Here's how producers actually manipulate Love Island to make the best storylines
Viewers of Love Island have been busy building fix theories since the show began last month '“ here, an insider reveals what's really going on behind the scenes.
Fixing allegations aside for one moment, let’s acknowledge that Love Island has done its bit to keep this summer afloat.
Without it we would have cared far more when football missed its flight home and spent nights crying into our pillows because of heatwave insomnia. It’s even distracted us from the Brexit!
Love Island’s success lies mainly in the fact we are all watching at the same time every night (you cannot expect to avoid spoilers if you’re on plus one). It’s rare to watch something together in the streaming era, and has seen ITV2’s ratings skyrocket.
An estimated 3.4 million watched the launch show in June – almost triple the amount of people who watched Piers Morgan interview Donald Trump last week.
The unification of Love Island’s audience has also partly been its downfall. The fact that millions of people are watching a programme so intently means that if something doesn’t quite add up it’s getting called out on Twitter straight away.
This series of Love Island, the fourth, has been hit repeatedly with allegations of a fix.
When Frankie Foster left the Mallorcan villa two weeks ago he revealed that he and partner Samira Mighty had spent a night in the hideaway together – though this was never shown and he was voted out by the public days later.
Viewers have pointed out that Megan Barton Hanson has previously worked with new contestant Alexandra Cane.
They both appeared in the video for Giggs’ Lock Doh in 2016, and not in separate scenes – they actually kiss, yet we’ve never seen this acknowledged nor witnessed the girls chatting as if they know one another.
This week viewers spotted a glass changing positions within seconds as the camera moved between Laura Anderson and New Jack, hinting at a scene being reshot, and another viewer claimed that Georgia’s acrylic nails seemingly disappeared within scenes which were presented as being shot on the same afternoon.
So what’s really going on? Well first of all, the show isn’t ‘fixed’: whoever wins the £50,000 will do so fair and square as a result of the viewers’ poll (and let’s face it, it was always going to be Jack and Dani from day one).
But what we see is heavily manipulated by producers, says a source, who has worked on the show.
“It’s entertainment, you’re seeing less than 60 minutes out of 1440 in a day and there are around 12 people in the villa at all times.
There’s no way absolutely everything that happens in the house could be represented,” says the source.
“Storylines are identified and if viewers are showing interest it will be developed: in Samira and Frankie’s case viewers weren’t as invested as they were with, say, Megan and Wes or Jack and Dani and it was something the producers didn’t develop as much on camera.”
According to the source, there are around 70 cameras within the villa, ready to capture all the action – but only about eight will actually be filming at any given time.
“There’s a limited capacity to film what’s going on – producers will be watching at all times and if anything gets interesting the recording will start. This means that obviously some things will be missed.”
Certain contestants do get preferential treatment, of course. Alex George, the doctor who has yet to find an actual love interest on the show, perhaps should have gone long ago considering that’s the whole point.
But there have been careful selections for new contestants which has made it far easier for him to stay in the show until the end.
“Alex has been one of the key figures of interest since the very beginning of the series: his search for a partner has been a massive storyline and viewers want him to stay,” says the source.
“It’s no coincidence that so many girls have entered the villa saying they have their eye on him: producers will be aware that Alex has been single and viewers want him to find someone. “He’s a character they need to maintain and he always seems to get coupled up despite having zero banter.”
As for the seemingly spontaneous chats (as in “can I pull you for a chat?”), sometimes these are manufactured to get a couple of contestants away from the main group. “You’re not watching a live stream,” says the source.
“It’s obviously manipulated and edited to make it as entertaining as possible, but the most dramatic moments will always make it in even if someone’s developing relationship doesn’t get the air time because of it.”
Viewers thought they were onto something when the infamous Georgia/ Jack “kiss” footage appeared to be shot on four different cameras.
While ITV2 hasn’t commented, i’s source explains: “There’s nothing unusual about scenes being reshot if something hadn’t been picked up properly the first time: it’s all part of the story arc, so it needs to be done properly – which could have been the case with the scene where it looked like Laura’s glass had moved.”
The so-called scientific findings from the heart monitor tasks (when each contestant performed a striptease for everyone of the opposite sex to see who raised their heart rate the most) or lie detector tests aren’t going to be clinically proven, says the source.
“It’s hardly going to be hospital levels accurate. If it causes more drama that Megan raises the most heart rates with her sexy dance, for example, then maybe that’s what will happen…”
Love Island’s official spokesperson told The i: “It is not possible to show everything that happens in the villa due to time constraints.”
And, granted, it’s not the Olympics so perhaps people don’t need to analyse things quite so forensically.
Just enjoy it while you can – your newsfeed is going to go back to being all about Brexit after 30 July.