“Who doesn’t want to find love?”: David Mott on how ITV made Love Island


• “We are proud to have made the show in such a challenging environment.”

After skipping a season in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, then being pushed back a week from its original 2021 start date due to the Byron Shire mayor attempting to rescind filming approval, Love Island Australia season three has hit Aussie screens. Behind the scenes every step of the way is the team from production company, ITV Studios Australia.

Mediaweek spoke to David Mott, ITV Studios Australia CEO and managing director about how Love Island Australia season three came together, and what else ITV has on its plate this year.

David Mott

Love Island took a break last year due to Covid restrictions. In an era of social distancing, how do you go about producing a dating show?

“We take our CovidSAFE protocols very seriously and have for months during pre-production of Love Island Australia and the same will be for the filming period.

It has been a challenge, but nothing has been left unturned at all to make sure we have a safe environment for cast and crew.

“For example, all cast and crew regardless of where they have come from in Australia have had to isolate for 14 days when they arrived in Northern NSW. We essentially created a CovidSAFE production bubble. We also have extensive Covid-19 testing protocols, every crew must be rapid tested on arrival before they start a shift every day.

“It is a costly and time consuming thing to do but must be done. Our crew of almost 200 have been absolutely brilliant in accepting these challenges and protocols we implemented.

“We have had many curve balls, probably the biggest finding a Villa at short notice after we had locked one in, in Port Douglas. 

“Obviously with the Covid-19 situation in New South Wales and Victoria it became impossible to make the show in Queensland, so we were lucky to find an incredible Villa in Federal in Northern NSW with the help of Create NSW.

“It has been a real effort on many accounts to make the show happen, but our team are so committed and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”


What do you think it is about the Love Island format that has made it such a success globally?

“The format globally still continues to deliver big numbers in its targeting demo profile for the under 40s. The BVOD audience especially continues to be proof of the power of the brand and how the audience is consuming Love Island. The reporting of the total TV data could not come at a better time to really show the power of Love Island.

“The Love Island format is a real winner because not only do viewers follow our cast as they find love, but it is funny, heart-warming at times and of course sad. All these human emotions come together and it just pops on screen. A lot goes into the cast as well, which are central to the show. The diverse casting also appeals to so many sections of communities around the world. Also, who doesn’t want to find love?”

What is it like working with the crew from Nine?

“Nine were incredibly supportive of all the challenges we have had and frankly they could have reacted differently, which would have been completely understood. But they did not. It was a collaboration in finding a way through the challenges, and we did.

“We also have a great relationship with everyone from Nine and we have to as we create Love Island Australia, as it is such a large production. I think both ITV Studios Australia and Nine are so relieved that we got there and now look forward to entertaining the country with the brilliant cast we have found.”

love island ITV

There was some back and forth with the Byron council about filming Love Island, what was that process like?

“There is no question we had challenges with the Byron Shire Council. I may not have agreed with their position but accepted their position and understood their concerns. We progressed with good dialogue with the Mayor Michael Lyon and his staff in finding a way through this. Much of it was around ensuring there was a CovidSAFE production to give comfort for the Byron Bay community which I fully respect.”

Aside from the more publicised issues, how did the production of I’m A Celebrity… go?

“I can’t say too much about it as we want to keep as much under wraps as we can until it airs on 10, but let me just say it’s going to a ripper of a series once again. It was hilarious to be honest. We have some fantastic celebrities that Australia are going to love. We are proud to have made the show in such a challenging environment.”

I’m A Celebrity… hosts Dr Chris Brown and Julia Morris

The Voice recently wrapped up its first season on Seven. How did you find producing the latest season?

“We could not have been happier with the latest series of The Voice. I think it tapped into a real mood the nation was wanting, and that is uplifting, positive stories and incredible voices. We still had CovidSAFE protocols while making The Voice, but it was finished before the lockdown in both Sydney and Melbourne. The new judging line-up was also incredibly successful, and we are already planning for next year, plus the new addition of The Voice: Generations.” 

Love Island Australia is produced by ITV Studios Australia for Channel Nine with assistance from Screen NSW’s Made In NSW Fund. It airs 8:30pm Monday-Thursday on Nine and 9Now.

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