I have to admit I've become addicted to this year's 'Love Island'. I know it's predictable and the bodies are unhealthy to look at, but it's the relationship dynamics that I really enjoy ...the fact that there are so many twists and turns (it also makes me thankful that I'm grown up and not in my twenties putting up with that shit anymore).
I've noticed there are a lot of people my age (forties) who are hooked on the show, but frustrated by the lack of insight each contestant has into their own situation and behaviour. I'd say they're pretty typical for your average twenty-something, and I was the same back in the day. I lived in the present. If I saw something I liked, I took it. I was very preoccupied with the size of my thighs, and whether I could get away with wearing hotpants. I thought about face wash for at least ten minutes a day.
So last night I started thinking of a new concept - a show just like Love Island but with middle-aged people as the stars. The location would probably be Ibiza (for all the ageing Danny Rampling fans), but the villa would be the same sort of layout (more comfortable furniture and better quality sheets and mattresses as these things matter as you get older). I've also thought of a few other things in terms of characters and setting etc. (& if you're interested in commisioning this show, I'm in need of a free holiday, and will direct the whole thing in exchange for four weeks in Ibiza).
Ideally for this 'Middle-Aged Love Island' (need a snappier title), we'll have a couple of Mums (on their first holiday away from their babies). These Mums will be happy to leave their babies, and desperate to drink and have a good time. They'll alternate between throwing themselves into the action, and sobbing uncontrollably whenever anyone mentions their child (or they see an inflatable).
There will also be a couple of ageing bachelors. These men will have never been married before, will possibly still play computer games and ride on skateboards. They may be graffiti artists or one of them is a chef in a dirty dim sum restaurant in Hoxton. Then I'm thinking there will be two more guys who are Dads - one who still likes to think of himself as a raver, and uses phrases like 'having it large tonight', and when drunk talks about 'scoring some whizz.' He will also cry whenever he talks about his kids.
The other Dad will have settled into Golf, reading biographies of famous golfing stars and wearing Blue Harbour slacks (things will get messy when this Dad drinks, and he'll make a nice counterpoint to the rave Dad who is actually very boring). Finally there will need to be a couple of wild cards so I'm thinking a guy who used to be in a famous band in the 80s (like maybe Ben from 'Curiosity Killed the Cat' because he was on 'First Dates' recently so is up for anything) and then maybe a woman who has had a lot of cosmetic surgery (so everyone can debate endlessly the perils of surgery and why they choose to age naturally, but also be secretly jealous and wish they'd had it before coming to the island).
There won't be any sex because everyone will be too tired and full up after dinner. There may be one snog between the Golf Dad and the Surgery Woman. Or the raver might come onto the Mum, and get carried away telling her all about his days as a pirate radio DJ and how he once met Mr C at a party.
There will be lots of food on 'Middle Aged Love Island' (have you noticed that nobody eats dinner on the current show? how do they keep their energy levels up and not get grumpy?) The food will be a debated from first thing in the morning, will continue on the sun loungers, and there will be constant trips to the local market to buy more supplies. There will be some arguing over who bought the most olive oil last time and who keeps eating all the tomatoes. There will be a lot of cheese and the discussions around cheese will be long and interesting.
The chat will chiefly be about loft extensions, building work, mortgages, house prices, people who have split up and had affairs, people who are unhappy in their marriages (with some lustful looks and maybe some footsie between Golf Dad and Surgery Woman.) There will be a long discussion about kids and schools and how marvellous kids are. Followed by crying.
