dates. But it's not all fun and games - this is a battle for survival. If the format remains as last year, as the show goes on, people will be voted out, and swimwear-clad newbies will be strutting in.

With regular opportunities to ditch who they're currently with and re-couple, you can guarantee some heads will be turned.

Stirling is one half of a celebrity couple himself - he's been dating TV personality Laura Whitmore since last summer - but how does he think he would have fared back on Love Island in his single days?

"Oh, I would have been absolutely terrible," he quips without hesitation. "I've got a very soft stomach so my ab count is far lower than those gentlemen, I sweat profusely when heated, which is not a great look, and I'm into early noughties pop punk... I don't think Blink-182 is going to woo many women. So, all in all, I don't think I'd be one of your best contestants."

IT'S AN AWARD-WINNING SHOW

Emotional make-ups and break-ups (Chris and Olivia, we're looking at you), shocking twists (remember the separate villa the boys moved into?) and Stormzy appearing to give advice via video link - no wonder Love Island recently nabbed a Bafta for best reality show.

But still, Stirling isn't worried about trying to match last year's success. "If you start thinking, 'What do people want?', you're never going to get it right. You've just got to go, 'What do we like?'"

It helps that the people who work on the series are so obsessed, he adds.

"I think Caroline (Flack) mentioned it in her Bafta speech - the Love Island team booked out a pub in north London, and just had a big party. The video of them losing their mind when they won is just insane."

Who knows what the producers have in store this year? All we know is, we'll be watching.

Love Island, Monday, ITV2, 9pm

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