Flirty Dancing: do we really need another dating show?

Flirty Dancing on Channel 4 promises to "bring back old-fashioned romance" to the dating game – does it succeed?

Flirty Dancing (Channel 4)

Do we really need another dating show? It feels as if channels have explored practically every format humanly possible since TV first struck gold with the godfather of the genre, Blind Date.

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Since Cilla Black and our Graham paired hopeful singletons together, we’ve seen all of human endeavour turned into an opportunity to fall in love – with varying rates of success.

Come Dine With Me-styled Dinner Date, complete with its own irritating narrator doing their best Dave Lamb impression, was one of the better offerings. First Dates, complete with sexy French maître d′ Fred Sirieix, is equal parts endearing and embarrassing.

But for every match made in TV heaven comes a messy broadcasting break-up.

Remember the appalling Dress to Impress (people aiming to find romance based on how they dressed the other person), Dating in the Dark (pretty self-explanatory), and the truly eye-watering Naked Attraction, which arguably left the dating programme genre with absolutely nowhere else to go.

Except, no: now there is Flirty Dancing, Channel 4’s new ‘dance dating show’.

Aiming to “bring back old-fashioned romance” to the increasingly online, swipe-right world of dating, Flirty Dancing’s USP is that couples don’t see each other – or even learn each other’s name – until they perform their first dance together.

Flirty Dancing (Channel 4)

Yet another throwaway gimmick? Perhaps – but somehow, sparks fly. Flirty Dancing works.

Maybe it’s the slick cinematic production that prevents Flirty Dancing from feeling cheap, coupled (sorry) with a genuine thrill of romance as the prospective partners perform a routine choreographed by the deeply invested Ashley Banjo.

By performing the dances out in the real world instead of inside a studio (one takes place at the top of a lookout tower, another in a museum, a third on a pier), Flirty Dancing gives the programme a real La La Land vibe – which is by no means a bad thing.

Flirty Dancing (Channel 4)

There’s honestly something quite touching too in the way the pairs look at each other when they see each other for the first time: the great big grin that singleton Dan gives Luke in the first episode when the two hopefuls turn to face each other is genuinely heartwarming.

Whether the couples really go quickstepping into a new life together remains to be seen, but there’s one thing for certain – Flirty Dancing has reignited my love for dating shows.

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Flirty Dancing begins Thursday 10th January at 10pm on Channel 4


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