The first ever winter series of Love Island kicked off on Sunday night, with Laura Whitmore making her debut as host Caroline Flack’s replacement.
And the inaugural episode most certainly delivered on the drama, with two boys (Ollie Williams and Nas Majeed) failing to impress any of the girls, and blonde twins Eve and Jess Gale making a late bombshell arrival.
After much anticipation, the boys were seen filing into the Cape Town, South Africa, villa to decide who they wanted to attempt a love connection with – but not before the girls showed their interest by stepping forward.
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Awkward! The first ever winter edition of Love Island saw an awkward start to proceedings on Sunday night, when none of the girls stepped forward for Nas Majeed. He eventually opted to couple up with Siânnise Fudge
Nas was the first of the boys to suffer the indignation, when he led the pack meeting the girls, but received no interest from any of the bikini-clad beauties standing before him.
While Siânnise Fudge explained that it was ‘too early’ for her to commit to any of the boys, she added: ‘I’m not too sure about the shorts.’
When asked why she opted against stepping forward, Sophie Piper explained: ‘I just feel like I’m so tall. I’m not even joking.’
Drama: Twins Eve and Jess Gale added to the drama of the night, when they were introduced after the first round of coupling
New arrival: The first ever winter series of Love Island kicked off on Sunday night, with Larua Whitmore making her debut as host Caroline Flack’s replacement
Despite the lack of interest shown to him, Nas decided to couple up with Siânnise, who made it clear that she wasn’t attracted to the builder.
Meanwhile, Ollie – who counts Prince Charles among his well-heeled neighbours – found himself suffering the same fate, when he stepped out but failed to muster up any interest.
In an attempt to placate the situation, Sophie joked: ‘I actually haven’t got my glasses on, so that that might be one of the reasons,’ before adding: ‘I like more dark features.’
In the end, he opted to couple up with Paige Turley, who soon complained to her fellow contestants that she wasn’t attracted to Ollie and had mentally ‘friendzoned’ him.
They’ve arrived! Series 6 of the ITV2 show takes place in a stunning South African villa, and the gorgeous ladies were the first to get a glimpse of it
Once the couples – voluntary and otherwise – were picked, the final tally stood as Nas and Siânnise, Callum Jones and Shaughna Phillips, Ollie and Paige, Connor Durman and Sophie Piper, and Mike Boateng and Leanne Amaning.
However, soon after the tanned and toned reality TV hopefuls settled into their new couples, the boat was immediately rocked with the surprise arrival of twins Jess and Eve Gale.
While the boys were thrilled as the blonde beauties, 20, made their entrance carrying bottles of champagne, some of the ladies in the villa were left fuming.
Nas received the first text of the series sending shockwaves through the villa as he read to the surprised islanders: ‘It’s time to really get the party started as two very important guests are about to arrive #doubletrouble #twiceasnice #gameon.’
As rumours swirled among the islanders about whether it’ll be girls or boys, twins Jess and Eve made their surprise entrance into the villa and the other girls were not one bit impressed as everyone had already coupled up.
In the beach hut, Shaughna admitted: ‘I was really trying so hard not to look fuming. I was trying so hard not to look bothered.’
Meanwhile, Siânnise added that may struggle telling Jess and Eve apart, saying: ‘There’s no way I can tell those twins apart. They’re identical, they look exactly the same.’
Reflecting on their arrival in the Beach Hut, Nas, 23, said: ‘I actually couldn’t believe it. Twins – what a bombshell!’
Mike was thrilled with their arrival, saying: ‘Twice is definitely nice, you know what I mean?’ while Callum added: ‘Double trouble!’
While the setting for the winter edition of the show has been changed from its Mallorca to South Africa, all of the familiar elements are still in place.
After making their entrance into the pristine villa aboard open-top SUVs, the girls bonded while discussing their ideal men – ahead of the boys arriving for the first ever coupling of the series.
