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Just before my mother left our house to enjoy a lorra lorra laughs with her friends she always came into the sitting room to give me a quick reminder of her maternal affection: a peck on the cheek.
That's rather apposite, because Blind Date was undoubtedly the light entertainment equivalent of a peck on the cheek: nice, wholesome, earnest, comforting, and always leaving a faint but pleasant impression.
If he's chooser or chosen, then he wins, and gets to go on holiday to the Isle of Fernando (the real location was too embarrassed to use its real name) with a woman who will ultimately grow to loathe him in less time than it takes Jack Bauer to save the president from a terrorist attack.
Sometimes a male contestant will dance off the love lift looking like a half-melted Claymation character, wearing a bowtie and braces, and giving off the unmistakable reek of a man who’s lived in his mother’s basement for three decades.
“I think we’ll stay friends,” one of them would say, “but, you know, the sort of friends who don’t see or talk to each other ever again.” The whole concept and execution of the show felt harmless and innocent despite the odd stutter-step, like the show's American cousin The Dating Game unwittingly fielding one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, Rodney Alcala, as a contestant.
HOT SEAT CONTESTANT: “Contestant 3: If you were a cloud… ” SERIAL KILLER NO 3: “A cloud who enjoys murdering people. ” If Blind Date was a peck on the cheek, then Take Me Out – its flashier, noisier, nastier offspring – is a full-blown tongue down the throat, complete with unwelcome groping.
As my mother's hair-dryer voomed into life in the kitchen, I was to be found in the living room watching Cilla on Blind Date, contorting myself on the couch (emphatically not a euphemism), often upside down, a combination of ever-stretching limbs and rising hormones making it impossible for me to sit properly and at peace for any significant length of time.
So much has changed since the 1980s, both on TV and in society itself, that what returns to our screens may not be a straight-forward, fully-intact teleport of the format, but rather a mutant mish-mash: a half-fly Jeff Goldblum of a show just begging to be put out of its misery.