Love Island returns 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 installment.
The ninth series will be hosted for the first time by Maya Jama, after Laura Whitmore 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 this, 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 sparked 427 Ofcom complaints.
The villa was revealed last month, with sources telling MailOnline the South African manor is the ‘best villa’ yet, boasting stunning mountain views and is nestled away in the country’s ‘millionaire row’.
So, with the new series kicking off tonight, here’s everything you need to know about the ITV programme…
Winter Love Island 2023: What time is Love Island on tonight? Who are the contestants? Who is hosting this year? Everything you need to know as the reality show makes its hotly-anticipated return
What date and time does Love Island 2022 winter start?
The Winter Love Island series start on Monday January 16 at 9pm, airing on ITV2, and streaming on ITVX.
Fans will meet the new Islanders in the luxurious villa in South Africa on Blue Monday, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year.
Speaking to The Sun, sources previously said: ‘Love Island bosses have planned for the show to start on Blue Monday – which is bound to give fans a massive lift on such a gloomy day.
‘This year’s contestants will be flown out to South Africa earlier in January and will start filming for the first episode the day before.
‘The grand finale will take place eight weeks later on March 13. The villa is absolutely amazing, Maya is raring to go and this series’ contestants are looking to be the sexiest ever.’
The Winter Love Island will start on Monday January 16 at 9pm on ITV2. In October, Maya Jama was confirmed as the new Love Island host, replacing Laura Whitmore
Who are the new Love Island contestants?
Cast members were revealed a week before the series’ start date.
Boxing ring girl and actress Olivia Hawkins, 27, joins Love Island’s first ever partially-sighted contestant, Ron Hall, 26, while biomedical science student Tanya Manhenga, 22, PE teacher Kai Fagan, 24, makeup artist Lana Jenkins, 25, payroll assistant Anna-May Robey, 20, farmer Will Young, 23, Tanyal Revan, 26, a hair stylist, airport security officer Shaq Muhammad, 24, and TV salesman Haris Namani, 21, were also unveiled last week.
Who are the bombshells and what is the twist?
Love Island 2023 introduced a twist, days before the winter series kicked off.
For or the first time ever, the ITV2 show have given the public the chance to choose the first male or female bombshell to enter the Villa. Voting via the app closed on Friday 13th January.
The public have chosen between Ellie Spencer, 25, a Business Development Executive at a law firm from Norwich and Tom Clare, 23, a semi-pro footballer from Barnsley. Who has been selected will be revealed on the show.
LOVE ISLAND 2023: MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Name: Tanya Manhenga
Occupation: Student and model
Something not many people know about her: ‘I have Vitiligo, which is a skin pigmentation, you may not even notice it.’
‘It’s on my lip and I have a stripe on my hair. Not many people know that but I think it’s quite cute.’
‘I don’t care about covering it up all the time, I think it’s a vibe.’
Name: Lana Jenkins
Occupation: Makeup artist
Something not many people know about her: ‘In my work as a makeup artist I’ve worked with lots of celebrities.
‘Also, when I was 6-years-old I used to live in Spain and I was in an episode of Benidorm as an extra.’
Name: Anna-May Robey
Occupation: Payroll assistant
Something not many people know about her: ‘I went on a date once and I never saw him again.’
‘We went for food and shared a bottle of wine. As I was speaking to him he fell asleep!’
‘I had to clink his wine glass to wake him up.’
Name: Tanyel Revan
Location: North London
Occupation: Hair stylist
Something not many people know about her: ‘My celebrity crush is Channing Tatum – I don’t like pretty boys, they give me the ‘ick’ because they always have a crap personality.’
‘Channing Tatum is handsome but not too pretty. He’s manly and he can dance.’
‘If a man can dance I’m in love with him straight away.’
Name: Olivia Hawkins
Occupation: Ring girl and actress
Something not many people know about her: ‘I did a film with Jason Statham and had a nice 10-minute convo about life.’
