Love Island will not air a tribute to Mike Thalassitis on air after the reality star tragically took his life in March this year.
The show is due to return for a new season in June and it was thought that a tribute to the former contestant of the ITV2 show would air, but it has been reported that viewers won’t be able to see a tribute made to him at the start of the show’s upcoming series.
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 the 26-year-old 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.
She said: ‘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.’
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