Love Island doesn't need Caroline Flack to survive
Caroline Flack has officially stood down as the host of Love Island series six, after she was charged with assault following a row with boyfriend Lewis Burton.
Caroline issued a statement reading: ‘Love Island has been my world for the last five years, it’s the best show on telly. In order to not detract attention from the upcoming series I feel the best thing I can do is to stand down for series six.
‘I want to wish the incredible team working on the show a fantastic series in Cape Town.’
Now, this must have been a pretty devastating decision for Caroline to make, but it was the only choice. While Caroline has yet to appear in court, ITV couldn’t send a star out to host a show about romance when she has been charged with assaulting her boyfriend, and these kinds of charges must be taken seriously.
But as a Love Island superfan, I don’t think Caroline’s absence will affect the show at all.
Caroline has hosted Love Island since its reboot in 2015, and has been the face of the show ever since.
But she’s hardly the life and soul of the series. On the first episode, sure, she has a role to play, guiding the first islanders in the initial coupling. But after that, honestly, what is the point? At least in the first series, she appeared in the opening credits and said ‘this summer, it’s survival of the fittest’. Now, a Love Island virgin might be a bit baffled when she eventually turns up.
A handful of times each series she swans over to Majorca to slow-mo walk into the villa and tell the islanders they need to recouple, or that an islander is about to be dumped. A job that is usually done by a text message.
The ‘Flack Attack’ as it’s called – a term which should be retired immediately – is meant to heighten the tension, but to me, the series of text messages to different phones as the islanders assemble around the firepit do a better job of creating drama.
‘I’ve got a text!’ has become an integral and iconic part of Love Island, way more loved than slow-mo entrances, and it’s because a phone and a set of beautiful islanders are all we need.
When we think of ‘Love Island star’, we think of people like Maura Higgins, Amber Gill, Ovie Soko – not the host. The villa residents take over our lives every summer and have us proclaiming: ‘I would take a bullet for you’ despite not having a clue of their existence a week prior.
Many of us tune into I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! for Ant and Dec, with their hysterical lines outshining the antics of the campmates. That’s why there was such worry over Ant being replaced by Holly Willoughby last year, when he took time off following his arrest for drink driving. But nobody watches Love Island for the host. It’s all about the islanders – and the voiceover of Iain Stirling, of course.
If Iain was forced to drop out of winter Love Island, it would seriously affect the show. His witty narration is as integral to the series as texts and mugginess, and a different narrator would hugely change how we watch Love Island. But he’s on every single episode. Caroline is there for the premiere and the finale and then rocks up three times to stand awkwardly at the firepit.
There are a number of names floating around to replace Caroline, and I think some of them would work very well. Maya Jama would be a big success. Laura Whitmore already hosted Survival Of The Fittest, which was basically Love Island with assault courses, and is in a relationship with Iain Stirling. Vick Hope, who provided the voiceover for Shipwrecked, could also be a great shout.
But does Love Island need a host at all? The first coupling could go off without a hitch if producers told the islanders what they need to do via a few text messages. Get Iain Stirling to announce the winner, and you’ve saved yourself a few bob without damaging the series.
Most shows need a big, solid name to steer the ship, but Love Island isn’t one of them. While ITV are probably scrambling right about now, there’s really no need to worry.
The strength of Love Island lies with the islanders – not the famous face in the trailer.
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