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Love Island 2023: “Production plant” claims, bringing back ex-Islanders and driving drama

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Comment

12 months ago

The current season of ITV’s Love Island is one of the best since the glory days of the show’s first few seasons. There’s only really been one filler episode, as each episode brings the drama. Has there been a line as iconic as the last season’s “You are a liar, an actress, go the f*ck out”? Not yet, but surely there will be in due time. As Twitter user Faridah commented: “The Season 10 Love Island producer needs to come out at the end so we can give them a standing ovation.”

While it was reported just 1.3 million people watched the premiere episode (down one million on 2022), the show’s host Maya Jama argued three million viewers tuned in across all devices. To arguably make up for the poor viewing numbers of the 2023 winter season, ITV’s production team is working overtime to ensure it provides an entertaining series, including bringing back season two contestant Kady McDermott and the controversial decision to bring back dumped Islander Molly Marsh. Not to mention, the smoothest transition to Casa Amor viewers have ever seen by having Ne-Yo take the girls to the new villa.

This isn’t the first time the show has brought back an ex-Islander (Adam Collard returned last summer and two of the Love Island Australia contestants joined the UK 2023 winter series) but this is the first time a dumped Islander has been brought back by producers for the same season, just a mere week later. In season three, two dumped Islanders were voted back into the villa by the public (though neither made the final) – but at least people had a choice.

One of the delightful surprises this year was when McDermott chose to couple up with Marsh’s partner Zachariah Noble, shocking everyone when Marsh was immediately sent home. Only now she’s back, as a Casa Amor contestant. Production seemingly wanted to cause drama by having her return, but as she reunites and begins to form a relationship once again with Noble, it’s boring.

It’s an incredibly unfair advantage for Marsh to return, since she has been in the outside world, appeared on Love Island: Aftersun, had her phone back and knows the public’s perception of her and the other contestants. She can now change her behaviour to ensure viewers favour her when it comes to public voting. As presenter Will Njobvu stated, it’s “the most privileged position any Islander (in the show’s history) can be in”.

Producers could have brought back any of the other dumped Islanders (such as Ruchee Gurung, André Furtado, Mal Nicol or Mehdi Edno) who had unfinished business or connections to explore but instead ITV is fuelling the rumours that Marsh is a producer plant – her mum is Coronation Street’s Janet Marsh.

The twist of bringing back a contestant would have been excellent had it been anyone else but Marsh. While seeing the boys’ reactions to her walking back into the villa was priceless, there’s been no drama. People – this writer included – are understandably annoyed. Not their best move. As Twitter user Tasha Louise was quick to point out, her return was not as good as when Malin Andersson confronted Terry Walsh in series two. So far Casa Amor has been dull and people such as prolific Love Island commentator Septimus Prime are blaming Marsh.

Love Island is in its tenth season, to be fair, it’s past its prime but that doesn’t mean it’s not still entertaining and the show of the summer. But with other juicy dating shows such as Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle and The Ultimatum or BBC’s I Kissed A Boy captivating audience’s attention throughout the year, ITV needs to continue to put on its grafting boots to ensure this is a can’t-miss season of Love Island. And so far, it’s working.

By Caroline Edwards, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: Love Island via Instagram