2018’s Love Island is over and while the show was a huge ratings success for ITV2 and launched its contestants into the realm of D-list celebrity stardom – just how real was it?
This series may have been the most glam and popular yet, but it was also plagued with claims of fakery and staged scenes by eagle-eyed fans. It may be a structured reality show, but just how big a role did the producers play in its structuring?
Let’s take a look at the most convincing cases that this reality show was anything but ‘real’…
On Wes and Megan’s plush July 27 yacht date fans on Twitter were quick to speculate that the scene looked fake. Some fans claimed that it looked like the scene was faked with a green screen, and that the boat rocking was unrealistically over the top.
Megan and Wes conversation boat scene OBVIOUSLY green screen background! The boat rocking was so unnatural too& #loveisland
— TheNurseLecturer (@Nurse_Lecturer) July 27, 2018
— Iain Philpott (@IainPhilpott) July 27, 2018
What is with this awful fake boat date Megan and Wes are on? 😂😂😂 you can clearly see they wernt out on a boat and it was fake. Reminds me of a 1980s James Bond movie #loveisland
— Brett Morse OLY (@Brettmorseoly) July 27, 2018
An official Love Island spokesperson denied the alleged trickery with: “Yes it was a real boat and yes it was natural scenery. Any suggestion that the date was faked is ridiculous.”
Scripted love notes?
In the Love Island finale the remaining couples professed their adoration for one another with love letters. And while the contestants were shown handwriting the notes, they were later shown reading out typed versions.
A computer and printer had never been shown within the Mallorca villa, causing fans to speculate that producers had stepped into type them up. This caused further speculation that the romantic love letters could have been edited or even entirely written by the Love Island producers.
— Gem🦄 ||10.10.18|| (@Interrosands) July 30, 2018
So they were writing in books but somehow their words are typed…hmmmm who wrote these speeches for them???#LoveIsland
— Zoe Anthony (@carloszoe1982) July 30, 2018
Fake Instagram followers?
Love Island contestants social media followings are guaranteed to skyrocket after appearing on the show. Love Island finalist Laura Anderson went from a modest 10k Instagram followers pre-Island to a whopping 956k followers today.
However, analytics provider HypeAuditor and marketing platform Takumi revealed to The Daily Star that each contestant had a generous amount of fake or ‘bot’ Instagram followers. Finalist Wes Nelson was found to have 77.8% fake profiles, meaning that 646k of 834k of his followers aren’t genuine.
Why fake profiles? And how? Instagram followers can easily be bought from various online marketing agencies and a big Instagram following can be incredibly lucrative. Brands and advertising agencies are willing to shell out a hefty sum for Instagram ‘influencers’ to endorse their products.
Just take a look at this year’s Love Island reject Hayley Hughes, who is clearly already cashing in on some Insta product endorsement action:
A manipulative ‘production bible’?
Days before the Love Island finale a 408-page ‘production bible’ supposedly leaked. According to The Sun this alleged dossier instructs producers on how to save fan favourites, manipulate contestants and stage specific scenarios. This supposedly includes sending fake texts, scripting certain scenes and creating ‘safety nets’ to save fan favourite contestants.
A Love Island contestant responded to the allegations: “It is absolutely untrue to suggest that Love Island is fake. The opinions they have and the relationships formed are completely within the control of the Islanders themselves.”
How did Paris Hilton know?
— Paris Hilton (@ParisHilton) July 30, 2018
Unlikely Love Island fan and former reality telly queen Paris Hilton tweeted her congratulations to Love Island winners Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham three minutes before it was announced live. While they were the bookies favourites to win, some fans speculated that she’d been tipped off in advance.
It’s Paris Hilton ITV would of probs told her xx
— Claire Armstrong (@ClaireArmstron1) July 30, 2018
I know I did see- but how did she see it before all of us? 😂
— Laura Cartwright (@Paigemiasmum) July 30, 2018