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Thread: Blind Date

  1. #1

    Default Blind Date

    As one of the first mainstream programmes to actively promote the attitude of 'I don't care how much of a berk I look, I just want to be on prime time television' Blind Date effectively opened the gate for the onslaught of reality shows that we know and unfortunately appear to love today. It showed the nation that it really didn't matter if you had no discernible talent at all; as long as you were able to screech thinly veiled innuendoes whilst giving a cheeky wink you still had a great shot at being beamed into people's living rooms on a Saturday evening. What people at home were actually thinking was 'It's easy to see why that one couldn't get a date without help,' but still they tuned in to see the contestants apparently happy to humiliate themselves. At its height in the mid-eighties 18.2 million people turned on their television sets to see Cilla 'Lorra lorra laughs' Black blind the audience with the studio lights bouncing off her sparkly, big shouldered outfits. The format of the show was simple: one loud, attention-seeking pillock sat behind a screen, and questioned three other loud, attention-seeking pillocks who were sat on the other side (they could be seen by the audience but not by the first pillock). When pillock number one had asked their three questions, and heard the ridiculous, 'aren't I hilarious? Pick me. PICK ME' pre-prepared answers (these were either hideously cheesy or laden with puerile double entendres but always tinged with an air of tragic desperation) they would then choose one of the three pillocks to go on a romantic date with, along with the Blind Date camera crew. Doesn't that sound fun? Each week there were two 'Blind Dates' - with both a man and a woman getting the opportunity to pick the best of a bad bunch for their romantic trip and Cilla ushering the process along by pretending to laugh when somebody said something not very funny at all. The great intellectualism that went into asking and answering the questions can be summed up by this example: 'How would you entertain me on our first date? 'I'm a keen guitarist - we could make sweet music together and you could pluck at my heart-strings!' The audience would coo at the cuteness of the response, whilst anybody with any taste at all was quietly being sick. When this vomit-inducing process had finished, Cilla handed over to the unseen narrator ('Here's our Graham with a quick reminder') so he could summarise each of the potential suitors in a natty sound bite which made them sound even more witless than they'd managed themselves. 'Or will you pick contestant number three, who says he likes baking, and fancies putting a bun in YOUR oven? Nicola, the choice is yours!' 'Our Graham' was the voice of Graham Skidmore (who also did the voiceover on the first five series of Shooting Stars). When ratings plummeted and the show bosses tried to vamp the show up in 2002, Our Graham was replaced by DJ and presenter Tommy Sandhu. It didn't help. Anyway, once the singleton (let's say it's a woman for this example) had chosen which of the three macho twit she wanted to date Cilla would introduce her to the two she had turned down. This led to the first genuinely amusing moment of the show; watching her face as a muscly, good-looking bloke was led straight past her - 'And you turned down the lovely Michael from Portsmouth...' - before she was introduced to her 'date', who was five foot nothing and wearing an outfit that Timmy Mallett would have turned down for being too wacky. Cilla would then proffer three envelopes; claiming that the couple could pick one of three date destinations, despite everybody actually knowing that the same place name was in each one. Here lay the second genuinely amusing moment; watching their faces when the hoped-for sunshine break in Spain turned out to be a day playing pitch 'n' putt in Scarborough. The couple then promised through forced smiles to come back the next week and tell Cilla how the date went (read 'No matter how much we humiliate ourselves we can be on television again, yay!') and off they went. The following Saturday they'd return, and you could immediately get an idea of what sort of time they'd had by how close the pair sat next to each other on Cilla's sofa whilst they watched a video of their experience. This was generally a fairly bland overview of what had happened as the real dirt would be dished next, in their individual VTs. There each person would get their chance to say how atrocious the other's personal habits were, how much their breath smelt and how their laugh sounded like a cow with hiccups. The other one's reaction could be seen in a small pop-up in the corner of the screen. The most fun was to be had when one of them (let's say the guy this time) was completely oblivious to how the other one was feeling. He would beam into the camera, waxing lyrical about how he thought this was the start of a fantastic relationship and that he could have found 'the one' before the film then cut to the girl saying how dull he was, how he spent the whole time talking about his collection of On The Buses memorabilia and how she couldn't wait to see the back of him. Crushed wasn't the word. Then they had to face each other on the sofa, where Cilla would lean in sympathetically and say 'Oh Mandy, how could you say that about our lovely Richard?' knowing full well that he was in fact as much of a prat as Mandy had described him as. The idea for Blind Date came from successful formats Perfect Match (in Australia) and The Dating Game (the US). The UK pilot was fronted by Duncan 'Chase Me' Norvelle and was called 'It's a Hoot' (no idea what that had to do with dating, unless it was originally a show for owls...) but John Birt, who was then the Director of Programmes at LWT, and the Independent Broadcasting Authority's regulatory body weren't comfortable with Norvelle's campness. The producer of the pilot, Alan Boyd, was also the producer of LWT's Sunday evening tear-fest Surprise, Surprise which was hosted by Ginger Scouse Cilla Black, whom he thought would be perfect for the new show. So, with a new name and a new face at the helm Blind Date was launched. It ran from 30 November 1985 until 31 May 2003, with a revamp of the format in 2002 to try and halt the ratings slide. This didn't help however, and when the 18th and final series began (for the first time as a live show) Cilla announced that she would be jumping ship (she didn't actually use those words of course) which came as a complete Surprise, Surprise to the programme crew, who hadn't been told beforehand. There were intentions for a new host to be found and Blind Date to live on, but at the end of the series it was announced that there would be no more, and badly-dressed, attention-starved fame seekers across the country sighed with disappointment. Most of the contestants on Blind Date faded back into obscurity, but several went on to become 'famous' (this is using the word in its least impressive sense, which you'll understand when you read the next few names) - Amanda Holden, Jenni Falconer and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson all giggled inanely on the LWT stage. Comedian Ed Byrne also appeared on the show, but whether you find him funny or not, at least he's done slightly more throughout his career to earn his fame than simply smile vapidly into a camera. The 356 episodes produced only three marriages, which is a pretty rubbish statistic given that over 700 couples appeared on the show over the years. What can we learn from this? Well, perhaps that it's pretty near impossible to pick your life partner from a selection of only three people (and let's remember that it was three of the kind of people who would voluntarily go on Blind Date) by asking three questions completely unrelated to love, relationships or genuine compatibility. Still, it gave Cilla the chance to buy three new hats.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    i know it could be a bit cheesy but i really diod like it.
    to me its still the best show of its kind.

