I was one of Love Island’s most controversial contestants – here’s my guide on how to save struggling show

Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday May 24 For use only in the UK and Ireland Undated handout photo issued by ITV of Rykard Jenkins, a 25-year-old personal trainer from Kent, who is hoping to find romance as a contestant on the new series of ITV's Love Island. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 24, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ LoveIsland. Photo credit should read: Joel Anderson/ITV/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

IT was once ITV’s most-watched show, but fans are falling out of love with Love Island.

In a far cry from its heyday of pulling three million viewers, only 1.7million tuned in for the launch of this year’s summer series on Monday.

Rykard Jenkins, who was on the second series in 2016, reveals his six-step plan to get Love Island back to its best

Only 1.7million tuned in for the launch of this year’s Love Island on Monday, pictured Molly Marsh

So what has happened to the explosive mix of sexy singletons and high drama that made the show such a mega hit?

Rykard Jenkins was on the second series – the one that saw Love Island really take off – in 2016.

The personal trainer turned aesthetic practitioner, a role that offers treatments such as Botox and microblading without being a doctor or nurse, fell for nurse Rachel Fenton the moment she entered the villa as a bombshell contestant.

But he shocked viewers when he secretly slept with Olivia Buckland while Rachel was in the bed next to them.

He became the first Islander to quit for love, following Rachel when she was voted out of the villa a week after they met.

Fans went wild for the couple, but they split 18 months later.

Here, Rykard, 32, from Kent, reveals his six-step plan to get Love Island back to its best.

Fans are falling out of love with Love Island, pictured André Furtado

Less focus on brand deals

Maura Higgins became a millionaire after signing mega deals following her stint on show

WHEN I was approached to go on the show, aged 25, it was still fairly new and I saw it like a mixture of Take Me Out and Big Brother – with a free holiday thrown in.

My main concern wasn’t winning or trying to secure a clothing deal or followers on Instagram, like the Islanders these days.

Think Maura Higgins, who became a millionaire in 2020 after getting £500,000 each from deals with both Boohoo and Ann Summers.

I was just young and thought, “I need to go there and get with as many girls as I can. Then I’ll be fine to go back home with my head held high”.

It wasn’t until after I’d come home that I found out the show had completely blown up in the headlines.

There was so much press around it and after it, and it just grew and grew, along with my public image.

Ditch the fake flings

Jenkins was the first person to leave Love Island voluntarily for his partner, Rachel Fenton

I WAS the first person ever to leave Love Island voluntarily, when the girl I was partnered with at the time, Rachel Fenton, got voted off and I went after her.

I proved that if you really do care about someone in the show, you’ll leave if they do.

It makes me cringe when someone doesn’t follow their partner out and they are there like, “Oh yeah, I really care about them, but I just want to stay here and feel out the process”.

Those people are either staying to meet someone else or staying for social media followers.

But it’s now kind of expected they’ll just stay when that happens.

Everyone is in there for their own opportunities and they’ve got to fulfil them to the fullest.

Drum up the drama

Kady McDermott would go crazy whenever Scott Thomas looked at another girl

THE amount of sex happening on our series led to more drama.

When couples are getting together and things are getting steamier, feelings grow stronger – so when the new bombshells come in, it means more.

Viewers saw Kady McDermott going absolutely crazy whenever Scott Thomas even looked at another girl.

But actually, everyone – even the boys – would get protective and crazy in our year.

Whenever a new person would come in, off-screen we’d call it Psycho Night.

If a new girl came in, our girls would start running up to the boys going, “Babe, do you love me? Do you want to be with me?”

Then the arguments would start happening.

It got to the point that Malia Arkian was actually kicked off the show for her fight with Kady on the first night she came into the villa.

You never really see fights like that any more.

Less chat, more action

Zara Holland with Alex Bowen in the Hideaway

MY year had the most sex of any of the series – everyone was at it.

We had Emma-Jane Woodhams on top of the covers with Terry Walsh.

Former Miss GB Zara Holland with Alex Bowen in the Hideaway.

Terry again and Malin Andersson in front of everyone. All of us at the same time one night.

And I even sneakily slept with Olivia Bowen (then Buckland) while Rachel was in the bed next to me.

But Love Island is nowhere near as brazen now.

As much as the show has grown as a commercial success, it’s also lost its naughty, tongue-in-cheek behaviour.

The more sponsorships from massive companies it gets, the more safe it’s become – and they tend to avoid showing sex as a result.

I was watching one of the newer series with my mate, and he said, “Gosh, this is boring – when’s all the cracking-on and shagging happening?”

The cracking-on is what you want to watch, but now the Islanders just seem to all be having chats in the same place.

It’s so boring and you think, “If I see one more chat on that balcony, I’m actually going to jump off the balcony”.

Casa no-Amor, please

Casa Amor take part in a raunchy race challenge in 2021

CASA Amor, which sees couples split into separate villas and presented with new girls and boys to turn their heads, has been a staple of Love Island since it was introduced in series three.

But our series did not have that, which helped make it special because it really did glue us six boys and six girls together.

No one chopped and changed, and I really couldn’t imagine having done it without them all.

Maybe a new twist should be given to this year’s series – we’ve become too used to Casa Amor.

We need real love

Cara De La Hoyde and Nathan Massey are married with children Freddie and Delilah

Olivia and Alex Bowen are parents to Abel

AT the end of the day, people watch Love Island for the love – and viewers will get bored if it’s not there.

What was genuine about my season was that the connections were real.

People did want to give a relationship a go in there, and many couples, including Rachel and I, stayed together for a long time after.

While it didn’t work out for us, eventual winners Cara De La Hoyde and Nathan Massey are now married with children Freddie, five, and Delilah, two.

So are the runners-up, Olivia and Alex Bowen, who are parents to Abel, who turned one this week.

We need more happy-ever-afters.