A nine-part drama looking at the dark and the funny side of dating, a documentary about online dating, an interactive documentary in which viewers get a chance to go on a date, and a look at why some people fail at dating all make up Channel Four's mating season. This preview by Steve Rogerson looks at what viewers can expect from the four shows.
Dates: Drama kicks off Channel Four’s mating season
The rituals and risks of dating are explored in Channel Four's mating season, which starts on Monday 10 June 2013 with the first episode of Dates.
Will Mellor and Oona Chaplin in Dates
Photo from Channel Four
Spring is in the air as the sun at last comes out on what has been a cold Britain, and so it seems fitting that Channel Four should launch its mating season, with a series of programmes looking at the complicated world of dating, starting with Dates, a nine part drama, with the first three episodes due to be shown on consecutive nights from Monday to Wednesday, 10th to 12th June 2013. Each half-hour episode will look at a different couple, but some of the characters will appear more than once.
Dates was the brainchild of Bryan Elsley, creator of the E4 show Skins. The show was produced by Bradley Adams and the production company was Balloon Entertainment. It stars Sian Breckin, Gemma Chan, Ben Chaplin, Oona Chaplin, Neil Maskell, Katie McGrath, Greg McHugh, Will Mellor, Andrew Scott, Sheridan Smith and Montana Thompson.
Sheridan Smith and Will Mellor
Sheridan Smith and Will Mellor are the two main actors in Dates. Smith first appears in the second episode as Jenny, who goes on a date with city worker Nick (played by Neil Maskell). She returns in episode eight to go on a date with Christian, played by Andrew Scott.
“I’m in two of the episodes, on two different dates,” said Smith. “In her everyday life Jenny’s a schoolteacher, and she’s good at her job, and she’s a really nice girl, with a big heart. She goes on two very, very different dates. One’s quite dark and one’s quite amusing. Actually, they’re both very funny in their own way.”
Mellor is in the first and last episodes as David. Both his dates are with Mia, played by Oona Chaplin.
“I’d never met Oona before, and she came bounding in, a bundle of energy and very quirky, and I could straight away see how her character could be likable,” said Mellor. “Because you can read her character on the page and it doesn’t read like she’s a nice person at all. But when she plays the part, you can see she’s got a reason why she is the way she is. And you find that out later on, down the line.”
How to Find Love Online
The mating season continues on Tuesday 18 June 2013 with How to Find Love Online, the first of a two-part guide to online dating. Presented by Dawn O’Porter, the show explores why nine million Brits logged onto a dating site in 2011 in what is now a £170 million business.
The show follows 25 hopefuls in the their first foray into online dating, exploring the benefits and the dangers, as well as explaining how to get the best out of it. O’Porter also checks to see the precautions the companies running these sites take to make sure the data are safe.
Made by Garden Productions, the show was produced by Alison Ramsay and executive produced by Hamo Forsyth.
An interactive documentary series, First Dates (due to start on Thursday 20th June 2013) invites people who are looking for love to take part. Each week, they will film them on their first date in a specially set up restaurant where everyone is on a first date. Their conversations and actions will be captured and afterwards each will be interviewed about how the evening went.
The big question will be whether they will go on a second date with that person. If they say no, then the show will ask the viewers to put themselves forward as a potential partner for that person’s next date, and the one chosen will be in a future episode.
Why am I Still Single?
Provisionally scheduled for Wednesday 26th June 2013, Why am I Still Single? picks a single man and a single woman to investigate each other’s behaviour to find why each is struggling to find love. They will meet each other’s friends and relatives, as well as their ex-partners, and have free access to their emails and social networking accounts; they will even sleep in each other’s beds. And all this will take place before they meet.
When they do meet, they will tell each other why they think they are still single. The show will return to them a few weeks later to see if what they have learnt has helped them change.
Seneca Productions made the programme, which was produced and directed by Juliet Riddell and executive produced by Neil Crombie and Joe Evans.