After taking in their jaw-dropping surroundings, the girls – Shaughna, Sophie, Leanne, Siânnise and Paige – started to get to know each other and talk soon turned to boys.
When asked what she’s looking for the in the villa, Shaughna said: ‘The opposite of what I attract really – the cocky know-it-alls. They sell you the dream.’
Delving further into her dating history, she continued: ‘For some reason, I always go for plumbers. Every time I tell my mum and she’s like, “Yes!” because anytime she’s got a leak she knows she won’t have to pay for it.’
Single ladies: Spoiler pictures for the Love Island launch showed reveal the moment the girls came face-to-face with the boys for the very first time
Agreeing with Shaughna’s choice of men, Leanne said: ‘I like a builder’, while Siânnise agreed: ‘A bit of rough and ready!’
Paige commented: ‘I could not have someone with smoother legs, or better eyebrows, I’d be like, no.’
Meanwhile, Sophie, the sister of TV presenter Rochelle Humes, gave her verdict of her ideal guy, stating: ‘I want someone who is tall, tanned.
‘I feel like I’m the tallest out of all you girls. Just someone who is funny, someone who’s got a bit about them.’
And the stunner was quick to state what she didn’t want in a man, adding: ‘Someone who’s short!’
Reading the rules: ‘Then the boy will decide which of you gorgeous ladies he’s going to couple up with. Simple as that. So are we ready to meet our first boy? I am!’
As the girls continued chatting, brand new host Laura arrived in the villa and promptly gathered the girls for a chat around the famous fire pit.
The Irish beauty wasted no time in quizzing the girls about their types on paper, with Paige, the former girlfriend of Lewis Capaldi, declaring: ‘It sounds so cliché, tall dark and handsome.’
After being asked if she’d ever been in love, Leanne admitted: ‘No never, not even a little bit. I’ve got a phobia, but I’m here to cure it.’
Her type: When asked what she’s looking for the in the villa, Shaughna said: ‘The opposite of what I attract really – the cocky know-it-alls. They sell you the dream’
With the ladies having got themselves comfortable in the villa, Laura decided to shake things up and introduce the boys.
She declared: ‘Well I don’t know about you ladies, but I think it’s time we meet the boys. Come with me!’
The girls then lined up as Laura explained: ‘Girls, it’s time to couple up. The boys are going to come in one by one. If you like what you see, take a step forward.
‘Then the boy will decide which of you gorgeous ladies he’s going to couple up with. Simple as that. So are we ready to meet our first boy? I am!’
Laura reminded the girls that even if they had coupled up, they could still choose to step forward when a new boy arrived. And the boys could choose a girl, even if she was coupled up.
The lads – Nas, Mike, Ollie, Connor and Callum – then filed in one by one, showcasing their rippling torsos as they did so.
Ready to mingle: After mingling in the villa, the girls discussed their ideal man. However, it was the boys that got to do the choosing in the very first coupling of the series
On the hunt: Meanwhile, Sophie, the sister of TV presenter Rochelle Humes, gave her verdict of her ideal guy, stating: ‘I want someone who is tall, tanned
And that’s not the end of the surprises as another text arrives, revealing an exciting twist.
Last year, boxer Tommy Fury and dancer Curtis Pritchard set hearts racing when they surprised the villa at the end of the first episode after the girls had already coupled up.
Hours before the show’s return, Caroline Flack broke her social media silence to wish her Love Island replacement Laura Whitmore ‘good luck’.
On Sunday, the embattled host, 40 – who last shared a post on her Instagram on Christmas Eve – wrote: ‘Massive good luck to Laura, Iain [Stirling] and the team for tonights launch show… the first one always the best one. Caroline x’ [sic]
The presenter stood down from being the face of the show in December as she was charged for common assault following a fight with her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27.
The ITV star has spent time away from the spotlight and her relationship drama in Los Angeles.
In late December, Caroline appeared in court over the incident with her beau – where a judge heard she hit the former tennis player over the head with a lamp while he slept – days after news of her replacement broke.
