Here's what we want from Love Island 2019 - and we're hoping producers really shake things up

Bring on next year.

01 Aug 2018

Dani and Jack have barely had time to ‘do bits’ and we are already looking forward to our next summer of compulsive villa watching. But what do want to see from Love Island 2019? Another Jani, more drama, more NHS staffers?

The persistent criticism of the show, besides the duvet dancing after dark, is its lack of diversity. For a show that sees more applications than Oxford and Cambridge combined, it presents a remarkably narrow-view of UK society. More representation for different facets of society would be an excellent place to start.

The cast of Love Island are a homogenous bunch, and by that I don’t just mean race, which is in itself another issue entirely. The inclusion of Camilla Thurlow last year and Dr Alex this year, have exposed some rather uncomfortable truths about the still rigid divides that exist in our society. Both were shocking anomalies: posh people.

Put simply, Love Island invites only one type of person. The fact that there was a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant and a nuclear engineer in the house this year, was remarkable. Yet neither Rosie, Zara or Wes stood out because they still fit the Love Island mould; their dress sense, colloquialisms and cultural frames of reference were harmonious. It was only Dr Alex’s inclusion that really ruffled some people’s Missguided bikinis.

The worship he received from the islanders was borne out of a curious blending of awe and pity. This curdled within him to become a worrying sense of entitlement that bordered on INCEL behaviour. "I am poor unlucky in love Dr Alex", he practically printed on his T-shirts, "should you not feel obligated to love me?" "You can bring a DOCTOR home to your mother", the other islanders practically screamed at any incoming females, at the same time as sexually rejecting him themselves for the seemingly insurmountable gulf in their experiences.

Samira suffered a similar fate to Alex in the romance stakes, but her plight was never as agonised over, nor as pitied as Alex’s. Alex’s lack of romantic success was practically unthinkable because - doesn’t every woman want a doctor, even a supremely awkward one? Yet Samira’s consistent rejections were just as upsetting to watch, and came with none of the support - nor the shock.

Samira was the only dark-skinned women of colour in the villa. She herself has spoken about it at great length since leaving the show. She has disclosed how, despite not wanting to, it was hard not to attach a racial element to her constant knock-backs and lack of screen time and the responsibility she felt to represent on the show. She would not have felt this unnecessary burden, nor felt so isolated, were the cast more naturally diverse.

Diversity in terms of race and class is one thing, and trust me, I would love to see a show that showed a more varied range of intellects, races and social groups. But unless this mix is a truly authentic one, and not just the tokenism of an A&E doctor air-dropped in like a Red Cross package social experiment, I would rather see something completely different.

Next year I want an LGBTQ Love Island. I don’t want it to be called that, I also don’t want it to be a secondary show alongside Love Island in its regularly scheduled heteronormative mould. I want it to be next year’s Love Island, exactly as it is, but with queer and trans contestants instead. Sure, the logistics may be tricky, but how bloody glorious would it be, if the most popular show on TV right now gave its platform to the LGBTQ community and, instead of othering them into their own version of the show, just gave them the show for the entire summer?

I want to see the British public as invested in the love lives of same sex couples as they got about Jack and Dani. The enormous window of opportunity the Love Island producers have cannot be wasted. With this great power over our summer watching habits comes great responsibility. I hope they use it wisely. A lot of positive change could happen if they do.