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When exactly did the British public fall in love with dating shows?
It’s been a quiet takeover, but somehow the TV schedules have ended up filled with lonely hearts looking for love, from lunchtime marathons of , which ended up becoming such a phenomenon the finale was screened in cinemas and journalists wouldn’t stop asking Labour leader and absolute boy Jeremy Corbyn who his favourite contestant was (it was Marcel). However, this love affair has traditionally been exclusively heterosexual.
We’ve had , a show in which daters were covered in prosthetics and transformed into mythical creatures before they hooked up, but queer romance has been a step too far for most of the history of dating shows.
We started to see LGBTQ folk appear in the 2000s, but it was limited to grim stunt shows like the wildly transphobic – in which a woman had to determine which of a number of potential male partners were secretly gay – in 2012 hopefully closed that era for good.
Even when we are included, queer contestants are often covered up in episode descriptions and the dates themselves can be unbearably cringeworthy.
If you started a drinking game based on how many times either “All the Things She Said” or “I Kissed a Girl” is played behind the introduction of a queer woman alone, you wouldn’t live to see the end of it. The weird model of romance these shows rely on might not suit…
Channel 4 might call it a ‘social experiment’, but it’s a show unabashedly for that point when it’s 1AM, you’re a bit drunk and you just want to turn on the telly and laugh at some willies – and, honestly, I kind of respect it for that.
is always available on demand for anyone willing to deal with Channel 4’s atrocious app.When only two contestants are left, the person deciding takes off their own clothes and chooses which one to go on a date with.