‘Love Island’ won’t pay tribute to Mike Thalassitis on air, opting instead to show one alongside the 2017 series on the ITV hub.
The former contestant on the ITV2 reality show passed away at the age of 26 in March this year, but viewers won’t be able to see a tribute made to him at the start of the show’s upcoming series, which begins next month.
Bosses have instead decided to honour Mike in a tribute on ITV’s on-demand service instead, which will play alongside the 2017 series in which Mike starred, which will soon be available as a boxset on the ITV hub.
A ‘Love Island’ insider told The Sun: “It felt more appropriate to do it there”.
The news comes after it was claimed contestants will have to pass new mental health and STI tests to be accepted on this year’s series, following the death of Mike and fellow star Sophie Gradon, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 32.
A source said:
“Bosses want stars to be safe mentally and physically. Their biggest nightmare would be someone contracting an STI, so potential contestants must have several rounds of medical tests.
“Advance sessions with counsellors and psychologists have been ramped up to ensure that everyone can handle the fame.
“They are prepared to cut potentially strong personalities from the line-up if there is any hint of mental instability.”
In March, Richard Cowles, creative director of ITV Studios, admitted contestants on the ITV2 dating show will receive more support and ITV will be “proactively checking in” with former ‘Love Island’ stars “on a regular basis”.
And whilst the announcement was made days after Mike’s death, ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall later insisted it would be “extremely tenuous” to link the show to his passing.
“I don’t think anybody has made a direct link between what happened to Mike and ‘Love Island’ and that is very important to say.
“It would be an extremely tenuous thing to do given he was very happy on ‘Love Island’ and all of his mates have actually said that, and he has done two other reality TV shows in the two-year gap.
“We can do everything we possibly can to look after people and to do our duty of care but you can’t do that forever with an individual.
“There has got to be a framework and it will come to an end. It can’t be indefinite.”