I Kissed A Boy is hosted by Dannii Minogue
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Love Island over the years has been its very obvious lack of LGBTQ+ representation.
With the community having previously been described by bosses as posing a “logistical difficulty” to the hit ITV2 show’s format, the BBC has leapt in to give us the dating show we actually need.
Launching this weekend, I Kissed A Boy is the UK’s first solely gay dating show, marking a watershed moment for reality TV.
Of course, while I Kissed A Boy is a huge step forward for LGBTQ+ representation on screen, there’s still a way to go – it’s still unknown if the show will feature any representation from the trans, non-binary or bisexual communities, while there’s also unlikely to be any lesbian or female bisexual representation.
However, for the 10 singles involved, the path to love will be far from straight, as they head to a luxury villa in Italy for a summer of fun.
The BBC has promised a show “serving joy, entertainment and a sparkling soundtrack full of gay anthems” that will “celebrate the queer community and invites all viewers to join the party”.
So, as anticipation builds for its arrival on BBC Three and iPlayer, here’s everything you need to know...
How does I Kissed A Boy work?
At the start of the series, the boys are matched up based on what they’re looking for in a partner.
After meeting their match for the first time, and sharing a kiss, they are then encouraged to get to know them better and give their new relationship a good shot.
However, it has been teased that viewers should expect some new arrivals along the way to mix things up...
Who is hosting?
Pop legend, former X Factor judge and LGBTQ+ ally Dannii actual Minogue is playing Cupid. presiding over the series as the presenter.
She says: “I have had the privilege of being involved with the LGBTQ+ community for many years. I am a staunch ally, and in return I have always been welcomed with support that always feels like a huge hug.
“It is an honour to host this show and flex my muscles as fairy godmother/cupid in helping these gorgeous humans in their search for love.”
Dannii adds: “It is the first chance for gay dating to be seen on UK TV in the reality genre. It was far too long that calls for this type of show fell on deaf ears. I am so proud of TwoFour and BBC Three for making this happen.
“The door is now wide open and the possibilities now there for inclusion.”
Who is the narrator?
Much like Love Island, there is also an omniscient narrator to cast an eye over the action in the villa, with West End star and gay icon Layton Williams lending his voice to the show.
Layton Williams is the show's narrator
Speaking of his role, he teases: “I would come in and be chatting to the producers and I’d be like, “Oh my god, like what about this? I can’t believe that happened! He was so this! He was so that!” I mean, I had my opinions but I can’t tell you those!”
He adds: “This show is so beautiful because it really shined the light on all of these different boys and their experiences of how they came out. They are all so different when it comes to upbringing, race and religion but at the end of the day, they are just like everybody else. We’re all just human and we deserve to be loved.
“As soon as you accept that, as you’ll see from the show, it’s just such a beautiful thing. I’ve definitely had a couple of teary moments watching it.”
Who are the contestants?
Ben, 28, from Edinburgh
Ben didn’t meet many gay people on his engineering course at uni, and because of that, he says he didn’t get much of a chance to explore gay culture.
Since moving to London four years ago, Ben is much happier as he’s been able to make more gay friends and enjoy nights out on the scene.
He says he’s a cross between “the goofiness of Goofy and the grumpiness of Shrek” and is bit of an old school romantic when it comes to dinners out and flowers. Ben does not have a particular type, but says: “If they can laugh me into bed, I’m in!”
Ben has had one serious relationship, which lasted a year, and has been single for six months.
Bobski, 23, from Essex
Bobski was born in Poland and moved to the UK with his mum when he was seven. He played semi-professional tennis when he was a teenager and travelled the world playing in competitions. He now works as an Airline Manager at Stansted Airport, managing operations and baggage handling.
He has been single for a few years now and says he is genuinely looking to find his Prince Charming. His type is sporty, confident and ideally someone who likes tennis, and his biggest red flag is bad teeth and bad breath.
Gareth, 28, from Kilkeel, Northern Ireland
Gareth grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, in a community in which family life revolved around religion and traditional roles, where he says he felt like an outsider. As a young boy he used to secretly flick through editions of Vogue dreaming of a different life.
