With Monday’s Day Dot episode reaching a peak viewership of 3.7 million, this series has officially hit the highest ratings they’ve ever had on an opening night. Plus, ITV confirm if you take in viewers across all devices, 4.2 million people were technically tuning in.
But what does it say about our society that the show is so ridiculously popular, and why are we all this hooked on a few people chilling out in the sun?
The drama has already begun and with boxer Tommy Fury nicking catering company owner Joe Garratt’s girl, surfer Lucie Donlan, I cringed and squirmed about how awkward that was. Joe and Lucie had really hit it off, and you can tell he (in particular) is absolutely gutted. Meanwhile, Tommy needed to break somebody up to stake his claim in the game, so it was arguably a tough call for him too. Phew, and all of this is just a few episodes in.
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Moments like these are exactly why we watch Love Island, says Dr Audrey Tang, Psychologist and author of The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness. Audrey explains: “Love Island as a phenomenon gives us something to talk about - to connect with others around the water cooler - a shared experience we can all be included in which creates a sense of belonging. We may feel that even if these beautiful people are out there, they can have absolutely awful dating disasters too, which makes us feel better - we can all relate.”
And, Audrey points out “as humans much of our dialogue is about others- analysing our reactions and theirs, and on Love Island you'll hear most conversations are about behaviour."
Twitter is full of viewers’ commentary about the various villa residents and their antics. From @chelseayoung568 tweeting “secretly rooting for Anna and Sherif, was NOT expecting it to work between them. But they’re so cute together” to @islandreactions posting an image captioned “me going to sleep worrying if Joe will be OK”, we do become invested in these relationships. Just like in real life dialogue with our friends, we dissect conversations and analyse the matchmaking.
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Mind Coach & TV Presenter, Anna Williamson (@annawilliamsonofficial), offers her opinion on 2019 being Love Island’s biggest year yet, saying “It’s normal for a TV show to take a couple of series to bed in, and Love Island has really built in phenomenon over the last few years. We are absolutely seeing it at its continued peak right now. It would seem that nothing can touch it.”
Anna continues, “The combination of sunshine, interesting and beautiful characters along with a general sense of nosiness and feelgood TV makes for an incredibly appealing show that transcends generations. It’s human nature for us to have opinions on each other, and the show is very much discussion evoking, although it generally doesn’t take too much to invest emotionally, making it great escapism television.
And with society today meaning our lives are so jampacked with daily pressures, that’s exactly what Love Island is to many - a lighthearted escape from reality.
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It can’t be ignored that the show has courted major controversy, namely because of a distinct lack of body diversity. Quite rightly, the death by suicide of previous contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis has also led to a debate about the vulnerability and mental health of those participating, highlighting how crucial responsible aftercare is.
When interviewed by GLAMOUR Website Editor Bianca London, show host Caroline Flack told us “We’ve stood for positivity from day one. We’re a show about love. There’s nothing more positive in the world than love.”
And to us here at GLAMOUR HQ, that’s the show’s appeal in a nutshell - the simple act of finding love. As well as charting that journey, Love Island will be covering the ups and downs for weeks to come. That intrigue about what’s in store for the contestants only adds to the anticipation. And as much as I hate the loud snogging sounds (and miss Dani Dyer terribly), I’ll be tuning in for the foreseeable too.