Three million crack on and tune in for return of Love Island on ITV2

Three million people tuned in to watch a new batch of young people attempt to find romance in the sun with the return of Love Island, ITV has said.

The eagerly anticipated return of the dating show gave ITV2 its biggest audience of the year so far.

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The debut outing on Monday night saw five boys and five girls enter the villa and couple up, before they were told a last-minute addition will also join them.

The group received a voice note from new arrival Chloe Burrows, inviting the boys to join her on a date, before she chooses someone to couple up with, leaving another girl single.

The ITV dating show returned to television screens on Monday for the first time since the winter series in 2020 after it was cancelled last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Monday’s episode began with the contestants arriving in batches as they got acquainted with their fellow islanders and new living environment before the coupling up began.

After all the women had arrived, the men were brought in one by one to pick an islander to form a pair with.

Before they made their decision, each of the female contestants was given the opportunity to step forwards to express an interest in the new arrival.

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Semi-professional footballer Toby Aromolaran is coupled with fashion blogger Kaz Kamwi and events host Aaron Francis is paired with model Shannon Singh.

Water engineer Jake Cornish is in a couple with waitress and student Liberty Poole, while PE teacher Hugo Hammond is with civil servant Sharon Gaffka.

Lettings manager Faye Winter paired with labourer Brad McClelland.

None of the women had stepped forward for Hugo and Toby, while Faye had previously been paired with both men.

Shannon expressed her disappointment with Aaron during the episode, saying she was “struggling” to hit it off with him.

“I think he’s amazing, he’s lovely to look at, he’s a lovely, lovely guy, but a lot of the other guys have got banter, they’ve got chat, they’re funny,” she said.

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Sharon also criticised Hugo after being coupled up with him, saying he is a “bit shy” and not her type.

The islanders also had to complete a number of raunchy tasks which included kissing,

The episode offered a first look at the revamped filming location in Mallorca, which featured a large infinity pool, panoramic views and aubergine emoji wall decorations.

Shortly before the start of Love Island, ITV tweeted to say its streaming platform was experiencing technical difficulties, while many viewers posted to say they were having trouble watching the programme online.

Love Island continues on ITV2 and ITV Hub.