The court was told she read texts on Lewis’ phone that made her think he was cheating on her before the alleged attack.
Caroline – who pleaded not guilty at Highbury Magistrates’ Court – was released on bail until her trial on March 4.
Following the hearing, the media personality insisted she won’t ‘not be silenced’ in a bold social media post shared on December 24.
Uploading an old image of herself on the red carpet, she wrote: ‘Been advised not to go on social media … but I wanted to say happy Christmas to everyone who has been so incredibly kind to me this year.
‘This kind of scrutiny and speculation is a lot to take on for one person to take on their own… I’m a human being at the end of the day and I’m not going to be silenced when I have a story to tell and a life to keep going with.
‘I’m taking some time out to get feeling better and learn some lessons from situations I’ve got myself into to.I have nothing but love to give and best wishes for everyone.’ [sic]
Bosses recently confirmed the ‘door is still open’ for the former X Factor host to return to Love Island amid her charge.
Love Island commissioning editor Amanda told The Mirror: ‘We are continuing to talk to Caroline. We are in constant contact and the door is open.’
An ITV spokesperson confirmed to MailOnline: ‘ITV has a long standing relationship with Caroline and we understand and accept her decision. We will remain in contact with her over the coming months about future series of Love Island.’
Ahead her debut, Irish beauty Laura admitted that her dream role as Love Island’s new presenter has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding predecessor Caroline’s arrest.
‘It’s not a great situation at all,’ she said. ‘It’s not ideal and Caroline has been incredible. She messaged me before ITV contacted me and said that she really hoped I got the role.
‘She said, “I know how much of a fan you are of the show”. I just thought that was so lovely. I’m so happy to do the show, but I just wish it was in a different situation.’
Laura reflected on her role after flying to South Africa’s Cape Town, where she will introduce 12 new contestants from a sprawling new villa on the outskirts of the coastal city.
And she admits her first priority was to contact Caroline personally after being approached for the coveted presenting job.
She recalled: ‘I think when they first had that conversation, I said, ‘If I do get offered this, can I talk to Caroline before it goes to the press or anything like that?’
Of the initial approach, Laura admits she was shell-shocked after her agent called her as she prepared to fly home for her mother’s birthday.
‘It was just before Christmas and I was going to go back to Ireland up to Edinburgh for work up there, then back to London and back to Ireland again,’ she said.
‘I was flying to Dublin and my agent called and said that ITV would like to with me in the next few hours. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m at the airport’.
‘He was like, “What are you doing at the airport?” I was like “Err, it’s my mum’s birthday”. And then I said, “Let me just ring my mum first”, so I did and she was like, “I can see you at Christmas, don’t worry about it!”‘
While Caroline epitomised Love Island prior to her abrupt departure, Laura believes boyfriend and show narrator Iain’s off-beat, irreverent humour is what sustains it as she prepares to work with him for the very first time.
‘Iain is the heart of this show, his humour and what he does with it is basically what the general public are like watching the show,’ she explained.
‘Everyone is like, ‘what is it like to work together?’ But I get to be in the villa, he’s in a voice-over booth. He’s been ringing me up asking what it’s like, what’s Cape Town like, what’s the hotel like and what’s the villa like.
‘He’s worked on this for so many series, but I can kind of like be giving him some [information] It’s a weird situation. We’re just going to see how it goes.’
A self-confessed Love Island super-fan, the star stated that she plans to adopt the same motherly, protective approach as her predecessor when in the villa.
Time to couple up: The first coupling of season then took place, but it remains to be seen who paired up with who
Already closely associated with the show through comedian boyfriend Iain, Laura revealed she’s previously offered support to one former Islander after watching her leave with a broken heart.
‘Last year, Amy Hart when she came out, there was that episode where she was incredible,’ she recalled.
‘I was in Majorca visiting Iain and I was at the airport flying back and I bumped into her. I was starstruck and went up to her and said, ‘I just want to say what you did was incredible’.
