ITV boss defends 'Love Island' despite more than 35,000 Ofcom complaints

Love Island's 2021 original cast line-up (ITV)
Love Island's 2021 original cast line-up (ITV)

Love Island has been defended by ITV boss Kevin Lygo despite the record number of complaints made about this series.

The ITV2 reality show — which sees singletons holed up in a luxury Mallorca villa for five weeks as they look for love — ended on Monday with 2.8 million viewers tuning in.

However, across the series, a number of moments sparked backlash online, resulting in more than 35,000 complaints to watchdog Ofcom.

Read more: Molly-Mae Hague says she's spent time 'removing herself' from 'Love Island' stereotype

Undeterred, Lygo insists the numbers are due to the easiness it is to complain, rather than what it is people are complaining about, and promises the show has ‘years’ ahead of it.

Faye Winter's screaming tirade at Teddy Soares resulted in thousands of complaints (ITV)
Faye Winter's screaming tirade at Teddy Soares resulted in thousands of complaints (ITV)

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Fest, he said: “The thing about complaints these days is every week there is a new most-complained-about show. It’s very easy now to complain, it wasn’t so long ago you had to go to the post office and get a stamp and now it’s the click of a button.”

“I’m not so much worried about how many complain as what they are complaining about,” he continued.

“With duty of care, I think improvements across the board have been made and we are the gold standard, Ofcom took our recommendations and made them what should be done.”

Read more: 'Love Island' star Priya subjected to 'unacceptable' racist abuse

“The ratings go up when there is a bit of conflict and it is an area where you have to take a bit of editorial judgment,” he acknowledged.

“I think generally speaking they get the tone right, people do shout at other people, as long as it’s not physically threatening.”

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 23: Kevin Lygo, Director of Television ITV, at the Edinburgh TV Festival, on August 23, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ken Jack/Getty Images)
Kevin Lygo, Director of Television ITV (Ken Jack/Getty Images)

The most notable complained about moment of the 2021 series was a row in which Faye Winter screamed at Teddy Soares, when she was shown a video of him admitting his attraction to another islander.

The blazing argument, which went on throughout an entire evening, caused more than 25,000 complaints alone.

Read more: Love Island USA contestant leaves show after learning of his sister's death

For comparison, 2020’s series only resulted in a total of 1,125 complaints, with 2019 earning more at 2,837.

But Lygo is assured of the show’s future while acknowledging the series may need to be ‘spiced up’ somehow to keep viewers interested.

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Love Island 2021 ended on Friday after five weeks (ITV)

“I don’t think it has peaked, this is a pattern that you see when new programmes come along and they are huge phenomenons,” he said.

“On catch-up it’s the best performing show, it’s all in the catch-up now, which is done quite quickly because there is a new one coming.

“There is many years left in it and the challenge thrown down to producer - and through a pandemic they managed to make a daily show for two months - is to spice it up a bit.”

Love Island is available on catch-up on ITV Player and BritBox.