Come Date With Me Review: More Lamb!

COME DATE WITH ME: Monday 5th December, C4, 5pm

What do you get if you cross Come Dine With Me and Blind Date?

No, not Cilla Black fronting a cookery show! But Come Date With Me, an all-new spin on Channel 4’s popular hybrid reality hit.

In case you are lamenting the loss of one the few entertaining reality shows to grace our screens, you’ll be pleased to hear the premise isn’t all too dissimilar to the old one. In fact, it’s pretty much the same but with an extra splash of aftershave and an air of palpable desperation. There are still people hosting dinner parties, as well as the usual incredible cringe-making gaffs, and best of all… narrator Dave Lamb is still there to take the Michael out of the whole chaotic affair. The twist is that this time the contestants are competing not for cash, but instead the affections of their potential ‘date’ and the honour of being picked by them after a week of attempting to impress.

This first episode sees the lovely Tracey – a 28 year old trainee drama teacher and in her own words “a small, gobby northernerâ€? – hosting a dinner party for five potential love-interests. At the end of the night she is forced to (rather cruelly) choose the four out of five guys she wishes to in turn wine and dine her over the coming week. The fifth is left to head home with his tail between his legs, and the knowledge that he has failed in the potential love stakes. (Perhaps he might try his luck on Take Me Out.) Eventually, the highest scoring evening will win a date with Tracey and £1000 to go towards the night. Or perhaps to spread out over a few, I imagine most of the lads would be more at home with Pizza Hut and a movie. (Although they might be inclined to splash out on some popcorn, it’s a special occasion after all…)

So let’s face it; the viewer was never really all that interested in the cooking aspect of Come Dine, and as the last few series have probably shown, neither are the contestants. If you are in need of some cookery tips – Jamie Oliver is your man. What we really tune in to see are the cooking disasters and kitchen hissy fits, rudeness and the rifling through drawers. Ultimately, we want the spectacle of people making utter prats of themselves. Which thankfully is exactly what Come Date With Me delivers…

The makers of the programme have not disappointed with their choice of contestant; overexcited Matt, Irish-charmer Wayne, vain Will, bland John H, and cringe-maker John D are the first hapless bunch to give romance a go, and they’re all fairly annoying yet likeable in their own David Brent-style way. Amidst the now standard game of guessing occupations, stand-up comedian John D gets off to a bad start with Tracey appropriately retorting… “Really? But you’re not even funny!â€?

Not intentionally of course, and as usual it’s this type of unwitting hilarity which does provide the laughs. In addition to this, is the fact that in contrast to the old format, this time the contestants actually care about impressing and will seemingly go to any lengths in order to do so. Cue a bit of bitching, a dance-off (yes, really) and a great moment whereby two of the lads attempt to out-do each other with an array of accents. A note for all you lotharios out there – and as one contestant demonstrates – nothing can beat a Gollum impression.

After a whopping twenty-four series, perhaps the show was in need of a facelift and Come Date With Me is successful in giving a well-worn format a bit of a jazzing up. The dating set-up is an inevitable way of amping up the fun, and Dave Lamb and his sarcastic shtick naturally provide a perfect comedy backing track. Like all dating shows there is bound to be a touch of fleeting romance but (sorry Cilla), I doubt there’ll be any buying of hats. Just as the narrator says when one contestant attempts to do the iconic Dirty Dancing lift in the living room, you can guarantee that somewhere along the line “it’s all going to end in tearsâ€?.