Marie Louise McConville: Finally, a Love Island contestant worth watching

Tasha Ghouri, from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, has become the first deaf contestant to enter the Love Island villa. Picture: ITV
Marie Louise McConville

That's the thing about reality TV - it's rarely reality.

Don't get me wrong, for a long time I've been a big fan of so-called "scripted reality" TV, starting way back with The X-Factor and most recently, Love Island.

That said, I felt last year's line-up of islanders lacked a certain sparkle and it failed to draw me in.

This year, while I had seen the trailers for the summer 2022 series, I had zero intention of tuning in - until I read about Tasha Ghouri.

It's true the 23-year-old, who made her debut on the show this week, may look like any other young woman who has ever appeared on the programme, but she's not.

The North Yorkshire dancer, who was born deaf, has entered the villa, not in a bid to become a Z-list celebrity but rather to better the lives of deaf children everywhere.

The woman, who has already vowed to donate half her prize money to The National Deaf Children's Society if she wins, has previously spoken about her aspiration to become a role model for the deaf community.

In fact, Tasha has been inspired in her dream by EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who I just adore.

In December, the young soap star, who is also deaf, won Strictly alongside professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, winning a legion of fans who admired her for her determination.

Now, Tasha is hoping to do the same.

She said: "I love Strictly and being a dancer, Rose is such an amazing role model it was so powerful what she did.

"She represented me, as well as the deaf community and I just thought it was awesome. It was a beautiful message," she said.

The dancer, who was fitted with a cochlear implant when she was five, revealed she was born "completely deaf".

"My parents found out when I was 12 months old, I got a cochlear implant when I was five, which was quite late on," she said.

"I had hearing aids until I was five, but hearing aids did not benefit me whatsoever.

"The cochlear implant is surgically done and it's much more advanced than a hearing aid.

"Growing up I had to overcome a lot of obstacles, I've had speech therapy, a lot of hearing rehab but overcoming those obstacles has made me who I am today".

Finally, the show has found a contestant who is worth watching.

Someone with a real story, who has overcome so much.

I have to say, it's just wonderful to watch someone who doesn't seem to be completely out for themselves but wants to make a difference in the world.

Ok, so Love Island may not be everyone's cup of tea but what a platform for her to raise awareness of her cause.

I wish Tasha well in her endeavour and hope she has fun along the way - I know I will watching her do it.


Canadian actress Neve Campbell has announced she is leaving the Scream movie franchise after 26 years over a reported salary dispute.

The 48-year-old, who plays Sidney Prescott in the horror films, said she would not be returning for a sixth movie as the salary offered "did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise".

Speaking about her decision, she said: "As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream".

"To all my Scream fans, I love you. You've always been so incredibly supportive to me".



Anyone fancy winning a "most enjoyable read" to help kick off the countdown to summer?

The Cornish Captive by Nicola Pryce is the sixth novel in a stunning series set in 18th Century Cornwall.

Imprisoned on false pretences, Madeleine Pelligrew, former mistress of Pendenning Hall, has spent the last 14 years shuttled between increasingly destitute and decrepit mad houses.

When a strange man appears out of the blue to release her, she can't quite believe that her freedom comes without a price.

Hiding her identity, Madeleine determines to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago.

But as she learns more about the reasons behind her imprisonment, and about those who schemed to hide her away for so long, can she find the strength to follow her heart, no matter the personal cost?

I have three copies of The Cornish Captive by Nicola Pryce to give away.

If you would like the chance to win a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday, June 14 2022.

(Q) Who wrote The Cornish Captive?

Normal Irish News rules apply


The winners of the Go Genius competition are Mairead Lagan, from Swatragh, Don Henderson, from Derry, and Micheal Morgan, from Warrenpoint

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