Channel 4 is bringing back hit series The Undateables for a fourth run, despite mixed reactions to its controversial topic.
The popular show follows the lives of young singletons looking for love, with the catch being that all of them are disabled and, in turn, 'undateable'.
Series three performed as the second highest-rated programme on Channel 4 so far this year, so in 2015, four new episodes will include check-ins with previous daters to see how they are faring romantically.
The Undateables has generated a huge amount of buzz on social media, averaging 38,500 tweets per episode during its third run.
Lucy Leveugle, who commissioned the series, praised The Undateables for fulfilling the key Channel 4 attributes of "sensitivity, humour and attitude". “The consolidated figures show that it has won a special place in viewers’ hearts,” she said.
“We are incredibly proud of The Undateables' continuing success and are thrilled to be making another series,” added executive producer Sarah Spencer. “We will be looking to maintain an eye-opening, refreshing and honest portrayal of dating with a disability.”
Responses to The Undateables have varied between viewers supporting the programme for addressing issues surrounding disability, to others who condemn the voyeuristic attitude it encourages.
"To really educate society on the difficulties of being disabled, I'm not convinced 'love' is the best topic," Martyn Sibley, who uses a wheelchair, wrote in The Independent. “Many disabled people are struggling to access basic social care, transport and equipment right now.”
"But, it is possible that be seeing disabled people on TV, also seeking love, the confidence of someone with a disability is boosted as a consequence," he added.
TV critic Tom Sutcliffe criticised The Undateables for making light entertainment out of disability, arguing that “amusement and curiosity slide all too easily into mockery and prurience, and it isn’t always easy to tell when it’s happened”.