Channel 4’s matchmaking series First Dates returned last night for its 16th series, with Fred Sirieix and his staff relocating to Manchester to entertain daters up north for the first time.
Long-time fans will have noticed, however, that Laura Tott, who’s has been a waitress in the First Dates restaurant for several series, is missing from the current instalment.
Tott works as a paramedic outside of the show but has been a First Dates staple since 2015.
Here’s everything you need to know about why Laura is no longer on the show.
Why isn’t Laura on First Dates?
Ahead of the series 16 premiere, Laura Tott spoke about her absence from the show, revealing that the First Dates team “decided to freshen up the team” ahead of the show’s move to Manchester.
Writing in an Instagram post, Tott said the producers wanted to “freshen up the team for this series with some new local faces among the old faces”, so she won’t be featuring.
“To be honest, I don’t actually know how I would have fit filming in this year with working during the pandemic, I’ve needed everyday off to chill out so it’s actually been a welcomed break.
“I’ve missed the whole team though that’s for sure.”
She added that she still considers herself a part of the “First Dates family” and hopes she’ll be back on the show in the future before wishing the new waiting team good luck.
Three new team members joined the First Dates staff for the current series – Daniella, David and Fiona. They made their debut on the show alongside returning staff Fred, Merlin, Cici and Grant.