Earlier this year, it was reported that more than 5,000 complaints had been made to the TV watchdog over a postcard sent to the Islanders which viewers felt was “misleading” and “caused unnecessary distress”.
While this figure was the highest number of complaints ever made about Love Island at the time, it was trounced just days later when viewers voiced their concerns over Faye Winter’s outburst towards fellow contestant Teddy Soares.
Faye’s tirade sparked around 25,000 complaints, making it one of the most complained-about TV moments of 2021.
However, ITV chief Kevin Lygo seemed unmoved by this when asked about it during an interview at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
When questioned on whether he felt the episode in question went too far, he said: “No, the thing about complaints these days is every week there is a new most-complained-about show. It’s very easy now to complain, it wasn’t so long ago you had to go to the post office and get a stamp and write a letter, now it’s the click of a button.
“You have got to take them at face value and I’m not so worried about how many complain as what they are complaining about and have they got a point and did we overstep the mark or did we not, whether it’s 10 people complaining or 10,0000.”
He continued: “With duty of care, I think improvements across the board have been made and we are the gold standard, Ofcom took our recommendations and made them what should be done.
“The ratings go up when there is a bit of conflict and it is an area where you have to take a bit of editorial judgment.
“I think generally speaking they get the tone right, people do shout at other people, as long as it’s not physically threatening, it’s not too inflammatory, it’s okay. But for some people it might have stepped too far.”
Addressing the fact these complaints came after Love Island increased their duty of care towards contestants – in the wake of the suicides of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, and host Caroline Flack – Lygo said (via Deadline): “How people are selected, GPS are consulted, loads of people don’t make it through and find themselves on other programmes which are maybe not so rigorous. During the recording of the show, there’s lots of counselling available. There’s a lot going on. When they come out, they’re treated very well and a lot of them say that.”
Lygo was also quoted on Twitter as having said that prospective contestants are “psychoanalysed to death now” before being selected for Love Island.
During the discussion, Lygo also dismissed concerns about the viewing figures for this year’s series of Love Island.
“This is a pattern you see when new programmes come along and they’re huge phenomenons,” he insisted. “On catch up, it’s the best performing series ever. Who would think you could invent a programme that runs every night at 9pm for eight weeks and keep viewers, especially young viewers who are hard to find now?
“There’s many years left in it. The challenge thrown down to producers is to make some subtle changes to spice it up a bit and keep it as fresh as you can.”
The seventh series of Love Island came to an end on Monday night, with Millie and Liam being crowned this year’s winners, ultimately choosing to split the £50,000 prize fund between them.
Laura Whitmore confirmed during the finale that Love Island will return for a new series on ITV2 next summer.