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Love Island viewers make dig at Laura Whitmore as they praise new host Maya Jama

Maya Jama, along with welcoming the new islanders and overseeing the first coupling of the season, returned at the end of the opening episode to welcome a bombshell contestant (ITV)
Maya Jama, along with welcoming the new islanders and overseeing the first coupling of the season, returned at the end of the opening episode to welcome a bombshell contestant (ITV)

Love Island fans have heaped praise on new host Maya Jama while taking a dig at her predecessor Laura Whitmore as the show returned on Monday night.

The first episode of the new series marked the debut for Jama, 28, who impressed viewers with her presenting skills. Many claimed that she had already been in the villa more times than Whitmore, 37, was in an entire series.

One wrote on social media: “Maya Jama’s already had more airtime than Laura Whitmore did for a whole series of #LoveIsland.”

Another commented: “I hope they pay Maya double what they paid Laura as she’s already doing double the work lol. I love her. Laura was so meh. Good change!”

Jama arrives by helicopter at the villa (ITV)
Jama arrives by helicopter at the villa (ITV)

A third said: “Maya is a breath of fresh air. She’s a natural unlike Laura and I’ve seen more of her already in one episode #loveisland.”

Another joked: “I’ve seen Maya Jama in this villa more then i saw Laura Whitmore the whole of last year #loveisland.”

Whitmore, who hosted the series for two years, had faced repeated criticism that she barely participated in the show.

Her handful of appearances at the villa included appearing in the first episode of the series to introduce the contestants. She also welcomed them back towards the end of the series from Casa Amor and occasionally made brief surprise announcements.

Jama appeared twice on the show’s opening episode, which impressed viewers (ES Composite)
Jama appeared twice on the show’s opening episode, which impressed viewers (ES Composite)

Jama, along with welcoming the new islanders and overseeing the first coupling of the season, returned at the end of the opening episode to welcome a bombshell contestant, Ellie Spence.

This is the first time the host has made two appearances on an episode, let alone the debut.

It was reported last July that Whitmore, who was not widely popular with viewers, had appeared in only 14 minutes halfway into the summer series. This was despite earning a rumoured £600,000.

Whitmore had appeared in only 14 minutes halfway into last year’s summer series, despite earning a rumoured £600,000 (ITV)
Whitmore had appeared in only 14 minutes halfway into last year’s summer series, despite earning a rumoured £600,000 (ITV)

A total of almost 27 hours of villa action was broadcast last year at the halfway point, The Sun reported.

Whitmore had appeared on 13 minutes and 26 seconds of the main show up until that point, meaning she was paid the equivalent of £744 a second.

In addition to the main show, Whitmore fronted Love Island Aftersun on ITV2 every Sunday, which Jama will also host.