Is 'Love Island' live? This is how the dating show is actually filmed

If you've ever found yourself wondering, is 'Love Island' live? We've got all the intel on how our fave show is put together

the cast of Love Island 2023 summer series sat around the fire pit, against a pink square background
(Image credit: ITV/Future)

Is Love Island live? It's a valid question—as we watch the drama-filled reality show, it's easy to imagine that the break-ups, make-ups and arguments must all be playing out in real time. But it turns out, it's a little more complicated than that! 

We've been loving the current season of the dating show, especially given that it's Maya Jama's first summer series (we know, we can't believe it either)! But as with every season, the non-stop drama often leaves us wondering how much of the show is actually live, and how much is pre-recorded for our enjoyment. And if you're not caught up on all the goings-on in this series, here's how to watch Love Island UK.

While the Islanders always look flawless, and our favorite Love Island quotes are as present as ever ('unreal' is one of the latest ones we've picked up on), we all like to experience the drama of the show as unfiltered and authentically as possible. So here's how filming of the show works, to answer your burning question: is Love Island live, or not?

Is Love Island live or pre-recorded?

Is Love Island live then? The short answer is no. For the most part, Love Island is not live.

It might be a reality TV show—charting the true relationship highs and lows of the couples—but its drama-filled episodes are pre-recorded and edited for your viewing pleasure in advance. Before you feel mugged off, there's actually a very practical reason for this. 

In order to package the juiciest and most entertaining bits up into those one-hour episodes, the producers need time to go through all the footage, meaning everything you see is filmed a day or two in advance. In fact, there are over 70 camera located in the villa in order to catch the goings-on from every angle, meaning there's a lot of footage to look through!

By past Islanders' own admissions, there's a lot of time to kill during the day—they can't be serving live drama 24/7. And we're pretty sure most of us wouldn't want a constant live-feed of the Islanders eating their breakfast, washing up, or hanging around not talking about much in particular...

The cast of Love Island 2023 summer series outside by the pool

(Image credit: ITV)

Not being live also gives the producers the chance to shape more of a story for gripping viewing, by deciding what is and isn't broadcast—something which has, unfortunately, irked past contestants. "I think that had [a conversation that wasn't aired] been shown, maybe the way that the public sat on the entire argument would have been different," Sharon Gaffka told My Imperfect Life, speaking of her clash with fellow contestant Hugo Hammond and his "fake girls" comments that rocked the Love Island 2021 cast during season 7.

This all means that the events that take place in each episode of the show—bar the live finale—have usually happened at least 24 hours ago, so what we see on our TV screens come 9pm has already been and gone.

Obviously, there are lots of moments in the show which are obviously not live too, such as the dramatic walks into the villa from 'bombshell' contestants, and our ever-fabulous host Maya. But it's clear why these shots are pre-recorded—the camera crew need to get various different angles for these powerful shots, which means they are likely recorded a few times over.

Molly and Zach looking shocked on Love Island

(Image credit: ITV)

So in answer to the question, is Love Island live? The reality is that like every show similar to it (be it Too Hot to Handle, or Love is Blind, or even The Kardashians, for example) there is an element of Love Island that is constructed to provide a storyline for viewers. They don't call it constructed reality for nothing!

And for those who are worried that you may be missing out on some good gossip because Love Island isn't totally live, never fear. As fans will know, during every season, there is also a weekly Unseen Bits episode, which shares with the viewers many of the most hilarious unseen conversations, goings-on, and tasks from the week before. Also, it's unlikely that the producers of the show will allow us to miss any of the most juicy action!

So even though we don't get to see a live-stream of the boys and gals living their lives in the villa, you can rest assured that we see pretty much anything entertaining that goes on.

Is 'Love Island: Aftersun' live or pre-recorded?

The Aftersun spin-off show, on the other hand, which usually airs on Sunday evenings in the UK, *is* transmitted live from the London studio. This means that unlike the iconic reality show Big Brother, for example—when contestants were interviewed as soon as they were evicted—the Islanders have had a day or two to cool off after leaving the villa before doing a live interview.

This explains why certain gems have been let slip over the years—including how, during the 2018 series, Jack Fincham accidentally gave away that Dr. Alex George would get a kiss on his upcoming date before it had even aired. Oops!

Have any other questions about how Love Island is filmed as we prepare for this series to end? Whether you're wondering, 'is Love Island scripted', or 'do Love Island contestants get paid', we've got all the answers!

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Lauren is a freelance writer and editor with more than six years of digital and magazine experience. Most recently, she has been the Acting Commissioning Editor of Women's Health—where she co-produced the Going For Goal podcast—and has previously also written news and features for titles including The Telegraph, Grazia, Stylist, Dazed, The Sun's Fabulous, Yahoo Style UK and Get The Gloss. She covers all aspects of lifestyle, specializing in health, beauty, and travel. Can't live without: oat milk lattes, new podcast episodes, long walks, and great skincare.