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Love Island returns after ex-host’s death

Caroline Flack presented Love Island from its first season in 2015 until 2019

Love Island will return to air on ITV tonight after the death of the reality show’s former presenter Caroline Flack on Saturday, while Channel 4 has cancelled forthcoming series The Surjury which she had been due to host.

ITV pulled Love Island off air on Saturday and Sunday after the reality format’s former host was found dead in her home. The show will recommence tonight featuring a tribute to Flack, leading the network to be criticised for not cancelling the current season entirely.

In a statement on Sunday, ITV said: “Love Island will return tomorrow night, which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.

“Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.”

Flack presented Love Island from its very first season in 2015 until 2019. She was replaced as host for the sixth season this year after being charged with assaulting her boyfriend, for which she was due to stand trial in the coming weeks.

A lawyer for Flack’s family said she had taken her own life, which has reignited calls for Love Island to be axed completely. Two of the series’ former contestants took their own lives in 2018 and 2019 after appearing on the show.

Love Island has become one of ITV Studios’ most successful formats since its launch and has been remade in 15 territories including the US, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. It was most recently picked up for adaption in Romania by commercial broadcaster Antena.

But despite the format’s success, it has been blighted in the UK by the deaths connected with it. However, ITV Studios decided to continue producing the show and upped the series to two seasons a year in 2020 – a winter season, which is airing currently, and the usual summer show.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 has cancelled controversial reality series The Surjury, which was due to air later this year and would have been presented by Flack. The format sees members of the public attempt to convince a specially selected panel that they need plastic surgery.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news about Caroline Flack. Our deepest sympathies go out to Caroline’s family and friends. Under the circumstances, we have decided not to broadcast The Surjury,” Channel 4 said in a statement.

Flack’s death comes after The Film & Television Charity in the UK last week released a report which revealed that 87% of industry workers have experienced mental health issues. This figure is more than 20% higher than the national average of 65%.

In response to the report’s findings, The Film & Television Charity has set up a taskforce backed by broadcasters including ITV, Channel 4 and Sky to help tackle the problem.

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