‘But I didn’t realise she hadn’t spoken to anyone since she came out or even really seen the reaction.
‘I gave her a hug and when I saw her afterwards she told me I had no idea what that meant to her. She didn’t know everyone was on her side, and it was nice for her to see that. It’s impossible not to be attached.’
She added: ‘I think we forget that they’re real people. We’re watching it as a show, but it’s not Coronation Street – these people are real and their emotions are real.
‘I remember last year, Molly-Mae broke down in tears and collapsed because Tommy didn’t come back with anyone from Casa Amor, and you just become attached.
‘So I think you’d have to be very cold to not become attached or protective. I haven’t met them yet, so I haven’t had that experience of seeing stuff in papers and being in there as well. It’s only natural that you will have that motherly (instinct).’
Laura arrived knowing full well that fans will be keenly judging her as Caroline’s replacement, and has already been approached by complete strangers with messages of support – making the prospect of stepping in as presenter an even more daunting one.
She added: ‘The whole thing just feels intimidating because it’s such a huge show, and I’m a huge fan and I know it so well. When I was on the plane coming over, the lovely air hostess woke me up and she said, “Good luck with the show!” Then I was at the hotel and an older guy came up to me and said, “I love the show, good luck!”
‘It’s such a big show that everyone knows you’re doing it. The show itself, I’m like, “Oh, I can do this. I’ve worked in TV a while”, but then so many people love this show so much. I just want to do it justice and just be me.’
Love Island continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV2.
Love match: Will the new couples remain loyal and stand the test of time? Or will heads be turned at the very first opportunity?
Girl talk: The Irish beauty, 34, wasted no time in quizzing the girls about their types on paper
Shake it up: With the ladies having got themselves comfortable in the villa, Laura decided to shake things up and introduce some of the boys
Bring in the boys! She declared: ‘Well I don’t know about you ladies, but I think it’s time we meet the boys. Come with me!’
Time to choose: The girls then lined up as Laura explained: ‘Girls, it’s time to couple up. The boys are going to come in one by one. If you like what you see, take a step forward
Here come the boys! The lads – Nas, Mike, Ollie, Connor and Callum – then filed in one by one, showcasing their rippling torsos as they did so
First meeting: Laura reminded the girls that even if they had coupled up, they could still choose to step forward when a new boy arrived. And the boys could choose a girl, even if she was coupled up
Warm gesture: Caroline Flack (L) broke her social media silence to wish her Love Island replacement Laura Whitmore (R) ‘good luck’, hours before the winter series kicked off
Best wishes: On Sunday, the host, 40, wrote: ‘Massive good luck to Laura, Iain [Stirling] and the team for tonights launch show… the first one always the best one. Caroline x’ [sic]
Former co-stars: The ITV star also expressed her appreciation towards voiceover artist Iain Stirling (pictured in 2017), who is in a long-term relationship with Laura, 34
Hard times: The presenter was charged for common assault following a fight with her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27 (pictured in October)
Speaking out: The blonde last shared a post on her Instagram on Christmas Eve – when she insisted she will ‘not be silenced’
New role: Ahead her debut, Irish beauty Laura admits her role as Love Island’s new presenter has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding predecessor Caroline’s arrest
Almost time: The new host revealed that her predecessor was ‘incredible’ and contacted her before ITV got in touch offering the gig
Caring: Laura will adopt the same motherly, protective approach as her predecessor when the villa finally opens its doors
Couple: Her new role means Laura will be working with beau Iain, who she called ‘heart of this show’
WINTER LOVE ISLAND 2020: MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Pop star sibling: Sophie’s sister is Rochelle Humes
Name: Sophie Piper
Occupation: Medical PA
Claim to fame? Half-sister of The Saturdays star-turned-TV presenter Rochelle Humes.
Celebrity crush? ‘Anthony Joshua. Whenever I see him fight, I yell, “Come on, use your right hook!” I have no idea what I’m talking about.’
