As Love Island’s most successful series ever draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect upon what this means for the future of reality TV. As well as other important questions, such as how Alex the Doctor managed to remain permanently sunburnt for 8 weeks and when are Jack and Dani going to get married?
In an age of high-end big budget drama, you could be fooled into thinking viewers are now too sophisticated to care for noughties-style reality TV. After all, we really have the pick of the bunch. PSBs are producing high-quality programming across the board, foreign dramas have finally hit the mainstream, and we have a wealth of critically acclaimed content at our fingertips thanks to the explosion of streaming services. The UK audience has never been so high brow, right? Wrong.
Love Island is one of the cleverest formats around. It plays on the simple idea that humans take great pleasure in observing other humans interacting. It’s so unbelievably simple and crosses any kind of cultural boundaries. All you need is a villa in a sunny climate, fill it with young, toned singletons and you have the recipe for a long hot summer of drama. Some viewers may lament the extent to which producers can manipulate the contestants. In truth, it would be far less entertaining without this element of control. At the click of their fingers producers can effectively spark a flame inside the villa, while we sit back and watch the drama unfold. The potential for this format to sell around the world is huge, with new commissions recently announced in Denmark, Finland and Norway, as only a few examples of its global appeal.
It’s about time entertainment and reality formats regained their former glory and returned appointment viewing to the norm. They have a unique power to unite people of all ages and backgrounds who are swept up in the wave of escapism and fun, providing welcome respite from the reality of these uncertain and politically divisive times.
Remember when Big Brother was the only thing people would talk about? Well now, over a decade later, that’s Love Island. The golden age of reality TV has returned, and I for one am very excited to see what’s next.
By Eve Edmunds, Senior Account Executive, Franklin Rae