Love Island is back… and it’s as shallow as ever: CLAUDIA CONNELL’s view from the sofa

Love Island is back… and it’s as shallow as a mouse’s footbath: CLAUDIA CONNELL’s view from the sofa as the ultimate match-making show returns

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Let’s hope all the girls in this winter’s Love Island have teeny tiny Cinderella tootsies, because if they don’t, contestant Haris Namani won’t be looking their way.

‘I wouldn’t get with a girl who had over size five feet,’ said 21-year-old TV salesman Haris when asked for his ideal type.

Shaq Muhammad, 24, a security officer from London, wanted a girl who was hilariously funny with ‘nice eyes, nice lips and a good body’, while financial adviser Ron Hall, 25, from Essex – a ‘diamond in the rough’ – was looking for a ‘wifey for lifey’. But before he settled down with said ‘wifey’, he wanted to sample ‘all the flavours, whatever’s in front of me,’ in the villa.

Yes, folks, Love Island is back for the first of two series in 2023 and is still as reassuringly shallow as a mouse’s footbath.

Love Island is back for the first of two series in 2023 and is still as reassuringly shallow as a mouse’s footbath

Love Island is back for the first of two series in 2023 and is still as reassuringly shallow as a mouse’s footbath

For the next six weeks we can expect an endless parade of bikinis, boob jobs, six-packs and more dazzling-white Turkey teeth than you can shake a stick at.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the dating show has become something of a cultural phenomenon. The most watched series ever on ITVHub with more than 269 million streams, the format has been sold to 25 territories around the world.

Last night’s opener was Love Island’s second attempt at a winter series, the first in 2020 falling rather flat, arriving as it did just as the country was gripped by Covid panic.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the dating show has become something of a cultural phenomenon

 Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the dating show has become something of a cultural phenomenon

Rumour has it that when plans for a winter show were first mooted, producers toyed with the idea of basing the drama at a luxury chalet in a ski resort….until they realised the freezing temperatures would mean the contestants might occasionally need to wear some clothes. Instead, the action takes place at a villa in South Africa (not that you’d know since it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the summer one in Majorca).

The boys were the first to arrive and none of them giddier and more excited to be there than Will Young, 23, one of a new breed of cool farmers with big social media fanbases (Will already has a million followers on TikTok). He believed he would be a hit with the ladies because farming meant he was ‘strong and masculine’ but also had a ‘loving, caring, nurturing, wholesome vibe’.

Tanya Manhenga, 22, wearing false eyelashes that looked like they weighed more than she did is a biomedical science student from Liverpool

Tanya Manhenga, 22, wearing false eyelashes that looked like they weighed more than she did is a biomedical science student from Liverpool

The first five girls to enter included payroll administrator Anna-May Robey, 20, from Swansea, who revealed that she once talked so much on a date that the guy fell asleep at the table. Tanya Manhenga, 22, wearing false eyelashes that looked like they weighed more than she did is a biomedical science student from Liverpool and warned the boys: ‘I literally expect princess treatment, or no treatment at all.’

Last night the first five couples were formed, overseen by Maya Jama who takes over as the show’s presenter. Strutting into the house in a sprayed-on dress, it was clear that, never mind the contestants, she’s definitely the boys’ type.

Love Island’s return certainly made our Blue Monday a little more sky and a lot less navy

Love Island’s return certainly made our Blue Monday a little more sky and a lot less navy

After criticism for failing in its duty of care , ITV has made it clear that anyone taking part this year will get more counselling than Prince Harry on a bad day and receive training on everything from inclusive language and microaggressions to financial planning.

Those who need their TV viewing a little grittier were no doubt watching Silent Witness on BBC1. But for those who don’t mind a bit of low-brow fluff?

Well, Love Island’s return certainly made our Blue Monday a little more sky and a lot less navy.

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