How to watch First Dates – what’s it about and who’s in it?

Find out where to stream the heart-warming dating show - and everything else you need to know

first dates

There are few reality television shows that capture such a mix of British people as First Dates – with its oldest ever dater at 97, the show offers respite from the plastic perfection of ITV’s Love Island, without sacrificing an ounce of romance.

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In the series, singletons are set up on blind dates in a London restaurant and are filmed throughout their date as they discover more about each other, and finally – if all goes well – agree to see each other again for a second date, off-camera. The program has led to numerous successful relationships and even some marriage proposals.

Where to watch First Dates?

First Dates is broadcast on Channel 4 at 10pm on Tuesdays. But you can also catch up on the series on Channel 4 On Demand or on BritBox. Sadly, the series isn’t currently on Netflix or iTunes.

How does First Dates work?

First Dates Fred Sirieix
First Dates Fred Sirieix (C4, FT)

Hosted by Fred Sireix, First Dates is a reality television programme which films singletons out on blind dates. The matches are painstakingly thought through by the Channel 4 team so that the couples have the best possible chance of getting along. But as heartwarming as it is to watch two strangers meeting their perfect match, much of the comedy of the show comes from the unfortunate clashes in personality that sometimes occur.

The original format of the show sees two members of the public, who have never met before, sent on a date in a restaurant. Then, at the end of the date, they have to decide whether or not they would like to go on a second date.

How is First Dates different from Celebrity First Dates and First Dates Hotel?

If you can’t get enough of the show, you might also want to watch Celebrity First Dates and First Dates Hotel, which slightly alter the basic format of the show.

Celebrity First Dates is the same as First Dates, except (obviously) instead of members of the public meeting for a blind date, the show uses celebrity guests. So far the series has featured stars such as Coronation Street‘s Daniel Brocklebank, The Only Way Is Essex‘s Joey Essex, and Gogglebox‘s Sandra Martin.

First Dates Hotel is just like the original series, but the restaurant is part of a hotel which the couples are allowed to check in to at the end of the evening if the date goes well, and then go on a second date the next day. Le Vieux Castillion in Castillon-du-Gard was used for series one, whilst Aquapetra Resort & Spa in Campania was used for series two.

Where is First Dates filmed?

First Dates is filmed at the Paternoster Chop House in London, and there are over 40 cameras hidden in the restaurant to make it feel as natural as possible for the daters.

First Dates: Ian
First Dates: Ian

How to apply for First Dates

It’s easy to apply for First Dates, and it helps if you have active social media accounts so the producers can find out as much about you as possible. Just fill in their online application form, and you might get a call to be on the next series.

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But don’t apply just for the free food (not that we would ever consider trying that…) because although each couple gets a contribution towards the price of the meal, they do have to pay for most of it.