‘I’ve been a ring girl for KSI, I played a waitress in James Bond with Daniel Craig and I’ve also been a body double for Michelle Keegan and Emma Watson.’
Name: Kai Fagan
Occupation: Science and PE teacher
Something not many people know about him: ‘I’m a Jamaican citizen. Because of that I played rugby 7s for Jamaica.’
‘I play semi-professional rugby now for Burnage RFC.’
‘I’ve technically got three different degrees and went to three different unis.’
Name: Ron Hall
Occupation: Financial advisor
Something not many people know about him: ‘On meeting me, you’d never know I am blind in one eye.’
‘It was the result of a football injury when I was 8. I’ve got two different coloured eyes, one blue and one green.’
Name: Will Young
Something not many people know about him: ‘Every night I light a candle and meditate for 20-25 minutes.’
‘A girl I was seeing told me to meditate, I tried it and loved it. I stopped seeing her and carried on meditating!
‘It’s a nice way to self reflect.’
Name: Shaq Muhammad
Occupation: Airport security officer
Something not many people know about her: ‘I’m a very emotional person. It can be a blessing and a curse.’
‘Every time I watch Dear John I cry.
That’s my favourite film. Any time I’m with someone and they say, ‘Let’s watch a romantic film’, I’m like, ‘How about Dear John, how does that sound?’
Name: Haris Namani
Occupation: TV salesman
Something not many people know about her: ‘I’ve never found love. I think this is the show that can help me.’
‘It’s the best opportunity for me to find the girl and find the right one. I’ve obviously not found the right one myself.’
Bombshell: For the first time ever, Love Island have given the public the chance to choose the first male or female bombshell to enter the Villa. Who has been selected will be revealed on the show
Who is hosting this year?
In October, Maya Jama was confirmed as the new Love Island host, replacing Laura Whitmore.
Maya said in a statement: ‘I’ve always been such a massive Love Island fan and I’m so excited to be hosting one of the nation’s favourite shows! I can’t wait to get into the Villa to meet all of the Islanders.’
Both Maya and Love Island shared a video of herself scrolling through stories about her being the rumoured presenter on various media outlets.
The Love Island account shared: ‘Okay, the rumours are true Say hey to your brand-new #LoveIsland host @mayajama!’
Maya wrote in the comments section: SO BLOODY EXCITED. GET ME ON THAT ISLAND. ❤️’
Director of Reality Programming & Acquisitions, Paul Mortimer said: ‘Finding a new host to follow the wonderful Laura Whitmore was never going to be easy.
‘In Maya Jama though, we have another high profile fan of the show who’ll be a great addition to the Love Island family.
‘Cool, charming and charismatic, I speak for us all when I say Maya will also bring a unique presenting style to the show, as did Laura and, of course, the very much missed Caroline Flack. We’re very pleased to have her on board.’
In her element: Maya said in a statement: ‘I’ve always been such a massive Love Island fan and I’m so excited to be hosting one of the nation’s favourite shows! I can’t wait to get into the Villa to meet all of the Islanders’
Why did Laura Whitmore step down?
Laura announced in August this year that she was quitting the show and would not be returning to host the next series of the ITV2 dating show.
The Irish presenter, 37, 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’.
The broadcaster’s stint on the ITV2 dating show received mixed reviews this season; some viewers praised her handling of sensitive topics, while others criticised her for ‘encouraging slut-shaming’ in a segment which sparked 427 Ofcom complaints.
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.
Exit: Laura announced in August this 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)
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’.
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.
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)
Leaving: Laura took to her Instagram to confirm that she would be leaving the show, saying she has found flying back and forth from the villa ‘very difficult’
‘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.’
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.
‘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.’
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)
Where will the winter Love Island be filmed?
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.
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 property will be home to a whole host of British singletons as the winter edition of the show returns in January after three years – with new host Maya Jama, 28.
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
The spectacular home also features its very own river rapids alongside 50-metre swimming lanes in a vast lake.
A source told the publication: ‘The challenges on Love Island always make for fun TV and this place is a producer’s dream.
