Love Island 2021 will have its first ever disabled contestant, it's reported, after the producers reached out to influencers with visible disabilities to ask them to be a part of the upcoming series that begins later this month.
This includes influencer and para-athlete Milly Pickles, 26, whose leg was amputated after she was electrocuted.
A source told The Sun : "Casting are actively approaching for someone who visibly has a disability.
"It’s all part of the show trying to be as diverse as possible.
"The final line-up hasn’t been sorted yet but it would be ideal if they had at least one disabled islander."
A representative for ITV declined to comment when contacted by The Mirror.
The dating show has attracted criticism in the past after accusations it does not celebrate enough diversity in the ethnicities and body types of its contestants, as well as only representing heterosexual relationships.
Niall Aslam, 25, revealed his autism diagnosis after he entered the villa in 2018 but left shortly afterwards as he experienced psychosis and hallucinations, needing psychiatric treatment in hospital.
He explained on TikTok: "Before Love Island I was a normal social work student in Coventry, and call me naive but I used to think the show was all as it seemed.
"As some of you may know, I have autism spectrum disorder - that the show were aware of because they get your whole medical record.
"This might explain why I thought the show was all as it seems as I'm quite a literal thinker.
"When I got there, there were loads of little things that I didn't see coming; I thought you could just chat to whoever you want but it was all very set up in ways of like: 'Don't talk to her', or: 'No, you like that person.'
"I'm quite an unpredictable person and I think they want to be able to know what you're going to do next.
"The stress of this on top of quite a lot of other things started to really get to me."
It was also recently revealed Love Island is unlikely to be including gay people in its future series, after reports show bosses were initially keen to include different sexualities.
ITV commissioner Amanda Starvi has spoken out about the issue, and explained producers did try to include more diversity but it would not work with the show's current format.
She said the popular programme's creators "want to encourage greater inclusivity and diversity in terms of gay islanders".
But she says the islanders need an equal number of choices when coupling up to make things fair.
"There’s a sort of logistical difficulty, because although Islanders don’t have to be 100 per cent straight, the format must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up, Stavri told RadioTimes.
“With our dating shows, such as The Cabins, there is much more sexual diversity. The formats don’t have as much restrictions as Love Island.
"So we’re very sort of mindful of that across our programming on ITV and dating series. But that’s the difficulty with Love Island," she added.
Love Island had a record number of applications this year and show bosses have already interviewed more than a 1,000 wannabes ahead of the new series.
Plans for the upcoming season of the ITV2 show are well underway and producers are busy whittling down their list of Islanders.
They are now working out who will feature in the beginning of the show and who will enter the villa later as bombshells.
* Love Island 2021 begins Monday, 28th June on ITV2 at 9pm