Sunday’s episode of Love Island pulled after Caroline Flack’s death
Love Island will not air on Sunday night following the death of its former presenter Caroline Flack, but the current series will continue.
Flack was found dead at the age of 40 at her home in east London on Saturday, after taking her own life.
Saturday night’s highlights edition of the ITV2 dating show was pulled, and there has been speculation about whether the rest of the series would air.
It has now been confirmed that although it will not be on tonight, Love Island will be back on Monday, with a tribute to Flack.
An ITV spokesperson said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection.
“All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.
“After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the Love Island production team and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death we have decided not to broadcast tonight’s Love Island out of respect for Caroline’s family.
“Love Island will return tomorrow night which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”
Flack’s family confirmed that she died on Saturday, adding in a statement: “We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us.”
The shock news prompted a flood of tributes from celebrities but also questions about the decision to press ahead with prosecuting Flack for her alleged assault on boyfriend Lewis Burton, as well as the pressures faced by TV celebrities from the press and social media.
Flack, who was described as “vulnerable” by her management, stepped down from presenting the current winter series of Love Island after she was alleged to have assaulted Burton at her then-flat in Islington, north London, in December.
She entered a not guilty plea to the assault charge at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court and was released on bail, with conditions that stopped her having contact with her boyfriend ahead of a trial in March.
In a statement released on Saturday night, her management company criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pressing ahead with what it called her “show trial” even after her boyfriend said he did not support it.
Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: “In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.
“The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.
“The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest.
“And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”
Talent agent Jonathan Shalit told BBC Radio 5’s Stephen Nolan that Flack received “more negative press than a terrorist or a paedophile” over the trial.
“These people might be famous, but they’re still vulnerable individuals,” Mr Shalit added.
By Sunday evening, an online petition calling for a Government inquiry into “the practices and policies of mainstream media organisations and social media platforms in their efforts to protect members of the public from harm” had more than 191,000 signatures.
The tragedy has put the spotlight back on the pressures which come with TV celebrity.
Flack is the fourth person linked to the ITV2 dating programme to have killed themselves.
Sophie Gradon, who was a contestant in 2016, was found dead at her home in 2018 at the age of 32.
Her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, who had found her body, killed himself three weeks later. He was 25.
Mike Thalassitis, who appeared in the 2017 series, was 26 when he was found dead in a park in March last year.
Tributes to Flack poured in after her death, with Burton saying that his “heart is broken”.
He said in an emotional message on Instagram that he would now be Flack’s “voice” and would “get all the answers”.
Beside a picture of them together, he wrote: “My heart is broken we had something so special.
“I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking.”
Burton, 27, added: “I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday.
“I love you with all my heart.”
Flack’s former X Factor colleague Dermot O’Leary said he had “candles lit” in her memory, and her Love Island colleague Iain Stirling, the programme’s narrator, shared a video of Flack from a performance on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 and wrote: “Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven. I will miss her always. Thank you for everything x.”
Laura Whitmore, who replaced Flack as Love Island host for the latest series, tweeted “I’m trying to find the words but I can’t”, followed by a broken heart emoji.
An ITV spokeswoman said: “Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news.
“Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends.”