Oooh, Princess Anne’s horse is such a stud!


Daily Mail - - News - Craig Brown www.dai­ly­­brown


The very first se­ries of Love Is­land was broad­cast only on the wire­less. Premier­ing live from the Isle of Wight on the BBC home Ser­vice on June 14, 1958, it fea­tured three men and three women, all of them top ‘pin-ups’ of their day, among them Arthur Askey, Lady Diana Cooper, Gra­cie Fields and Ber­trand Rus­sell.

But from the be­gin­ning, the se­ries was torn by con­tro­versy. At the start of the sec­ond week, ques­tions were raised in Par­lia­ment af­ter ac­tor Terry-Thomas let slip on air that he was wear­ing noth­ing but a pair of swim­ming trunks and a shirt, even though there were ladies on the beach.

‘That a pub­licly funded or­gan­i­sa­tion should be spon­sor­ing such un­bri­dled de­prav­ity strikes at the very heart of civil­i­sa­tion,’ ar­gued Sir Gerald Nabarro MP. he went on to ar­gue that, in fu­ture, all par­tic­i­pants should be obliged to wear ar a lounge suit at all times (if male) or full even­ing dress with a full­brimmed hat (if fe­male).

The fol­low­ing year, Love e Is­land moved to the Isle of Man, an, where the weather ather was con­sid­ered dered suf­fi­ciently chilly hilly to dampen any y signs of ar­dour among the con­tes­tants. ts.

how­ever, fur­ther ur­ther furore erupted af­ter host­ess Fanny Cradock handed ded out slices of le­mon driz­zle iz­zle cake and failed to pro­vide ide servi­ettes for con­tes­tants. Con­se­quently, cam­eras caught one or two con­tes­tants wip­ing their mouths with their sleeves.

‘The youth of to­day is al­ready bar­baric, but this her­alds an­other step on the down­hill slope to the moral­ity of the mon­key-house,’ com­plained a young Mary White­house in an ur­gent tele­gram to Lord Reith.

The win­ners of the sec­ond se­ries were the young ed­ward heath and glam­orous ac­tress Joan Collins, who walked around hand-in-hand, fool­ing view­ers into think­ing they had formed a part­ner­ship. It was only later that ru­mours be­gan to spread that theirs was purely a part­ner­ship of con­ve­nience, based solely on the prospect of run­ning away with the first prize.


Love Is­land was broad­cast live from the Isle of Mull in Novem­ber, 1962. De­ter­mined to draw a line through the check­ered past of the se­ries, the BBC per­suaded hM Queen eliz­a­beth the Queen Mother to over­see its of­fi­cial open­ing. Though the lo­ca­tion and sea­son had been cho­sen in the hope that con­tes­tants would be forced to wrap up well, the se­ries co­in­cided with a freak heat­wave. Con­se­quently, con­tes­tant Bar­bara Cart­land drew heavy crit­i­cism when she was caught on cam­era wear­ing a dress and cardi­gan on the beach, with no over­coat. The fol­low­ing year, one of the con­tes­tants — the young pop star Tommy Steele — was recorded us­ing a rude word when he dropped some­thing. At that time, the word in ques­tion — ‘whoops’ — was among more than 5,000 ex­pres­sions clas­si­fied as ‘se­ri­ously of­fen­sive to the or­di­nary, de­cent viewer’ by the BBC. oth­ers in­cluded ‘chips’, ‘oh bother!’ and ‘jeans’. By the mid­dle of the decade, Love Is­land was in the van­guard of the so-called ‘Per­mis­sive Soci So­ci­ety’. hosted on the Isle o of Shep­pey b by Margaret, Duchess of Ar­gyll in a risque ball­gown, t the 1966 se­ries fe fea­tured other no no­tably care­free fre Six­ties fig­ures, ures among them croon crooner vince hill, poet a and li­brar­ian Philip L Larkin, so­cialite ite Ruth, Lady Fer­moy, art his­tori his­to­rian An­thony Blunt and the th 16-year-old hRh Princess Anne on her pony, Com­mon S Sense. The se­ries was fi­nally f won by Com­mon Sense, who ditched Princess Anne for Ruth, Lady Fer­moy shortly be be­fore the last episode i d was screened d just in time to gain the view­ers’ vote.


AT The start of the new decade, in a bid to in­ject drama into Love Is­land, the pro­duc­ers re­lo­cated it to Burgh Is­land, off the South Devon coast.

‘Burgh was best known as the in­spi­ra­tion for Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. We felt this would ap­peal to a whole new de­mo­graphic of mur­der mys­tery fans,’ re­calls 1971 se­ries pro­ducer Simon Schama, later to make his name as a Tv his­to­rian.

Alas, tragedy was set to strike. By the end of the first week, six of the ten Love Is­land con­tes­tants had been found dead, un­der mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances, and by the end of the sec­ond week, three of the re­main­ing four had joined them. This left aris­to­cratic con­tes­tant Lord Lu­can the clear vic­tor. ‘It’s a huge thrill!’ he ex­claimed.

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