Maya Jama’s Love Island debut gets off to an awkward start as blundering Sky promote returning show with an image of former host Laura Whitmore
The television presenter, 37, stepped away from the ITV2 dating show last year, a role which she took on in 2020.
Meanwhile, new host Maya Jama has taken the reign – writing on her Instagram earlier on Monday: ‘hope I do you all proud’.
Awkward! Sky made an embarrassing blunder on Monday night as the TV channel used a picture of Laura Whitmore to promote the new Love Island
Oops! The television presenter, 37, stepped away from the ITV2 dating show last year, a role which she took on in 2020
Love Island returned to screens for its hotly-anticipated winter series on Monday January 16, three years after the ITV2 reality show last aired outside of its usual summer instalment.
The ninth series is being hosted for the first time by Maya, after Laura stepped down from the position following former presenter Caroline Flack’s tragic death in 2020.
Confessing she found flying back and forth from the Mallorca villa ‘very difficult’, Laura claimed she was only planning to fill in for Caroline for one series, emotionally saying that she hopes she did her late friend ‘proud’.
Alongside Love Island, she had been fronting sister programme Aftersun and had faced mixed reviews, with some viewers praising her handling of sensitive topics, while others criticised her for ‘encouraging slut-shaming’ in a segment which sparking 427 Ofcom complaints.
New host: Meanwhile, new host Maya Jama has taken the reign – writing on her Instagram earlier on Monday: ‘hope I do you all proud’.
The Irish presenter, joined back in 2020 and has hosted the hugely popular reality programme and its spin-off Aftersun for three series.
Laura – who is mother to a 16-month-old daughter with Love Island voiceover star Iain Sterling – took to her Instagram at the time to confirm she would be leaving, saying she has found flying back and forth from the villa ‘very difficult’.
Laura replaced Caroline Flack as the presenter of Love Island when she stood down in December 2019. Caroline tragically took her own life aged 40 in February 2020.
In her statement, Laura said she was only planning to fill in for Caroline for one series, emotionally saying that she hope she did her late friend ‘proud’.
Exit: Laura announced in August last year that she was quitting the show and would not be returning to host the next series of the ITV2 dating show (pictured in August 2022)
Taking to Instagram, Laura said: ‘Some news! I won’t be hosting the next series of Love island.
‘There are certain elements of the show I’ve found very difficult that cannot be changed some due to the format, including the flying back and forth to South Africa along with my new conflicting projects.
‘I wish it was still possible but know you’ll be in safe hands. I was only planning to fill in for Caroline for a series and it turned into 3 series. I hope I did you proud Caroline.’
Speaking of Laura’s exit, an ITV spokesperson said at the time: ‘Laura has been a fantastic host across the last three series of the show.
‘We are so grateful for everything she has brought to the programme but understand and respect her decision, and we look forward to working with her on upcoming ITV projects.’
Host: The Irish presenter, 37, joined Love Island back in 2020 and has hosted the hugely popular reality TV show for three series (pictured in August 2022)
Maya has presenting experience on shows such as Walk the Line and Soccer Aid.
Fellow presenter Vick Hope had also been in the running for the show.
Laura’s exit from the show came after she opened up about the ‘exhausting’ and ‘tough’ aspects of hosting Love Island.
She told the Distraction Pieces podcast: ‘With stuff with Love Island, it’s just a bit exhausting sometimes because some of the stuff is just mental.
Tribute: Laura said she was only planning to fill in for former host Caroline Flack (right) – who took her own life in February 2020 – for one series, saying she hope she did her late friend ‘proud’ (pictured in 2018)
‘As a host, this takes up not a huge amount of my time compared to my other work. It’s over eight weeks.
‘The host only comes on three or four times, it’s always been the way, but it gets the most attention. It’s a bit exhausting and it’s tough.’
The villa was revealed last month, with sources telling MailOnline the South African manor is the ‘best villa’ yet.
According to The Sun, the lavish mansion in South Africa boasts a zip line, 400m running track as well as both rugby and football pitches.
The supersized luxury eco-retreat boasts stunning mountain views and is nestled away in a ‘protected area’ in the heart of the Franschhoek wine valley in South Africa’s ‘millionaire row’.
ITV2 are said to be shelling out a reported £8,000 a day for exclusive use of the property, which is said to be owned by a triathlete couple.
Incredible! Love Island bosses have reportedly splashed out on a £1.2M villa which will see the contestants compete like Gladiators to win the show’s sportiest season yet