A new documentary titled 'The Dark Side of Love Island' is going viral on TikTok after a former islander revealed the toll the dating show had on his mental health. Here's what we learned from the Chanel 4 docu-series and where you can tune in...
We recently had the documentary Life After Love Island, which saw past contestants share what really happened to them after leaving the villa. Many shared that the Love Island success stories (like that of Molly-Mae Hague) are actually the exception, rather than the rule, while others shared how the experience itself impacted their mental health after leaving the villa.
Now, another documentary is gaining attention on TikTok for shining a light on the show's impact. In a new episode of Ask the Mask, titled "The Dark Side of Love Island", an ex-islander recalled how the show affected his mental health and drove him to suicidal thoughts.
Here's what we learned from the docu-series and what viewers are saying on TikTok...
What is the 'Dark Side of Love Island'?
The episode is part of Ask the Mask, which is a docu-series of shorts that sees masked contributors sit down with interviewers to discuss taboo, illegal or difficult topics while keeping their identity secret.
The Dark Side Of Love Island saw an ex-islander, wearing a badger mask, sit down with three interviewers to talk about his experience on and off the show.
To protect his identity, his voice was distorted as he began by saying: "I was on Love Island and after it, I nearly ended it all."
During his sit-down talk, he recalled how he felt unprepared for what life would be like on and off the show, before revealing that when he did leave the villa, he "couldn't handle it".
He said: "It did take me to a point like, I just knew I couldn't live with the thoughts in my head"; before adding: "It was maybe eight months after the show I started having proper suicidal thoughts.
"At the start, it was once every two months, then it was once a month, then once a week. I remember at that time, I’d go to bed hoping I’d die in my sleep cos in my head I was like, ‘This will be easier for my family.’"
He also made a number of shocking claims about the show, from sleep deprivation to interventions from producers as well as explaining what medical and testing procedures he went through before joining the cast (it is not shared which season this islander took part in).
"What they were doing was like keeping you up really late and waking you up really early. So then you're going to react more cause you like basically got sleep deprivation. It's mad, it's made when you think about it", he said.
He also shared that during his season the islanders had more contact with producers than viewers might think: "People always think that the villa is just the islanders but producers come in like twice a day, change mics, have chats with you to make sure you're alright."
What have viewers said about 'The Dark Side of Love Island'?
Understandably, many viewers were moved and shocked by the former islander's account, with one TikToker commenting on a clip of his interview saying: "I fully believe this. I stopped watching Love Island UK after Sophie and Mike's deaths."
While another wrote: "This is so sad to hear."
A third viewer also shared on Twitter: "Watching the dark side of love island channel 4 doc has really put me off :( this show is unethical."
Since the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis (from Love Island seasons two and three) and the show's former host Caroline Flack, ITV has introduced a number of new duty of care guidelines. These include inclusion training and Love Island 2022's new social media rules, which means the islander's social media accounts are paused for the duration of their time on the show, in a bid to prevent online trolling and abuse.
Responding to the claims made during the docuseries, a Love Island spokesperson told Chanel 4: "Welfare and duty of care towards our participants is always our primary concern, and we take the emotional well-being of all the islanders extremely seriously.
"We have dedicated welfare producers and psychological support on hand at all times who monitor and regularly speak to all of the islanders in private. We are unable to discuss or comment on individuals' welfare and psychological support."
Where to watch 'Ask the Mask: The Dark Side of Love Island'
You can actually watch the full short on YouTube, on Chanel 4's Documentaries channel.
Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.
Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.
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