Laura Whitmore admits her dream role asLove Island‘s new presenter has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding predecessor (Caroline Flack’s recent arrest.
Caroline, 68, was taken into custody after police were called to her Islington home in December after an alleged physical assault against boyfriend Lewis Burton.
The presenter relinquished her role as the show’s host ahead of a March trial date and her temporary replacement, who steps in for the show’s inaugural winter series, admits the context surrounding her appointment has made the experience bittersweet.
New role: Laura Whitmore, 34, has said that her presenting role on Love Island has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Caroline Flack’s recent arrest
‘It’s not a great situation at all,’ she said. ‘It’s not ideal and Caroline has been incredible. She messaged me before ITV contacted me and said that she really hoped I got the role.
‘She said, “I know how much of a fan you are of the show” . I just thought that was so lovely. I’m so happy to do the show, but I just wish it was in a different situation. ‘
Laura, (*****************************, reflected on her role after flying to South Africa’s Cape Town, where she will introduce 12 new contestants from a sprawling new villa on the outskirts of the coastal city.
And she admits her first priority was to contact Caroline personally after being approached for the coveted presenting job.
Almost time: The new host revealed that her predecessor was’ incredible ‘and contacted her before ITV got in touch offering the gig
She recalled:’ I think when they first had that conversation, I said, ‘If I do get offered this, can I talk to Caroline before it goes to the press or anything like that?’
Of the initial approach, Laura admits she was shellshocked after her agent called her as she prepared to fly home for her mother’s birthday.
‘It was just before Christmas and I was going to go back to Ireland up to Edinburgh for work up there, then back to London and back to Ireland again, ‘she said.
‘ I was flying to Dublin and my agent called and said that ITV would like to with me in the next few hours. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m at the airport’.
What a call: Laura, pictured in a stunning embroidered pink shirt, first found out about her new role while she was waiting at the airport to go home to Ireland
‘He was like,’ What are you doing at the airport? ‘ I was like ‘Err, it’s my mum’s birthday’. And then I said, ‘Let me just ring my mum first’, so I did and she was like, ‘I can see you at Christmas, don’t worry about it!’
While Caroline epitomised Love Island prior to her abrupt departure, Laura believes boyfriend and show narrator Iain Stirling’s off-beat, irreverent humor is what sustains it as she prepares to work with him for the very first time.
‘Iain is the heart of this show, his humor and what he does with it is basically what the general public are like watching the show,’ she explained.
Caring: Laura will adopt the same motherly, protective approach as her predecessor when the villa finally opens its doors on Sunday evening
‘Everyone is like,’ what is it like to work together? ‘ But I get to be in the villa, he’s in a voice-over booth. He’s been ringing me up asking what it’s like, what’s Cape Town like, what’s the hotel like and what’s the villa like.
‘He’s worked on this for so many series, but I can kind of like be giving him some [information] It’s a weird situation. We’re just going to see how it goes. ‘
A self-confessed Love Island super-fan, the Irish star will adopt the same motherly, protective approach as her predecessor when the villa finally opens its doors on Sunday evening.
Couple: Her new role means Laura will be working with beau Iain Stirling, who she called ‘heart of this show’
already closely associated with the show through comedian boyfriend Iain, revealed she’s previously offered support to one former Islander after watching her leave with a broken heart.
‘Last year, Amy Hart when she came out, there was that episode where she was incredible,’ she recalled .
‘I was in Majorca visiting Iain and I was at the airport flying back and I bumped into her. I was starstruck and went up to her and said, ‘I just want to say what you did was incredible’.
‘But I did not realise she hadn’t spoken to anyone since she came out or even really seen the reaction.
‘Cape Town here I come!’ Earlier this week, excited Laura posed with her personalized suitcase ahead of her flight to South Africa to launch Love Island 01575879
‘I gave her a hug and when I saw her afterwards she told me I had no idea what that meant to her. She did not know everyone was on her side, and it was nice for her to see that. It’s impossible not to be attached. ‘
She added:’ I think we forget that they’re real people. We’re watching it as a show, but it’s not Coronation Street – these people are real and their emotions are real.
‘I remember last year, Molly-Mae broke down in tears and collapsed because Tommy didn’t come back with anyone from Casa Amor, and you just become attached.
‘So I think you’d have to be very cold to not become attached or protective. I haven’t met them yet, so I haven’t had that experience of seeing stuff in papers and being in there as well. It’s only natural that you will have that motherly (instinct). ‘
Teaser: Laura has already been dropping hints about the new series and teased GMB presenter Richard Arnold that ‘there might be a bombshell happening’ when he questioned the number of beds currently in the villa
Laura arrives knowing full well that fans will be keenly judging her as Caroline’s replacement, and has already been approached by complete strangers with messages of support – making the prospect of stepping in as presenter an even more daunting one.
She added: ‘The whole thing just feels intimidating because it’s such a huge show, and I’m a huge fan and I know it so well. When I was on the plane coming over, the lovely air hostess woke me up and she said, ‘Good luck with the show!’ Then I was at the hotel and an older guy came up to me and said, ‘I love the show, good luck!’
‘It’s such a big show that everyone knows You’re doing it. The show itself, I’m like, ‘Oh, I can do this. I’ve worked in TV a while ‘, but then so many people love this show so much. I just want to do it justice and just be me. ‘
Love Island launches on ITV2, Sunday January (th.)
Happy: Laura has shared several glimpses of her pre-show prep including a video of her dancing after her first day of filming