And a chat about screens/social media/internet/technology which will go around and around, but everyone will net out that things are definitely worrying, were better before, and this will spark off a long chat about 'how we all played outside unsupervised and ate fat and turned out okay didn't we?' Then the discussion will go back to cheese. There may be some detailed discussions about cars and office politics between those who are working. The new Mums will talk about their buggies, and how they chose that specific model, the benefits of that model and how if they have another baby, they will be sad to trade it in for something else (they'll also say that they don't think they can go through the whole newborn thing again so may not bother). At the end of the night people will talk about dead celebrities, how their isn't any good music anymore, how young people don't know how to have fun (raver will be very passionate about this and will leap up and do his impression of meeting Mr C again). Then everyone will feel depressed and go to bed. Everyone will avoid politics because they are tired and want to go to bed and not get into it.
Most nights people willl prefer to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime in their respective beds. There will be long naps in the afternoon and people will read books and talk about their SPF level. Lights will be out by ten thirty.
There will be one night when everyone gets completely rat-arsed, and some very embaressing stuff happens. A 90's Spotify playlist sparks off chaos as all the women drink shots of Malibu, flash their bums, jump in the pool, and the raver goes off to score and returns two hours later with identifiable tablets.
No one will remember anything the following morning (but Golf Man and Surgery Woman will be found at the bottom of the vineyard, sunburnt and dehydrated wearing nothing but leaves). The whole day will be a right off with only one contestant getting up to make a bowl of porridge, vomit into a bin and then retreat into bed. Ben from Curiosity will pay off the TV company for all the footage (using the proceeds from his 2016 reunion tour which also starred Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, and Go West). After this night all the stars will take a vow of secrecy and nobody will mention the night again (the cleaner will find a large pair of M&S spanx in the pool filter and throw them away).
Someone will have the idea a couple of days later that 'eating hash cookies would be fun'. However this will quickly be put to bed, and the couples will watch '24 Hour Party People' and feel all nostalgic. This will spark up another conversation around how nobody knows what real partying is anymore. The skateboarding chef will make an impromptu pizza and the talk will move to cheese again.
As a twist another eighties pop star will be thrown into the mix (this could be Boy George just to get the conversation going and move away from mortgages etc. or if the budget allows I'd suggest Mr C just so he can come into the house and declare that he's never met the raver before, and follow that news flash up with a live performance of 'Ebeneezer Goode' - with Ben backing him up on bongos).
There will be a bit of yoga and some pilates. The men will walk towards the weights, pick one up, and then walk away again, complaining that they can't risk injuring their backs.
One of the bachelors will be a cycling fanatic and will spend at least two days of the show cycling obsessively, and boring everyone about his speed, the cost of his cycling shorts, the ideal protein/carb ratio to maintain maximum cycling fitness levels and how he came 567th in the Tour De France but suffered with terrible piles afterwards.
The series will be sponsored by Boden/Marks & Spencer and Next. The women will all have bought the same Boden swimming suit. The men may wear old band T-shirts. The chef/skateboarder will insist on wearing the exact same clothes he wore when he was twenty, but the bottom of his tummy will constantly be edging out because he's gone up four sizes. The women will wear flat shoes and say how silly young people are for wearing anything else (they will also talk a lot about trainers and how they're comfortable and go with anything, and how Sketchers aren't actually as bad as they look and are really comfortable too).
It's also worth pointing out that the bodies will be normal, ageing bodies (aside from Surgery Woman). The men will have moobs. The women will have stretch marks and their thighs will rub together. The women will also be filmed plucking hairs out of their chin, pulling their naturally sagging boobs into underwired bras, and complaining about their dire sex lives. It will also be the first time we see a close up of a varicose vein on a reality TV show.
So what do you think? I for one would definitely watch, and feel like it would give us forty-somethings a bit of a boost. Who needs to be exposed to youthful, lithe bodies yet again? Or watch people work out first thing in the morning when it's obvious that they've been exercising all night to maintain their physique? Do you really need to worry because you haven't started perming your eyelashes yet?
And what else could our middle-aged contestants get up to? As I said, if anyone is interested in commisioning this show, I am up for directing. I also have a few friends that would be contestants, and haven't had the opportunity to showcase my Boden swimsuit this year as we can't afford a holiday. Thank you for your time.