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ITV managing director Kevin Lygo has declared that queer Love Island definitely won’t happen any time soon, insisting: “It’s about boys and girls.”
Speaking on a virtual Edinburgh TV Festival session on Wednesday (25 August), Lygo shut down the idea of inviting queer contestants onto the ITV dating game show, which this week finished its seventh series.
He said: “Love Island is a particular thing. It’s about boys and girls coupling up, so if you want to do it as a gay version or you want to widen it, it is discussed and we haven’t yet found a way that would make it suitable for that show.”
Diverting the conversation from Love Island, the ITV executive made a point of explaining that Dancing on Ice had featured a same-sex couple and a blind competitor, while I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here had included a disabled contestant last year.
Lygo also addressed the record 25,000 complaints to regulator Ofcom about a confrontation between Faye Winter and Teddy Soares, over footage from Casa Amor shown to the contestants without context.
He insisted that the support given to islanders by ITV was “gold standard”, and added: “With how people are selected [for Love Island], you know, GPs are consulted. People are psychoanalysed to death now.”
Viewers were shocked by Lygo’s terrible choice of words, given that the show lost two contestants – Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – and its former host Caroline Flack to suicide between 2018 and 2019.
Responding to Lygo’s comments, an ITV spokesman told the i: “The point Kevin was making is that Love Island’s duty-of-care process includes thorough psychological and medical assessments during the casting process.”
Love Island bosses said queer contestants would be ‘logistically difficult’
In June, 2021, ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri told Radio Times that including LGBT+ Love Island contestants would present too much of a “logistical difficulty”.
Although Stavri said the show’s creators wanted to “encourage greater inclusivity and diversity”, addressing “rumours” about the show including LGBT+ islanders in future series’, she insisted that it would be a “challenge” because of the “format of Love Island”.
She said: “There’s a sort of logistical difficulty, because although islanders don’t have to be 100 per cent straight, the format must sort of give [the] islanders an equal choice when coupling up.”