Laura Whitmore to make her debut as host of winter Love Island

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Laura Whitmore will make her debut as the host of Love Island when the show returns tonight for its first winter series.

The former MTV host is fronting the new series of the ITV2 dating show, after regular presenter Caroline Flack stepped down following an assault charge.

The series will see seven women and five men enter a luxury villa in Cape Town, South Africa, in the hope of finding a partner – and winning the £50,000 prize money.

The stars of winter Love Island (Joel Anderson/ITV/PA)

The show’s new crop of male contestants includes a police officer, a coffee bean salesman who worked as a naked waiter and the heir to a country estate in Cornwall.

Among its female contestants are Rochelle Humes’ little sister, twins and a former Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist who used to date Lewis Capaldi.

Flack has denied assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton in an incident that allegedly left them both covered in blood in scenes likened to a “horror movie”.

Caroline Flack outside court (Jonathan Brady/PA)

She is alleged to have hit Burton over the head with a lamp, causing a head injury.

After entering a not guilty plea to the assault charge at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, Flack was released on bail with conditions that stop her having any contact with Burton ahead of a trial on March 4.

Love Island starts Sunday at 9pm on ITV2.