Morethan two million people tuned into Love Island as the show aired for the first time since the death of former presenter Caroline Flack.
The overnight audience of 2.15 million is down from the 2.5 million who watched the opening episode of this series, with some fans saying they felt too “raw” to watch.
The dating show’s former presenter was found dead at her home in east London on Saturday, having taken her own life.
Love Island did not air over the weekend but returned last night with a tribute from narrator Iain Stirling, who remembered his friend’s “passion, warmth and infectious enthusiasm”.
Many fans said they did not feel right watching the programme after the TV star’s death. One posted on Twitter: “I can’t bring myself to watch #loveisland tonight. Feel like I’m doing Caroline and her family a disservice. It’s too soon and raw.”
“I’m going to be honest. I couldn’t watch Love Island. Felt weird,” said another.
Others watched Stirling’s tribute to Flack before switching off.
After Iain’s intro I couldn’t watch #loveisland 😔 it just feels too raw..— Georgina Elizabeth (@georginaocal)February 17, 2020
I can’t bring myself to watch #loveisland tonight. Feel like I’m doing Caroline and her family a diservice. It’s too soon and raw— Luc x (@lucybustinn)February 17, 2020
Not even feeling Love Island right now, news of Caroline’s death is still so raw #LoveIsland— dior dior🦋 (@anadiioor)February 17, 2020
“After Iain’s intro I couldn’t watch #loveisland it just feels too raw,” said one, while another fan said they “sobbed” at Stirling’s words. Flack was due to stand trial next month for the alleged assault of her boyfriend Lewis Burton and stepped down from presenting the show after her arrest.
Flack’s friend Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw paid tribute to her today on his show describing her as “one of my favourite people” as he recalled learning the “really brutal” news of her death.
The presenter, who worked with her on 2015’s The X Factor, reiterated her statement to “be kind,” adding: “I think it’s a good lesson for all of us. You never know what someone is going through.”
Russell Brand also paid tribute saying he was “angry and sad” about her death.
In a lengthy blog post on his website, Brand wrote: “I am angry and sad that Caroline Flack found herself in that place. I am sad because she was a lovely little person, a real laugh, a dynamo and the idea that she had been so drained of hope by her circumstances chokes me.”
Flack’s management have criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with the court case even after Burton said he did not support it.
CPS guidelines, however, say prosecutors must be ready to take on cases even when the complainant refuses to support it.
Flack’s death follows the suicides of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
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