Tuesday, 10 April 2012
This is most definitely a programme I should not allow myself to like, watch or discuss in polite company. Yet for the last thirteen weeks me and the missus have tuned in to watch young women, leer and letch after a selection of young men.
The women are not invariably gorgeous, blond and leggy, the men are not always tall, dark and handsome; although in the main both sexes are represented by a reasonably "fit" cross section of the population.
The idea of the show is straightforward. Thirty women stand behind individual podiums which, to begin with, are lit up. Paddy then introduces a guy, who descends in a tube to raunchy music and baying birds and presents himself to the young women. From this very brief perusal, and a short video bio, the women have to decide whether or not they fancy dating the guy. If they do they leave their light on; if not - "No Likey, No Lighty"- they turn them off.
Usually the guys get past this first trial - there's bound to be someone with their light on! In the next round, a friend, mum or sibling gives a mini character reference. After that the women are again asked to vote. If one or more lights remain on, the bloke's guaranteed a date and it's his turn then to switch off all the remaining lights except two and after the duo have answered the same stupid question, the bloke chooses the one he'll take on a date to the island of Fernandos (aka somewhere on the Spanish coast).
They then trot off together while the remaining 29 girls and the audience sing some appropriate disco anthem to accompany our duo on their way to the Island of Dreams.
Part of the fun is following up on the date the next week. Invariably, they do some sporty activity, speak about two words to each other over a "romantic " meal by the sea and swear never to see each other again. Occasionally love or, I suspect, more likely lust is kindled and it's apparent that they'll be in each others pants the moment the cameras stop running.
It all clean fun: and Paddy McGuiness who I thought was a total tosser to begin with has wormed his way into my affections with his Cheeky Chappie patter.
What is dispiriting is that every judgement is based on the look of the boy or girl. Clothes are frightfully important, especially the cut of the lads' jeans, the shoes and shirt. A well developed body - something I have a very distant memory of - is usually a winner. The blokes seem to chose the girls based solely on the colour of their hair and their curves.
A bloke can be blown out "Not Likely" for the most insignificant of reasons. "You said you like fishing" or "I can't stand a mummy boy and you have a mother!"
Over the weeks you get to know, in a small way, some of the women who don't get picked. Alarmingly I find them the most attractive; and if finally they do get a date I am over the moon - it's the father in me. But, in general, the show's young women leave me cold.
They're too young, too unblemished, too uninteresting.
Unlike Dame Judie Dench whose bio-pic was featured on the box over the weekend. She may be in her late 70's but I find her amazing. She's interesting, attractive and clearly has a fantastic sense of humour. In my books she is the best "M" ever.
I can see exactly why Bill Nighy left Penelope Wilton at the airport to team up with Dame Judie in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".