Issy, a 22 drama student from Kent is looking for something specific: “My sexual preference is a lesbian who likes David Tennant”. While her date Claire, 22, doesn’t mention a particular love of the former Doctor, she does suggest they do a tequila shot, and the ice is immediately broken.
The latest episode of First Dates is full of moments that make you feel wholly encouraged by the human race, not least Olive, an 80 year-old retired teacher who is on a date with 82-year-old Terence. They both admit that while company would be lovely, a bit of sex wouldn’t go amiss either. In just one casual sentence, they manage to dispel the myth that the elderly have no interest in anything more intimate than team Scrabble.
It’s deeply moving, too. As they discuss the strange and awful experience of being widowed, Terence suggests to Olive that at least she has memories of her late husband to comfort her, to which she replies softly but poignantly, “yes but memories are no damn good.” And without giving the date’s outcome away, Olive says one of the most elegant, brilliant lines ever uttered on the show. “If Terence asked me to go to the theatre I would probably accept…with alacrity.” (Take note folks, and use that line on your next romantic encounter…)
Talking of elegance, maître d’ Fred is on form with cliched observations about love that would make a Brit balk, but which he gets away with because he’s French. “Its about that connection, it’s about that bond, it’s about that warmth,” he croons. In a rather surreal scene, however, he sings Pretty Woman from afar as one of the daters walks in. She is pretty, yes, but is serenading a customer with a song about a prostitute saved by Richard Gere strictly professional?
The First Dates matchmakers have prioritised location in this series, matching people who live or work in the same region wherever possible. And it really does make a noticeable difference in how the daters bond. “We’re classy, because we’re from Essex!” laughs 22 year-old hospital caterer Frankie. And if Charlie wasn’t a primary school teacher, he’d be prime material for reality soap The Only Way is Essex with his teeth-whitening strips and tinted moisturiser in winter. “It’s got to be done,” he says. After trying and failing to order a WKD at the bar (as if French Fred would allow it to be stocked!) he says, “it’s important to have sex somewhere surprising…round the back of Homebase.” If all goes well, his date is in for a treat…
The show’s top offering in episode four has to be Mitchell from Manchester, who looks a lot like Robbie Williams and wants to settle down ASAP. He also cross-dresses as a woman named Michelle, and his date’s response is another example of why First Dates is so interesting. You never know how human beings will react to an unexpected moment.
With David Tennant-loving lesbians, octogenarians and cross-dressers, this could be the best First Dates yet. As Fred would say, “et voila, c’est l’amour!”