Will they or won’t they? Love Island will reportedly include LGBT+ contestants

Love Island

Everyone has been talking about whether or not Love Island will be include LGBT+ contestants.

The will they, won’t they discourse has been the staple of entertainment gossip ever since the last season ended.

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Even though the executive producer of the programme rubbished claims that gay and bisexual contestants could enter the field due to “formatting reasons” (yawn), an ITV spokesperson has seemingly put the possibility back on the agenda.

“Everyone is welcome to apply – the only stipulations are that people are over 18 and single/looking for love,” they told OK! Online.

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“ITV want to increase the shock factor of the show and keep people talking, by having LGBT people included. The LGBT community make up a huge part of their audience,” a spokesperson told The Daily Star.

However, considering the exec producer hasn’t changed his stance since he made the statement in January, we’re a little uncertain about the prospect at PinkNews HQ.

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“The format doesn’t really allow it. If you’re familiar with the programme, it’s about coupling and recoupling. To complicate it with same-sex relationships is to take something away from the format,” said ITV 2’s Head of Digital Channels, Paul Mortimer.

“I know Richard (the show’s exec producer) said, maybe with tongue-in-cheek, that we might do a gay version one day.”

Cowles, who is also an executive producer on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, said last year: “I would like to see what a gay version of the show would be.

However, he outlined the practical issues – as he saw it – with introducing gay and lesbian competitors alongside straight contestants.

“You are trying to create couples,” he said.

“It is not impossible and it is not something that we shy away from… but there is a logistical element which makes it difficult.”

Cowles also defended his programme against accusations that it had succeeded simply because of its salacious aspects.

“We are not about exploiting. There are other shows out there that are really trying to ratchet it up to such a level that it is uncomfortable viewing,” he said.

“This show is very warm at its heart.

“Everybody is aspiring to see love blossom. We are very much acknowledging that sex has happened and moving on.”

The third season of the sexy reality show’s current incarnation was incredibly successful for ITV.

Its ITV2 channel attracted increasingly large amounts of viewers to the coupling show, as well as a vociferous following on social media.

And the show certainly hasn’t been without its queer stars.

In 2016, bi contestants Sophie Gradon and Katie Salmon paired up on the programme, but were told to romance a man if they wanted to be in with a chance to win the £50,000 cash prize.

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But there’s been very little clarification over what’s happening with this series.

Although it is meant to be arriving on our screens this year, no-one is entirely sure on what date – The Tab even ran a spoof article on April Fools’ about its “impending” start date the week after.