Great Britain

Laura Whitmore is frontrunner with ITV to replace Caroline Flack as host of Winter Love Island

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LAURA Whitmore has been lined up to replace Caroline Flack as the host of Winter Love Island.

The Irish TV presenter, 34, is the frontrunner with ITV execs to take charge of the ITV2 reality show, which begins filming in South Africa next month.

Bubbly Laura is dating series narrator Scotsman Iain Stirling, 31, and shot a similar show last year, Survival of the Fittest.

It comes as Caroline Flack, 40, was forced to quit the franchise, which she has hosted since it started in 2015, on Tuesday.

She was charged with assaulting her model boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27, last week.

A TV source said: “Laura ticks all the boxes TV bosses and with just three weeks to go until shooting starts, they haven’t got a lot of wriggle room." Laura is a safe pair of hands and is one of the few presenters out there who has the necessary experience required for this gig."

“She’s a pro at live TV having worked on I’m A Celeb and X-Factor spin-offs and they can’t risk using someone who is green on one of their most money-spinning franchises."

“Laura also dates the narrator Iain and bosses like the idea of having a couple fronting a series about romance."

“Caroline actually introduced Iain and Laura, and she’s good mates with both of them."

“There is a small chance Caroline could return next summer so it would be seen as Laura keeping her seat warm."

"Caroline would prefer it if someone she knew and trusted did it in her absence."

"Visas are being sorted now with an announcement to come soon.”

The source added: “It’s bittersweet for Laura as it’s a huge break for her, but awful circumstances for her friend.”

ITV stars furious as Caroline Flack forced to quit Love Island despite bosses backing Ant McPartlin over drink-driving

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