How Love Is­land con­tes­tants are se­lected - the shock­ing real story

New Ross Standard - - OPINION - With David Med­calf med­der­s­me­

‘THEY wouldn’t have me on Love Is­land.’ The first re­ac­tion of any right think­ing fa­ther to such a reve­la­tion from his daugh­ter should pre­sum­ably be one of re­lief. Few par­ents yearn to see their chil­dren ca­vort­ing semi-naked in mixed com­pany for the amuse­ment of vast tele­vi­sion au­di­ences. When young Perse­phone de­clared: ‘ They wouldn’t have me on Love Is­land,’ there was cer­tainly no im­me­di­ate ques­tion of my shed­ding tears or of my be­ing in any way dis­ap­pointed that she had been re­jected.

It has long been a shared fa­ther-daugh­ter as­pi­ra­tion that she might one day be ac­cepted for a role on Broad­way or the West End. We would prob­a­bly set­tle for a spot on stage in The Gai­ety.

But a place in a re­al­ity TV pro­gramme seek­ing to tit­il­late mil­lions with its crude take on ro­mance is a horse of a dif­fer­ent colour, even al­low­ing for the fringe ben­e­fits of for­eign travel and free sun-cream.

‘ They wouldn’t have me on Love Is­land.’ Given the way she had phrased her state­ment, my ini­tial move was to check whether our baby had ac­tu­ally ap­plied to the mak­ers of this cul­tural phe­nom­e­non for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Perse­phone replied that, though she had vis­ited the web-site, she was not one of the many tens of thou­sands who down­loaded the rel­e­vant forms as that would have been a waste of time. She was ab­so­lutely sure they would never want her.

At this point in the con­ver­sa­tion, a sub­ver­sive emo­tion other than re­lief be­gan to creep into my head as grat­i­tude was re­placed by a grow­ing sense of out­rage.

Surely, any pro­gramme maker should be happy to be as­so­ci­ated with my daugh­ter? Even pro­gramme mak­ers of such dodgy taste as those re­spon­si­ble for ‘Love Is­land’.

Who are th­ese guys any­way, that they would tell my lovely daugh­ter they do not want her? I started to churn over likely rea­sons why th­ese block­heads might turn away such a sweet and tal­ented child.

Of course, I never have ac­tu­ally seen an episode of the ex­er­cise in erotic inanity which is ‘Love Is­land’ but ig­no­rance is no ob­sta­cle to imag­i­na­tion

The list of pos­si­ble ex­cuses for turn­ing her down quickly grew in a trice to five in my in­creas­ingly fevered brain:

One. Maybe she wears the wrong bikini. Ap­par­ently, all the swimwear on ‘Love Is­land’ is of a par­tic­u­lar brand. Favour the wrong brand and you will never make it to The Villa.

Two. Maybe she has the wrong body shape. I am her fa­ther. I con­sider her the most beau­ti­ful girl on the planet but then I have never as­sessed her looks through the eyes of a pornog­ra­pher. Ugh!

Three. Maybe it’s be­cause she is Ir­ish. Sec­tions of the Bri­tish press are full of all sorts of com­plaints that the Love Is­lan­ders in the se­ries were not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of UK so­ci­ety. Not enough West In­di­ans, In­di­ans or Pak­ista­nis. Per­haps not enough Ir­ish ei­ther.

Four. Maybe she is too young. At six­teen, she cer­tainly was not old enough for the 2018 sea­son but, such has been the suc­cess of the pro­gramme, there is surely more ‘Love Is­land’ to come.

Five. Maybe, they could not af­ford her. Not just the sun­screen. Given the huge com­mer­cial suc­cess of the pro­duc­tion, the £50,000 prize­money on of­fer will have to rise con­sid­er­ably in fu­ture...

‘No, that’s not it,’ Perse­phone replied each time as I took her through my list of pos­si­bil­i­ties. She then made to leave and visit a friend af­ter check­ing I had no more the­o­ries to of­fer. I had to stand block­ing the door un­til she re­vealed the rea­son.

She re­lented: ‘ They wouldn’t have me on Love Is­land, Da, be­cause I sing all the time. Can I go now?’

I felt none the wiser. Just be­cause a girl tends to war­ble pop hits to her­self around the house, why on earth should she be ex­cluded from ‘ Love Is­land’? Perse­phone rolled her eyes and ex­plained with a show of in­fi­nite pa­tience that it was a mat­ter of rights and roy­al­ties, with the pro­duc­ers at ITV ter­ri­fied they would end up pass­ing half their prof­its to Adele and Bey­oncé.

Thank good­ness. I may now rest easy, se­cure in the knowl­edge that young Perse­phone re­ally will never ap­pear on ‘Love Is­land’.

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