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‘Love Island’ but gay: what is ‘I Kissed a Boy’ and where can I watch it?

A fabulous dating show that's the antidote to the endless yet samey drama of "Love Island"

Image via BBC 3

As Love Island comes back to our screens, bringing with it plenty of flesh, fun, and, “dyaknowwhatimeanyeah?,” there are plenty of folks getting bored of the tired format, even with the new twist that host Maya Jama revealed before the first episode aired. Thankfully, if you’re looking for a bit of drama, sweat-covered bodies in the sun, and people looking for love, then BBC3 have recently released an eight-episode reality television series with a twist: it’s all gay men. And I Kissed a Boy is brilliant.

While the U.S hit this milestone back in the early oughts with Boy Meets Boy, I Kissed a Boy is the first gay dating show in Britain. And, unlike Boy Meets Boy, which had more of a Bachelor-like vibe, this is very much about couples trying to find love while surrounded by plenty of other options. If you want to know more about the show, and where to watch it, then read ahead!

What is I Kissed a Boy?

Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images

I Kissed a Boy is a reality dating show aired in the U.K, with the punning tagline: “The path to love is never straight.” The show is set in an old, charming Italian villa/farmhouse called the Masseria, complete with a bar, pool, and a fabulous wardrobe full of brilliant costumes which our contestants occasionally get to party in. I Kissed a Boy is hosted by Australian pop icon Dannii Minogue, and narrated by British actor Layton Williams, whose voiceovers are a brilliantly funny part of the show.

I Kissed a Boy begins with 10 gay men, split into five couples. The couples were matched up before the show began by show producers based on a number of different characteristics, and the first time they meet, they lock lips, hoping that there might just be some initial chemistry.

Couples are then left to explore each other further and see if a physical connection (if there was one) extends to something deeper. However, not everybody feels the spark with their partner, and new additions are coming into the house constantly, so there’s plenty of chances for chopping and changing. Throughout the series there are “kiss-offs,” where couples have to commit to each other by kissing in front of the others. If one or both members of the couple don’t kiss each other, they tell Dannii which other boy in the Masseria they’re saving their kiss for. If that boy also wants to kiss them, they are paired together, with anybody left unkissed having to leave the show.

In the final episode of the show the couples have their nearest and dearest brought to the island, whether that’s their biological family or chosen one. Once everybody has had a chance to mingle with their partner’s loved ones, there’s one last kiss-off in front of everyone, in which couples decide whether they think they’ll try and make their relationship work in the outside world, or if they’re going to leave it as a summer fling. Although the couples may have gotten along incredibly well during the show, they have to factor in things like the distance between them on the outside world, and if their new partner will fit into their lives once the series ends. So, plenty of sizzling tension in the sun, and not all of it the fun kind.

I Kissed a Boy is characterized by its full embracing of queer culture, while also leaving plenty of room for more serious topics. Several of the contestants discuss the struggles they faced when coming out, or as trying to live as gay men in the world. One of the original contestants has also only recently left the Mormon Church, and had his first ever kiss on the show. So, plenty of diversity of gay personalities to delve into, as well as some heartbreaking stories to go alongside the brilliant soundtrack, camp humor, and sexual tension.

Where can I watch I Kissed a Boy?

Screengrab via BBC 3

If you’re in the U.K you can watch I Kissed a Boy on BBC iPlayer, or try and catch some of the reruns that are airing throughout this week on BBC1 to celebrate Pride Month.

Outside of the U.K, the best way to watch I Kissed a Boy is via a VPN service, that will reroute your internet traffic to make it seem like it’s coming from a U.K-based computer. This way, you can access BBC iPlayer, as it’s available to anybody in the U.K (although you will have to click a box saying that you’ve paid for a TV license, which is a tax Brits pay to fund the BBC).

There are several reputable VPN services, including Surfshark VPN, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN. These are all paid, with ExpressVPN costing $99.95 a year, billed annually. NordVPN is a bit cheaper at $78.96 a year, and is also billed annually. However, a lot of services offer short term deals, and many (including NordVPN and ExpressVPN) offer free 30-day trials.

How is I Kissed a Boy different to Love Island?

Although they’re both dating shows with a competitive element that are set in warm nations, I Kissed a Boy is different to Love Island in a number of ways. First and foremost, there’s the rainbow colored elephant in the room: I Kissed a Boy is a wholly gay dating show, whereas Love Island only has heterosexual couples. Moreover, the range of body types and ethnicities in I Kissed a Boy is much more varied than the generic buff men and slim women who populate Love Island. There’s also a huge diversity in gay lifestyles depicted on the show, with some of the contestants fans of activities like cruising and group fun, whereas others are strictly monogamous, and even bordering demisexual.

I Kissed a Boy also has no public vote, with the contestants themselves deciding who gets voted off the show and has to leave the Masseria (where they at least get to have a couple of cocktails with Dannii to ease their pain). Unlike Love Island, there’s no one couple that wins either, which means no prize money — so it really is about looking for love.

Also, while Love Island has an enormous number of episodes to air over a long period of time, I Kissed a Boy only has eight (plus an upcoming reunion episode), so instead of endless Big Brother-like coverage, the shows are much more packed with content and the storylines much tighter. I Kissed a Boy is also set in Italy, not Spain like Love Island.

Who hosts I Kissed a Boy?

Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Image

I Kissed a Boy is hosted by pop and queer icon Dannii Minogue, the sister of Kylie. Dannii began her career as an actor on the Australian soap opera Home and Away (which also brought us Isla Fisher, Heath Ledger, and Chris Hemsworth) and has earned several top-ten singles in both the U.K and her country of birth. Dannii has also been a constant on both Australian and British television, having judged shows like Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor UK.

Who narrates I Kissed a Boy?

Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images

I Kissed a Boy is narrated by British actor Layton Williams, who is most famous for his role in the sitcom Bad Education. He also has a highly successful theatre and musical career, having performed in various title roles on London’s West End, including as the titular character in Billy Elliot. He is currently touring the U.K in a production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, in the title role of Jamie New.

Is I Kissed a Boy already finished?

Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images

The last episode of the series aired on Sunday, June 4 in the U.K, but there’s a reunion show releasing on June 11, where we’ll get all the tea from the boys and find out who’s still together, and who lost the spark once they left Italy.

About the author

Sandeep Sandhu

Sandeep is a writer at We Got This Covered and is originally from London, England. His work on film, TV, and books has appeared in a number of publications in the UK and US over the past five or so years, and he's also published several short stories and poems. He thinks people need to talk about the Kafkaesque nature of The Sopranos more, and that The Simpsons seasons 2-9 is the best television ever produced. He is still unsure if he loves David Lynch, or is just trying to seem cool and artsy.