Wednesday, 12 July 2017
734 Blind Date
First viewed : Autumn 1985
I first watched this hoping to learn something, having never actually been on a date at this point.
I was soon disabused of that notion but it was entertaining for a while. Along with Surprise Surprise ( which I never watched ), it marked a major comeback for presenter Cilla Black who'd spent nearly a decade toiling away in cabaret after the demise of her BBC variety show in 1976.
Blind Date had a simple format. The audience were introduced to three guys or girls then they were hidden and a girl or guy as the case may be chose one of them from the answers they gave to three questions put to them. They were then revealed and the happy or not couple were told where they were being sent for their date. The following week some date footage was shown followed by a separate review of the date from each party then a joint interview where Cilla subtly probed - this was a family show - whether or not they'd had sex . There were two rounds per show. Occasionally the contestants were much older people but generally the show stuck with the under-forties.
It quickly became apparent that neither the questions nor the answers were spontaneous so the chooser was making their judgement on the delivery of pre-written material. This didn't prevent the show being an absolute ratings banker for a decade and a half.
I don't know when I got fed up of it, probably some time in the late eighties but I do recall seeing one of the final series in 2002-03 which introduced the "Date or Ditch" option where the chooser had the option of rejecting their choice and calling back one of those rejected unseen for her date. Cilla didn't like this - quite rightly - and decided to quit the show. Replacements were mooted but it was instead decided to put the show to bed.
Channel 5 revived the series earlier this year with Paul O'Grady replacing his fellow Scouser as host.