Why Love Island Australia returned to its Spanish roots for a season of firsts

Love Island Australia

ITV executive producer, Alex Mavroidakis, on bringing the fourth season to life

There are a few new things about the fourth season of Love Island Australia. Firstly, the show is returning to its original home of Mallorca, Spain. Secondly, the series has launched on 9Now instead of linear TV, in a move that the entire industry will be keeping an eye on. Third, this will be the first time a Love Island season has been pre-recorded.

Some things have stayed the same, however – there are still just as many beautiful people falling in (and out) of love as fans of the series have come to expect.

Mediaweek spoke to ITV executive producer, Alex Mavroidakis, about taking the show back to Europe and what he looks for when casting the Islanders.

love island

Alex Mavroidakis

The last time Love Island Australia was set in Mallorca was 2018, in the very first season. For Mavroidakis, bringing the show back to Spain felt like returning to the “spiritual home” of the show. 

“We’re so, so happy to be back there. It just feels and looks more romantic.

“From an editorial point of view, the islanders just feel a million miles away from home. Although they’ve got cameras pointing at them 24 hours a day, you just behave differently when you’re a long way away from home. We tried Fiji because it’s a beautiful country, but it just didn’t have the same feeling. Then in season three, we had no choice but to do Byron Shire because of Covid, so this was our first opportunity to get back there.”

Whilst the move back to Europe was a welcome one, it did throw a few spanners into the works for production – however, Mavroidakis says that the solution was bringing Australians a format first.

This is the first ever pre-recorded Love Island anywhere in the world. It had to be pre-recorded because Nine wanted it on at this time of the year, and we can’t film it now because it’s freezing cold in Spain. So we had to do a pre-recorded version, which we were all worried about – but it’s exactly the same thing. We shoot an episode a day, and we cut an episode a day, and it feels exactly the same.” 

With the look and feel of the show secured, the only other aspect of the live show to deal with was the public voting.

Truth be told, there are so many people watching Love Island on catch up that not many people vote. So we came up with a solution, which was the superfans. 

“We put out a call a few months ago for Love Island tragics, diehard fans that live and breathe the show, and we got such a huge response. We enlisted a jury of super fans to watch a feed of the villa, and to do the bidding of the Australian public. The public will still decide the winning couple, but the day-to-day voting is taken care of.”

The power that Love Island Australia has on total TV cannot be overstated, with episodes regularly increasingly lifting by upwards of 100% on catch up. With the 2022 season initially being broadcast exclusively on 9Now, Mavroidakis says that the change gave the team some extra freedom with production.

“We’re all so used to making broadcast television, where you say ‘come back next week, when you’re going to see blah blah blah’. But now people are watching 10 episodes back to back over the weekends, so we just changed our language to ‘come back next time’.

It also means that we can be edgier, because we’re not on the main channels where you have to mind your P’s and Q’s a bit more. It’s given us the ability to loosen up the format and be edgier across the board. To me as the EP, it’s been fantastic.”

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As for the people heading over to Spain, Mavroidakis says that he is looking for more than just “people who are incredibly good looking” during the casting process.

“Everybody has to pass the talk test. We had a Zoom meeting with a guy this year, and he honestly would have been the best looking man I’ve ever seen in my life – and certainly the girls in that Zoom back to me up on that! I thought it looks like he’s been chiselled by the Gods, but the poor bloke just couldn’t string two words together. You cannot do a 24 hour turnaround show where content is king if you can’t pass the talk test

“People will say that it’s a load of vapid, good looking people who are incredibly narcissistic and are only in there for Instagram followers – and hey, I’m not going to argue completely! But they’re not that vapid, because they can all talk.”

Whilst the show is mostly fun in the sun, some of the more serious aspects of appearing as a contestant are also considered when choosing the Islanders.

“They have to be a very robust character as well, because it is a very full-on thing to go through the entire audition process and then go into a villa where you are being judged. You will be rejected by members of the opposite sex, there’s a very good chance you will get dumped, and you’ve got cameras pointing at you 24 hours a day. 

“After the Love Island experience ends, you then go back home and you watch the show – then you’ve got to put up with people on the internet saying, ‘I really hated Sally, I think she’s ugly’. It takes an incredibly strong personality type to be able to deal with that. So that is a huge part of my casting process, more than anybody would believe.”

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