Fred's First Dates restaurant open for business tonight

Sap rises as more singles look for love

As the days lengthen, the sap rises and the sun gets higher in the sky attention turns towards bikini bodies and potential romance. Whilst nowadays, many of the nation’s singles turn to the internet to find their perfect partner others decide to take the plunge by applying to Channel 4’s programme First Dates.

Fred Sirieix will be returning as maitre’d of the swanky Paternoster Chop House, next to St Paul’s Cathedral, to greet the old, young, gay and straight and offer the perfect atmosphere for falling in love.

Whilst forty cameras watch the participants every move from bar to table to toilet break, they are so tiny and unobtrusive that it seems they are soon forgotten.

Fred, a bona fidé, front of house hotelier has, and continues to, work in Michelin starred establishments but his accent and stereotyped characteristics have led him to be an unlikely cupid in this whole dating game.

It is with ease and enthusiasm that viewers get caught up in the hopes and dreams of the volunteers and are willing each to find their perfect match at the dinner table.

In fact, Sirieix explained with some pride to Matt Baker on The One Show on Monday night, that a lot of preparation goes into matchmaking the couples before they even meet at the restaurant.

Likes and dislikes, backgrounds, age and hobbies are all taken into account by a team of so called ‘experts’ to provide as fertile an environment as possible.

It does seem that they do a pretty good job, because it is rare that couples clash inconsolably. In fact, as one quirky character introduces themselves on their VT, it is remarkable that their date is as equally quirky as themselves.

First Dates has steadily grown a fanbase, in much the same way as Gogglebox. Given the large percentage of singles, of all types, in the population and the subsequent explosion in internet dating, there is no surprise that this voyeuristic show is popular.

With Fred’s classy French patter and encouragement and the luxurious surroundings and ambiance the whole issue of singledom is brought out of the scrubby personal ads and into the public domain, so no wonder the show is such a success.

So as the glasses clink, the question of who will pay the bill and the credits roll as couples do or do not share a taxi home, there will be several million tuning in and willing them on tonight.


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