Everything you need to know about First Dates series 3

Channel 4's dating show is back, with some exciting new changes. Here are all the behind-the-scenes secrets your heart desires...

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“I drive vans full of explosives,” Natasha the fireworks display co-ordinator tells Scott, a lager-drinking ex-jockey who rides a scooter and has already forgotten her name. “Even a restraining order wouldn’t keep me quiet.”

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This might sound like the opening scene of a comedy sketch show but it’s actually something far better – it’s the third series of Channel 4’s First Dates

The fixed-rig dating series shows us the scary, exciting and sometimes absolutely awful experience of two strangers meeting for the first time. When it goes well, it’s beautiful, sparkly and exciting, but when it goes badly it can be heartbreaking stuff. All of human life seems to exist within the First Dates restaurant…

To get in on the action, RadioTimes.com went on a date with Channel 4 for a sneak peek at the new series and discovered some behind-the-scenes secrets from the programme-makers, daters and (new additions!) the waiters. So here are all the First Dates answers your heart desires…

How is this series different from the last two?

-More couples could hit it off

“This series we really wanted people to get on and find love,” says First Dates editor Nicola Lloyd. “So we did quite a thorough matching process.”

“We all thought we’d play slightly less with an opposites attracting thing and we’d go more for people who might have an obvious harmonious attraction,” adds executive producer Simon Dickson.

-The waiters are now a feature…

Maître d Fred Sirieix is French, friendly and able to quote Shakespeare’s love sonnets and Jean Paul Sartre at the drop of a hat. For eight years, Fred has acted as General Manager at Galvin at Windows, the Michelin-starred restaurant on the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane. Here is a guide to Fred’s best love quotes, updated with each episode…

We suspect some of the daters (and the viewers too) might want dinner with him instead of their match…

“Bringing in the staff and making them a feature gives our daters an experience from the moment they come through the door,” says Lloyd. “Everything’s geared towards making them as comfortable as possible to give them the best opportunity to find a spark.”

Waiters and bar staff CiCi (below), Laura and Merlin are also brilliant additions, providing their own dating anecdotes and speculating about the customers. 

How do they do the matchmaking?

It’s based on things in common, likes and dislikes, the relationship history, deal breakers, age, height and region, which is a tricky one say the programme-makers.

“To make sure you’re matching people within the same region is really difficult with time limit and budget. We just made it a priority because that gives them a better shot at it actually working. So if someone was from Manchester we’d try to match them within a half an hour journey from there.”

“50% of our daters said they’d go on a second date,” says Lloyd. “So we’ve got quite a good hit rate but it’s all about chemistry. And you can’t account for that. You’ve either got it or you haven’t.”

And finally, where’s the restaurant? We might want to peek inside…

…or even go on a date. The realm of romance is Paternoster Chop House, near London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, 1 Warwick Court, Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7DX.

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The first episode of First Dates series three will air on Friday 6th March at 10pm on Channel 4