    to me its what a dating show should be.

    very clean show if you know what i mean.


    i watched it near every week for the duration of the shows run.
    FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

  3. #3

    Default Re: Blind Date

    I really liked watching the show at the time. That old romantic in me was wishing the chosen ones to hit it off, but felt sorry for them when they met face to face and it was obvious they did not like/fancy each other. It was a much better show than the current Paddy McGuiness - Take Me Out which to me seems like cattle for sale and the humilation when the guy is not picked. Or that one (forgot the name) where they wore rubber masks (and cut outs for their eyes and mouth) well weird, and that recent Gok Wan one - called Baggage?? TBH a lot just go on to get their face on the tv.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    i sure agree with you on blind dates replacement take me out.
    im a romantic and always wished they hit it off on blind date but after they got back the following week more often than not it did not work out.

    i eventhink a couple that came from blind date got married.

    blind date was a proper dating show classy etc.








    Quote Originally Posted by Beach Life View Post
    I really liked watching the show at the time. That old romantic in me was wishing the chosen ones to hit it off, but felt sorry for them when they met face to face and it was obvious they did not like/fancy each other. It was a much better show than the current Paddy McGuiness - Take Me Out which to me seems like cattle for sale and the humilation when the guy is not picked. Or that one (forgot the name) where they wore rubber masks (and cut outs for their eyes and mouth) well weird, and that recent Gok Wan one - called Baggage?? TBH a lot just go on to get their face on the tv.
    FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    i didnt like blind date as it seems to me some shows i watched was a set up got a lovely fit looking bird and the guy picks the big godzilla with gaps in her teeth lol no not for me
    THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE TRUST NO ONE

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    I know that I should feel that Blind Date should be on my side as I am a bachelor, but at the time I did think of the show as being rather tacky, even though it was one of LWT's flagship Saturday evening series on ITV in the late 1980s and 1990s -even I had a telephone conversion with a researcher in relation to the Channel 5 series with Paul O'Grady when I wrote to them with interest, with Yours Truly giving the person on the end of the line a brief history of my relationship failures...

