It's a bit of a weird concept, isn't it? But at a Royal Television Society conference featuring a panel of senior ITV2 staff, including presenter Caroline Flack, it was revealed that Love Island producers used Tinder to scout contestants for the new series, reports The Mirror. Yes, really.
Speaking at the event, executive producer Tom Gould told audience members that his team spent a lot of time "matchmaking" via the app and meeting "a lot of very good-looking people". But why use online dating I hear you ask? Because let's face it, this rather unusual method does sound a little odd — imagine swiping right on Tinder only to discover you're actually connecting to the people behind Love Island. Talk about a catfish.
But what is super fascinating is the reason behind it. Senior producer Angela Jain explained that show bosses decided to adopt this new approach because they were determined not to rehash scenarios and personalities that fans have seen in previous years. "We don’t want to cast the same characters every time, we aren’t looking for the next Camilla [Thurlow] or the next Montana [Brown]. That is the opposite of what we’re looking for," she said. And that is where the use of Tinder came into play.
Of course, this is not a tried and tested method. As far as we know, scouting potential islanders on dating apps has never been done before — and given some of the Tinder date horror stories I've heard, producers may just get more than they bargained for. But this isn't the first time show bosses have used some creative methods to find their perfect line-up. Last year, producers sent scouts into nightclubs, searched social media high and low, and even approached people at body building exhibitions in the bid to find islanders.
In fact, Montana Brown of the 2017 series told Digital Spy she had been asked to do the show twice: "I got approached in a club, which was quite weird because I wasn't expecting [ITV] to be in there! After I turned them down, we kept in touch and this year they asked me back and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to do it.'" Meanwhile, early 2017 island dumpee Harley Judge told the same publication he thought members of the casting crew were queue-jumpers at an event. "I was working at Body Power Expo at the time and I was actually quite rude to [the casting team]," he said. "I thought they were trying to push in line so I said to them, 'Look, you're going to have to go to the back of the queue, mate and stop pushing in' — the queues were about three hours long!"
So what is it that show bosses are actually looking for when it comes to finding the perfect islander? According to casting producer Lewis Evans, it's "interesting, engaging personalities", not just looks. During an interview with Cosmopolitan, he explained that he was after individuals who were "readily looking for love" but also with a "strong social media presence". He added: "It's always important that anyone coming onto the show is open to finding the girl or guy of their dreams."
This year's Love Island stars are actually already in Majorca ahead of the big launch. But their identities are being kept a closely guarded secret until the series starts (not too long to go now). Fans will obviously be hoping that producers have managed to find new islanders that can match the charisma of last year's cast (Kem Cetinay, Chris Hughes, and Olivia Attwood were so our type on paper). But given that ITV staff are after something completely different, will they be able to deliver?
One thing's for sure, given the odd lengths producers went to last year and even stranger tactics they used this series, it'll be interesting to see what concoctions they conjure up to find the 2018 cast. In the end though, it is Love Island so fans will be hooked regardless — Tinder or no Tinder.
If you want to catch up with Love Island, the first two series are streaming on Netflix.