First Dates, TV review: Sad, funny and even moving - this show is brilliant


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The Independent Culture

First Dates – a kind of live-action version of the Guardian's Blind Date column – plonks couples in a restaurant and lets us watch the damage. It's brilliant. But also sad, funny, even moving. It's good TV.

Regan was asked by date John why she chose to go into glamour modelling. Her reply? "I've just got a great rack."

The date between Regan and John (David Gandy viewed through a sieve) was one of the biggest successes of the night. Both fancied each other, both teased each other and John, in particular, was endearingly dim. I was giggling as they ordered their food: "What is hock?" asked John. "What's the fuck's a coq au vin?" yelled Regan.

Less compatible were Kara and Mostafa, a man who hits on "50 to 60" women per night. He was wildly charmless. Sample gambit: "You're quite good looking… I'd give you a four or five out of 10"

"So what's a 10?" asked Kara.

"You're looking at one."

Somebody throw him down a well.

Others hit it off. I was rooting for Dan and Sarah. He, a nerdy heavy metal fan who looks like Garth Marenghi, she single for 13 years. The pair shared a moment of bonding worthy of a romcom when Dan mentioned one of his favourite bands – Finland' s Nightwish – only for Sarah to spit out her drink in recognition. They then bonded over music and mooted sharing collections:

Dan: "Bring the biggest hard drive you can find."

Sarah: "I'll bring my memory stick."

Dan: "No. You will definitely need an external hard drive." Oh.

Things ended swiftly when Sarah told him she didn't want to ever marry or have kids. Surely, it would have been worth a second date, just to get into the nitty-gritty of Tuomas Holopainen's keyboard work on Nightwish's 2000 masterpiece Wishmaster.

As ever, it was left to an older couple to show the yoots how it's done. Jackie, 61, on her first date in 10 years, wants "to have sex before I die". Colin, from north Wales, was equally full of vigour ("at this age, women are on the wind-down, but I'm ready to go again"). The two got on more easily than the rest of the First Dates combined, before giggling away into the long night. Get a room!