    Saying that, I didn't really watching it (thinking that it was a mothers and sisters' programme aka the show for Jackie readers), but in hindsight, the concept is fascinating. Our Cilla playing the cupid agony aunt, and the 1985 pilot (in which Christopher Biggins was mooted for host, I believe), would have been a failure anyway.

    Each edition always seemed to be identical: Cue 27 year old bodybuilder (and the school playground bully of 1975) Wayne from London (cue loudest applause when place name is mentioned), sitting with a ten foot screen to his left, (our right from the viewer's perspective), while behind the screen are three prostitute-alike doppelgangers, at least two of them sitting with their legs crossed while perched on stools, almost looking as if they are about to fall off them. Some ironic and scripted questions and answers, etc. Then our Wayne picks "Number One" who happens to be 22 year old barmaid, (black miniskirt wearer, and Pretty Polly endorsed) Cheryl from Manchester, with Royal Mail "keyring" earrings. (Cue loud applause, but quite as loud as the London one of course). Cheryl picks the card, and it is Tenerife. The following week, they come back - Wayne and Cheryl look like a poor man's Posh and Becks, they do the interview with the opposing person inside a small box at the bottom right of the screen. Cue Cilla speaking to them on the sofa, etc... And then we have Cilla's "are you going to see each other again?" What do you think?

    The problem is that from the man's perspective, one cannot be Mr Average, but Mr Aftershave-All-Over instead. I did think of it as being sexist at the time - perhaps my views have since mellowed in hindsight? Perhaps that is where I have been going wrong all these years?
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    They resurrected it last year here in Australia, it was still as cheesy as it was then and followed the exact same format, except they seemed to show the "date" later in the show the very same week instead of the following week, which was odd.
    The show just doesn't seem to work in the modern environment and really should have stayed in the 80s/90s - I used to enjoy watching it then on a Saturday tea time while tucking into Fish n Chips or a Chinese Takeaway with the family before going out.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    Take Me Out is in some ways an updated version of Blind Date.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    For me the Original with Cilla will never ever be eclipsed - shows like blind Date and the Gladiators, and Beverley Hills 90210 and baywatch/Noel's House POarty and Cringley Bottom and Mr Blobby will always remain cult Saurday Night TV - until people like Simon Cowell totaly bulldozed the best entetainment night of the week into the bounds of it being nothing

    Watching Cilla and the Contestants (un-known to the said date - if it was 3 men with 1 woman to choose from or vice versa) and seeing their opinuions off camera - was the ultimate as cwas the waite to see how they fared a few weeks later - all added/moulded together by throwing in by the sensational host (and Lady of many many talents) that is the ledgendary and very sadly, sadly missed Cilla Black

    80sChav

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Blind Date

    Some of the people on the show are memorable for a number of reasons.

    Does anyone remember the female "contestant" who looked as if she was dressed like a pillar box, complete with a "Captain Sensible / Roger Red Hat" beret on her head? Must have been around 1986-1987ish.

    I believed that there were not enough older people on the show - those who were widowed etc. There was one edition who had three elderly men behind the screen, and one of them was a Norman Wisdom-alike who was doing chimpanzee or ape impressions to the audience and the viewers at home. There was another man behind who took a glove puppet with him and started to perform his puppet over the 10 foot screen at the female picker - he was the one who was picked of course.

    And of course the controversies over the years as well - I am certain someone who was married happened to bluff their way onto the show as well, and a Daily Star reporter had gave them their comeuppance.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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