‘It’s absolutely stunning and has so much going on. It will set the standard for future series.
‘There’s bound to be plenty of fun and games on the winter edition and Ludus Magnus provides the perfect opportunity for a huge range of activities for the contestants to get stuck into.’
In the middle of the lake is also its own ‘Love Island’, with a private beach and palm trees and this year’s Casa Amor will be just feet away from the main property.
Casa Amor is a staple of the reality show when the men and women are divided and one group is sent to the smaller property with new arrivals – known as bombshells – to test their loyalties.
Usually the venue is a drive away but the next door location is bound to cause friction, with a source saying the main villa will be able to hear any ‘wild parties’ that might occur.
The sprawling mansion has 17 bedrooms, treehouse as well as a T-shaped swimming pool, which will no doubt see drama over the course of the series.
The eco-friendly villa has its own boreholes and streams for water and runs off the grid — being powered by 266 solar panels.
The home is named Ludus Magnus after a Gladiator school in ancient Rome where where slaves battled for their lives against armoured gladiator in front of baying Romans.
Casa Amor: This year’s Casa Amor will be just feet away from the main property which will no doubt cause friction (pictured)
What is Love Island’s new duty of care policy?
Love Island announced their new duty of care measures for 2023 on Friday ahead of the series in South Africa – and there are some big changes in store.
ITV2 will ban Islanders’ social media activity during show and will give enhanced training around behaviour in relationships after a controversial summer series.
It comes after Love Island received more than 5,000 Ofcom complaints last year, with viewers sharing their concerns about ‘misogynistic behaviour and bullying’.
Now ITV have said a comprehensive package of welfare measures remain in place for programme contributors to ensure stars are fully supported before, during and after the filming period.
As part of extended measures to protect both the Islanders and their families from ‘the adverse effects of social media’, participants will be asked to pause handles and accounts on their social media platforms for the duration of their time on the show.
Important: Love Island announced their new duty of care measures for 2023 on Friday ahead of the winter series in South Africa – and there are some big changes in store
Islanders’ accounts will remain dormant while they are in the Villa, so that nothing is published on their behalf.
In past series, Islanders’ teams used their accounts to encourage viewers to vote for them and build up their following – but this has led to them receiving abuse from trolls and getting into spats with other contestants’ family and friends.
Additionally, ahead of entering the Villa, Islanders will also receive guidance and training around mutually respectful behaviour in relationships.
Participants will be offered resource links to ‘read up on, in advance of meeting their fellow Islanders, to help them identify negative behaviours in relationships and understand the behaviour patterns associated with controlling and coercive behaviour’.
ITV added that stars continue to be offered video training and guidance covering inclusive language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and microaggressions.
Love Island duty of care protocols in full – ahead of 2023 series
The full duty of care process is outlined below:
Pre Filming and Filming
– Registered mental health professional engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare.
– Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and reports from each Islander’s own GP to check medical history.
– Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose in confidence any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the Villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.
– Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.
– Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them.
– Senior Team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
– A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.
– Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.
– A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home.
– Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable.
– We encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.
Who won the last series of Love Island?
Back in August, Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti won Love Island 2022 and split the £50,000 prize money.
The couple finished ahead of Gemma Owen and Luca Bish, who were awarded second place and narrowly missed out on the money, with bosses deciding to ditch the ‘split or steal’ twist that usually comes at the end for the first time in the history of the ITV2 show.
In previous years, winners have picked an envelope which either has the prize money or nothing enclosed, with one person in the couple being given the £50,000 with the option to ‘split or steal’ the cash.
Host Laura announced during the live final they would automatically be sharing the money as producers opted to scrap the tradition which has been in place since series one.
As the news was announced, emotional Ekin-Su jumped into her Italian beau’s arms as they celebrated their win and speechless Davide exclaimed he ‘couldn’t believe it’.
What a pair! Cast members were revealed a week before the series’ start date, with last year’s line-up being announced on May 30 ahead of a June 6 series premiere (2022 winners Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti pictured)