What song sums up your love life? ‘All By Myself by Celine Dion – that’s how it feels at the moment!’
Twinning: Love Island are instaling twins into the villa this year
Names: Eve and Jess Gale
Occupation: VIP hostesses and students
Claim to fame? [Eve] ‘Tyga, Kylie Jenner’s ex, messaged me. We were both at an event and I posted an Instagram story tagging him. He then messaged me afterwards and we spoke on WhatsApp. Then when me and Jess were in Ibiza, he was there again. He asked me to meet him but we arrived the day he left. Pop Smoke, the R‘n’B rapper, messaged me too.’
Party Trick: ‘We are the party trick!’
Land and gentry: Ollie believes that he ‘bosses the room wherever he goes’
Name: Ollie Williams
Occupation: Heir to the Lanhydrock
Claim to fame? ‘My father is Lord of the Manor of Lanhydrock. The family title is Viscount Clifden. When my father passes away or abdicates, as the eldest child, I will take on the titles and the estate.’
Dating disasters? Once got cat-fished by a 50-year-old man.
No no no! Shaughna won’t put up with f**kboys [anymore!]
Name: Shaughna Phillips
Occupation: Democratic services officer
Best feature? ‘My lips. I spent enough money on them!’
Celebrity crush? ‘[Love Island 2018 winner] Jack Fincham is a bit of me on toast!’
Dating disasters? ‘Being on a first date with a guy and getting a cab home to mine and my most recent ex-boyfriend was sat outside my house in his car crying!’
Leanne Leanne! ‘I’m a 10. If you don’t love yourself, who will?’
Name: Leanne Amaning
Occupation: Customer service advisor
Dating disasters? ‘A guy once started rapping acapella to me. I was sat there awkwardly and had to clap afterwards.’
How far are you prepared to go in the villa to get the guy you want? ‘If I want something, I’ll get it.’
Fancy a cuppa? Connor is a coffee bean salesman
Name: Connor Durman
Occupation: Coffee bean salesman
Fun Fact: He was a naked waiter in Sydney.
Dating history: ‘I went on a date with a girl. She asked me back to her house for some more drinks and let’s just say I ended up getting on really well with her housemate…’
You’re fired! Mike’s brother was on The Apprentice
Name: Mike Boateng
Occupation: Police Officer
Claim to fame? I know a few footballer friends from my football days. Dominic Calvert-Lewin played with me at Sheffield United. My brother, Samuel, was on The Apprentice a few years ago.’
Good at flirting? ‘I’m lucky because of my job I can use the cheeky lines about getting handcuffs out! It normally works!’
Love me, love me! Siânnise likes herself a bit of Romeo + Juliet-era Leo
Name: Siânnise Fudge
Occupation: Beauty consultant
Ideal man? ‘Tall dark and handsome – my friends call me Princess Jasmine. I’m after my own Aladdin, I guess.’
Celebrity crush? 90s Leonardo DiCaprio.
Got talent? Paige was on Britain’s Got Talent 2012 age 1. She sang in front of Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell, leaving them impressed
Name: Paige Turley
Location: West Lothian
Claim to fame? ‘[Singer] Lewis Capaldi is my ex boyfriend. We went out when we were younger, I was about 17 or 18. We were together for about a year. It ended really amicably and we’re still pals.’
Oddly specific! ‘I always fancy girls with dark hair, tanned skin, red lipstick and white nail polish’
Name: Callum Jones
Ideal woman: ‘I always fancy girls with dark hair, tanned skin, red lipstick and white nail polish.’
Celebrity crush? Megan Fox.
What song sums up your love life? La Bouche, Be My Lover.
Name: Nas Majeed
Occupation: Sports science graduate and builder
Celebrity crush? Naomi Scott [Princess Jasmine in the live-action remake of Aladdin].
…and while many of the first batch of contestants won’t last very long, there’ll be more sent through the door in due course…