Love Island 2021: What is Love Island and why is it so popular?

When summer hits in the UK, it’s difficult to avoid the topic of Love Island - the dating show that has achieved cult status among viewers, despite many controversies.

Love Island 2021: What is Love Island?
Love Island 2021: What is Love Island?

The British reality show typically starts in June and ends in August, and is incredibly popular among younger people.

So what is Love Island?

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Love Island is an ITV dating show that sees a number of young, conventionally attractive single people stay in a villa abroad together for around eight weeks.

The aim of the show is to ‘couple up’ with another single person - aside from the fact that many contestants claim they go on the show to find love, this is the only way to retain a place on the show.

In between various activities and parties, contestants must attend regular commitment ceremonies.

If they do not ‘couple up’ with any of the other contestants - essentially agree to be in a partnership with another contestant - at the commitment ceremonies, they will be sent home.

The current version of Love Island began in 2015, and was a revival of the original series, which aired on ITV for two series in 2005 and 2006.

While the original show starred celebrities, its newer incarnation features relatively unknown people - although the casting team are known for often choosing social media stars or the siblings of famous faces.

What is it famous for?

The show regularly spawns memes and Twitter trends among its dedicated followers.

It also has its own Love Island lingo, with many such words and phrases making their way into popular culture.

Among the most iconic are “my type on paper,” “mugged off”, “pied off,” “loyal,” “snakey,” and “it is what it is”.

Love Island is also known for substantially increasing its stars’ social media followings, meaning that many of them bag lucrative collaborations and turn into full-time influencers when they leave the show.


The series has produced a huge amount of controversy, particularly around the effect of the show on contestants’ mental health.

After three people who had appeared on the show were found to have died by suicide, there were calls for it to be taken off air.

Former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis were both found to have died by suicide after appearing on Love Island.

Its long-time presenter Caroline Flack died by suicide in February 2020.

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