He now lives in East London working as a stylist. Gareth came out when he was 24, and says his life changed when he moved to London, diving straight into the gay scene and embracing everything about it, making up for lost time.
When it comes to dating, Gareth says he is sick of “toxic” mindsets guys have about masculinity. He’s hoping to meet a fellow free spirit with confidence and queer energy.
Jake, 27, from Swansea
Jake’s early years were spent growing up in Spain before his family moved to Wales when he was seven years old. He now works as a regional trainer within the hospitality industry for a pub group.
He has a huge passion for gardening and loves the outdoors, especially kayaking and paddle boarding. Jake says he’s very romantic and that his ideal date would be by the side of a fire pit with a glass of red wine.
According to Jake, he’s looking for a life partner who has a shared passion for nature. He is open to all types of guys and is usually attracted to facial hair. Jake would like “two children, two dogs and maybe a chicken, too”.
Joseph, 23, from London
Joseph is currently studying performing arts and his long-term dream is to become an actor and travel the world.
He is one of 10 siblings and says his broader family are very religious and some struggled to accept his sexuality, but he’s always had the support of his mum.
Despite being a hopeless romantic, Joseph has never been in love and would love to find that connection. He’s looking for someone really caring, with great teeth and a great sense of fashion.
Josh, 24, from Rhyl, North Wales
Josh grew up in a Mormon family and it took a long time for him to come to terms with being gay. Because of this, at 24, Josh says he is a late bloomer when it comes to his experience. He’s never had a relationship, and before the show, had never actually kissed a guy.
He lives in the small beachside town of Rhyl and jokes that it’s a nightmare when it comes to meeting guys as there’s “zero gay scene whatsoever.” He gets attention on nights out, but this always comes from girls.
Josh is attracted to sporty guys with confident energy and he’s really keen to meet more gay guys around his age and learn more about gay culture.
Kailum, 25, from Brighton
After moving to Brighton from Yorkshire when he was 11, Kailum says that Brighton was the best place to grow up gay and came out when he was 14 by posting a video on YouTube using written messages on cards.
A big fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Kailum has been planning his own drag character and is hoping to begin performing on stage soon.
Kailum has been single for six years now and it’s taken him quite a while to fully get over previous relationships and now he feels ready to get back on the dating scene. He says he is really romantic and tactile and describes himself as a “furry cuddly bear”.
Ollie, 27, from Brighton
Ollie is a road worker and tarmacer from Brighton and describes himself as a “gay man in a straight world.” Despite this, Ollie is loud and proud about his sexuality and is grateful to have fantastic relationships with his family and his workmates.
As well as working on the roads, Ollie also runs his own gin and cocktail van that he takes to festivals.
Ollie has had a couple of relationships in the past but admits that he’s never actually been in love. He says he has felt quite judged in the past on the gay dating scene, especially when he had a bigger body shape.
Ross, 27, from Manchester
Ross works as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. Outside of work, he has a passion for travelling and interior design, has trained in tap dance and has practised cheerleading, too.
He says he tries to keep a positive energy and he looks for that same outlook when dating guys and making new friends, and describes himself as he’s a passionate person with a lot of love to give.
Ross has recently come out of a five year relationship and is now looking for someone who is warm, caring but also cheeky.
Subomi, 29, from London
I Kissed A Boy,Portraits,1,Subomi,Two Four,James Stack
Subomi is an athlete, software developer, model and performer, and enjoys music, going out clubbing and looking after his many houseplants.
When Subomi was six, he moved to Nigeria and lived there with family until he was 16 when he returned to the UK. In Nigeria, Subomi explains he felt different to other boys at school, but in a society where homosexuality is illegal, he quickly learnt to suppress his identity to not draw attention to himself.
Since coming out at 21, Subomi says he has found his self-confidence. He has been single for three years but says he is ready to date again and is hoping to find a guy who wants something committed.
When is I Kissed A Boy on?
The first two episodes of the eight-part series will drop on BBC iPlayer at 6am on Saturday 13 May, before the series launches on BBC Three on Sunday 14 May at 9pm on BBC Three.
Watch the trailer for the series below...