It’s back. Love Island, everyone’s some people’s ITV2 guilty pleasure, is here with a debut winter edition.
If you were tuning in hoping for a change of scenery, though, you’ll largely have been disappointed by Sunday night’s opening episode. There wasn’t a puffer jacket or flask full of hot chocolate in sight; instead we had the usual bikinis, water-filled branded bottles and slow-motion shots galore.
Admittedly a couple of things have changed. Instead of the usual Mallorca setting, the winter contestants are staying in a goliath Cape Town villa. Apparently it’s a bit warmer in South Africa than Spain at the moment or something.
The other much less noticeable alteration is that presenter Caroline Flack is gone, too, after allegedly assaulting her boyfriend last month.
In her place is Laura Whitmore, who chose to couple up with the show’s narrator Iain Stirling a few years ago.
Indeed, the concept remains the same: £50,000 is up for grabs for the winning couple, as voted for by the public in the final of the show, to share (or steal!). It’s currently 8/1 that one of the winning finalists will become the first in the show’s brief history to steal the money for themselves, with a noble split of the money clearly expected at 1/20.
We already have our first five couples in with a chance, but much can change along the way, of course.
First to be paired together were Nas Majeed, who no one stepped forward for, and brunette Siannise Fudge (what a name!), who he chose anyway. Siannise may well be taller than him and has openly expressed she doesn’t fancy him.
Unsurprisingly, they’re currently 40/1 to win the show as a couple.
Up next was builder Callum Jones, who had more luck than Nas, with Siannise and Shaughna Phillips both stepping forward to express an initial attraction for him. He decided not to be nasty to Nas and sided with Shaughna, who seems smitten already. Callum, who is from Greater Manchester, expressed concerns to the boys that he’s generally found north/south banter to be different but, so far, that hasn’t been the case with Essex girl Shaughna.
They’re currently the bookmakers’ favourite to share the winter crown at 6/1.
Ollie Jones was next to receive brutal rejection; apparently animal killers whose occupation is being heir to Lanhydrock aren’t particularly popular these days. Who knew?! In possibly the least popular Love Island couple of all-time, he chose to pair up with Lewis Capaldi’s ex-girlfriend Paige Turley, who allegedly cheated on the popular Scottish singer and inspired the track ‘Someone You Loved’.
Somehow, the bookmakers have Ollie and Paige as more likely to win than Siannise and Nas at 33/1. In other words, if you bet £1 on them, you’ll lose £1.
Connor Durman, a coffee bean salesman who is hilariously the doppelganger of Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, chose to couple up with Sophie Piper, who is less hilariously the spitting image of her sister Rochelle Humes, former singer in The Saturdays.
Those veneers looked bloody brilliant from a distance and Firmino loves scoring away from home so it was no surprise to see Connor do well. You never know with Love Island, but these two definitely shared natural chemistry and even body contact in a cosy exchange and may well have legs at 8/1.
Lastly we had policeman Mike Boateng, who arrived in a tropical two-piece which gained Laura Whitmore’s seal of approval. He paired up with former Miss Ghana UK contestant Leanne Amaning. At 25/1, the bookmakers don’t appear to believe Mike will have Leanne in handcuffs any time soon.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Sorry, I thought I was writing about I’m A Celebrity, then. No no, there’s genuine drama on Love Island.
The couples hadn’t even spent their first night in bed together before blonde twins Eve and Jess Gale were sent in to turn heads.
They’re both 8/1 to finish as the top female as part of a winning couple.
The 20-year-olds revealed they’d never fought over a guy in their young lives, shortly before receiving a text confirming they will steal the guy of their choice in 24 hours. I wonder what will happen next…