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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ellie Muir

Ed Balls ‘wants to be contestant’ on ‘middle-aged’ Love Island

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Ed Balls has put himself forward for a “middle-aged” Love Island.

The ITV2 reality dating show iw currently airing its winter season in South Africa. Reports have now emerged that it could be rebooted into a spin-off for contestants who are “middle-aged” parents. has obtained what appears to be an ITV casting call aimed at parents. The advertisement reportedly read: “ITV1 are looking for vibrant single parents from across the UK who are in search of love, for a brand new dating show!”

The Independent has contacted ITV for comment.

The original format of the reality series features contestants between the age of 18 and their late twenties, with few stars from past series being over the age of 30. Now, celebrities and viewers are calling for those who are aged 40 and above to be given an opportunity to enter the villa.

Speaking on Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain (23 January), broadcaster and former politician Ed Balls jokingly expressed his interest in signing up for the show, even though he’s married to his wife of 25 years, Yvette Cooper.

“I don’t want to be a presenter, I want to be a contestant,” Balls declared.

“Oh god, what’s your wife going to say about that?” Ulrika Jonsson asked Balls.

“Well, don’t you think that married people should be allowed to be contestants?” he responded.

“No!” Jonsson said, adding: “The whole process of the show has gone over your head.”

Ed Balls has said he wants to enter the villa (ITV)

According to The Guardian, the reboot, which is rumoured to be titled The Romance Retreat, will stick to Love Island’s usual structure but the contestants will be nominated by their adult children to enter the Love Island-style villa.

Earlier this month, Davina McCall claimed on Stephen Bartlett’s podcast, The Diary of a CEO, that she had pitched the idea to ITV.

“I could fill a villa in Love Island with middle-aged people with the best back stories you have ever heard in your life,” she said.

“They’ve lived a life – they’re widows, they’re people who have been through horrific divorces. They are people who have split up with somebody and decided they want to try going out with somebody the same sex as them. They’re like interesting people. I’d watch that show.”

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