I Confess: Fiona Pitt-Kethley, high priestess of erotic poetry, on her passion for Blind Date

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The Independent Culture
Blind Date encourages . . . speculation. You can empathise as you see behind that screen and know the questioner has chosen someone awful. You wonder - are they all actors and actresses? But, even if the responses are scripted, the contestants wear their thoughts on their faces. If the couple are ill-suited, you see the look of horror as they meet.

I sometimes think there's more going on than we suspect. There are lots of good-looking people on the programme, so when two of them go to the West Indies, you'd think they would have a fling - most people do on holiday.

Instead, they come back, pretending they hardly even kissed (though I suppose a film crew in the room is enough to put most people off sex). Maybe the programme-makers prefer the couples not to tell the truth. A couple of weeks ago an 80-year-old and an 81-year-old talked about sex. They got away with it because of their age. People assume (wrongly) that octogenarians don't do it.

The show arouses our curiosity. We're eager to find out how the woman got on with the man in the acid house shorts. Every so often there's someone with absolutely ghastly taste in clothes. Will they be wearing something equally appalling on the date? They always do.

The horrible holidays are good drama. You know, when the girl with bimbo hair and long manicured nails has to go on an assault course, it's hell for her, but highly amusing for us. I speculate on different versions of Blind Date - a gay Blind Date or a celebrity Blind Date for charity with electronically-changed voices and a choice between Bernard Manning and Nigel Havers. A late-night rude one for Christmas would be nice.

I'd like to see Blind Date use different age groups. Usually the contestants are the same age, which isn't like life. I'd feel like writing in: 'I'm 38, an attractive writer and I love toy boys, but the ones I pull are foreign, can you help?' I'm caddish. Picking a man my own age without seeing him first would be risky - he might not have his own teeth.

Cilla presents very well. She's very sincere - you feel she really wants to know about the contestants. She's got a twinkle in her eye - I think she'd like it to be more bawdy too. It would be very different with someone else in charge - someone psychological like Phillip Hodson . . . Though Cynthia Payne hosting it would be fun.

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