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Hit British dating show ‘Love Island’ returns for seventh season and reveals cast

"Love Island" contestants Brad McClelland, left, Shannon Singh and Aaron Francis.
Contestants for Season 7 of the U.K.’s “Love Island include Brad McClelland, 26, left, Shannon Singh, 22, and Aaron Francis, 24.
(ITV Plc)

“Babes, can we go for a chat?”

After 15 months on hiatus, the seventh season of the U.K.’s “Love Island” is back. ITV’s dating show has become a hit here across the pond too, leading to American spinoff — its third season premieres July 7 — and an obsession with saying “I’m loyal.”

The U.K. show revolves around 11 initial contestants, also referred to as “Islanders,” trying to find love and win a £50,000 grand prize — just shy of $70,000. Although the previous summer’s season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans are still yearning to see contestants couple up or “mug” off one another in a drama-filled fight to the finish.

On Monday, the cast for “Love Island 2021" was revealed, including a fashion blogger, a financial marketing exec and a luxury events host known by the royals. They’ll live in a villa on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where they’ll be surveilled by 69 cameras.

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The Beatles. Rolls-Royce. Cadbury Creme Eggs. “The Office.” Topshop. And now “Love Island”?

Islanders have to “couple up” to survive, be it in a friendly alliance or because they find that their partner is just their “type on paper.” While in the villa, contestants receive an anonymous series of texts, a precursor to something exciting, ominous or scandalous that is about to happen.

The famous catchphrase “I’ve got a text!” is now the name of the series’ latest app, where users can immerse themselves in a fictional love story while the show is happening in real time. After enduring the daily twists and turns, couples are given the chance to re-couple up and find someone else they fancy.

However, whoever is left single or voted off by the public is eliminated from the villa.

Season 7 will feature several firsts, including a contestant with a physical disability, Hugo Hammond, and updated “duty of care” protocols to support contestants, preserve their mental well-being and offer social media training.

Additionally, this will be the show’s first season since former host Caroline Flack died by suicide in February 2020. Two contestants have also died in recent years: Sophie Gradon in 2018 and Mike Thalassitis in 2019.

Caroline Flack, a longtime host of the UK reality show “Love Island,” died Saturday at 40. She was about to go on trial for assault charges.

Ahead of the announcement of the new cast, “Love Island” took to Instagram to remind viewers to “please think before you post” about cast members on social media. The season begins at noon Pacific on June 28 and will air every Sunday.

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Hulu has yet to announce when the seventh season will be available to stream in the U.S. Until then, viewers in the States may have to get a VPN to watch — or binge the first six seasons of the U.K. original and two seasons of Australia’s version on Hulu. The U.S. version streams on Paramount+.


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