When Love Island UK was revived in 2015, after two celebrity seasons in 2005 and 2006, Iain Stirling signed on to narrate the iconic dating reality competition show. The narrator’s job is the most crucial of all, as he acts as a Big Brother-like figure, chronicling the actions of the couples on the show. As fans have said, there would be no Love Island UK without Iain’s brilliant commentary. Whether he is popping in on intimate dates to make witty jokes about the castmates, or keeping viewers updated on who’s dating who, the dating reality series definitely would not be the same without Iain’s clever comedy skills.
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The Scottish comedian made his name as a comedic genius long before he landed at the Love Island UK villa. Iain studied Law at the University of Edinburgh, but found his place in comedy, and made a career change after winning several comedy competitions during his final year at university. The voice of Love Island UK started out on a CBBC program alongside Hacker T Dog, a Border Terrier puppet, but Iain soon ascended to greater comedic heights. The BAFTA winner has also toured as a comedian, and even had his own standup comedy special on Amazon Prime, Failing Upwards.
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When Love Island USA premiered in July 2019, Iain sadly did not head to the United States. Instead, television host Matthew Hoffman took on the responsibility of narrating the show. However, on June 15, it was announced that Iain would be taking over as the narrator for the US version’s fourth season, and fans can’t wait to see what the comedian has in store. Screen Rant had the opportunity to talk to Iain about his iconic role on Love Island UK, as he prepares to take on the narrating role in the Western Hemisphere.
How does the narration process work? Do they show you the fully edited episodes, or do they show you specific clips for you to narrate?
No, we get the fully edited, the full shebang. So, we go in quite late. We’ll go in like two o’clock in the afternoon, and then just basically the show’s all about finished, and then we just watch the episode sort of like a viewer would, you know? And then we decide what we think about that and, you know, all those sorts of little bits and bobs, and then we just record it all. It means our day’s quite short, which is quite nice. I deliberately don’t watch any outtakes or offcuts or anything like that because I don’t really want to know anything that the viewer doesn’t know. I think that makes it easier for me.
Do you watch the episodes when they air, and do you like hearing the sound of your own voice narrating the show?
I’m gonna be completely honest with you here, okay? At the beginning, I absolutely did watch it back. Eight series in? I don’t watch it back very often. But my wife watches it, and sometimes I do watch it with her. It’s weird sort of hearing your own voice, but it must be quite annoying for my wife, because obviously she has to then react to all the jokes cause I’m sat with her. Maybe it’s easier if we don’t watch it together because then she can’t be bothered trying to pretend to laugh at stuff, you know?
Do you have specific seasons or castmates you really loved watching?
Yes, I’ve got some absolute favorites from the British series 1, which, if you’ve never seen, it’s absolutely wild, and you have to see it. Jon and Hannah from series 1 are like one of my favorite couples of all time. And that’s including like the royal family and everything. They’re just the best couple. So yeah, I really like them from series 1. They were sort of like my crème de la crème. I know it was sort of the first series we’re all really excited about, and all that sort of stuff.
Do you feel like the success of Love Island has been the inspiration for other reality tv dating shows like the Temptation Island reboot?
Yea, a hundred percent, they’re all trying to copy us. But they can’t be us because we’re the originals. Do you say OGs in America? Yea, I’m saying that then. We’re the OGs.
You’ve said in the past that Margot Robbie is a big fan of the show. Do you know of any other celebrities who are fans, and who was the most shocking?
Amy Schumer was a massive shock to me. I used to live with a comedian called Phil Wang, he’s got a standup special on Netflix, and when he first met Amy, because he and Amy are quite friendly now, the first time he met her, she was watching Love Island, so he had this weird thing of like he’s met Amy Schumer, which is obviously mad, because the comedian Amy Schumer is like one of our heroes. We all worship Amy Schumer, and she was watching a TV show where it featured his old flatmate (roommate, I believe you say in America). Amy Schumer and Margot Robbie are probably the two big ones. Barack Obama is one. I might have made that last one up.
There is some iconic language on the UK version of the show, and as an American, I usually have to watch with subtitles. Do you think the language adds to the comedic effect of Love Island, and how does the language differ from the US version?
We’ve been doing some like practices at the moment, to see how it’s gonna work logistically and script-like and all that, and it is funny because they don’t use phrases like “grafting” and stuff like that. Me and Mark write the British one, and we’re gonna write the American one, and there’s just this American guy going, “well, what is grafting,” and I’m like, oh no, I want to say all these things. But hopefully, they’ll just start doing that. I’d love it if they started saying graft and stuff.
Do you get invested in the couples while you’re narrating? Do you feel sad when they break up? Which breakup was the most upsetting to you?
While I’m watching the show, it varies series to series. I always care, but obviously, it’s like, you know, some series you’re like mad into it, some series you’re like a bit into it. Like this series, I am mad into it. I love it, the British one. So I get sad when they break up on the show. After the show, I’m not that sad because they’re just like good-looking people in their early 20s, like you date people and you break up, right? If they were like 30 and had a kid, I’d be sad, but they’re 23, and they’re gonna like have loads of offers, and so I’ll be like, they’ll be okay, they’ll be alright.