Get ready to see a brand new line-up of singletons finding love over dinner, as Channel 4’s First Dates returns for a new series.
Set in a brand new Manchester location, Maître d’ Fred Sirieix will be back playing cupid along with the help of his original restaurant staff Merlin, CiCi, Grant and some newcomers.
Since the show debuted in 2013, the team has matched hundreds of couples, and they’ve seen many success stories including a few engagements, a marriage and a baby.
This series is set to see more daters get their happily ever after.
So when is it back? And does COVID now mean dates will have to get their flirt on from a two-metre distance?
Here’s everything you need to know about series 16 of First Dates.
When is First Dates back?
The new series of First Dates will air on Channel 4 on Tuesday 19th January at 10pm.
Who is Fred Sirieix?
Sirieix is the Maître d’ on the Channel 4 show. Alongside his staff members, he overseas the dating process in the restaurant greeting guests and ensuring their dates go well.
He decided to take part in the show because “it sounded fun and you have to consider any opportunity.” He added: “I looked carefully at it and became sure it was a good programme at heart.”
He was also Maître d’ on the First Dates spin-off show, First Dates Abroad.
Who are the staff at the First Dates restaurant?
Original staff members Merlin, CiCi and Grant will return for the new series. The well known trio will be joined by newcomers Daniella, Fiona and David.
You can read more about the First Dates staff, including what the new members had to say about joining the team.
Where is First Dates filmed?
Since the show first aired, it has been filmed at Paternoster Chop House in London’s St Paul’s area. Paternoster Chop House, more commonly known as the First Dates restaurant, is located just under St Paul’s Cathedral.
Series 16, however, will take place in a brand new location, inviting viewers into the Manchester restaurant for the first time.
Has COVID affected filming for First Dates?
Viewers will be happy to hear that filming has continued as normal.
Speaking to press including RadioTimes.com, newcomer David revealed that daters are allowed to have a cheeky kiss if they wish to as the show is filmed on a close set and in a safe environment.
He said: “When we are filming it is a closed set. Our restaurant is not open to the general public during filming. So when we were there, we did follow strict protocols, which did enable us to be in a safe environment and allow some daters to be able to kiss if they wish.”
How to apply for First Dates
If you’re looking for love, First Dates could be the place to find it.
To apply for the show, applicants must fill out a form at https://www.twentytwenty.tv/casting/first-dates_677.aspx
You must be over 18 to apply and those aged between 16 and 19 may wish to apply for the teen version instead. A separate link on the website will direct you to this form.
The application form requires basic information such as your name, age, and contact details as well as information about you, your dating preferences and body type.
Applicants are also required to upload a photo, and links to social media accounts are requested as well, although this doesn’t appear to be a mandatory field.
First Dates starts on Channel 4 on Tuesday 19th January at 10pm. Looking for something to watch? Find out what is on with our TV Guide.