Last week, the UK edition of Blind Date managed a minor coup and another quick suck at the oxygen of publicity. It transpired that the first of their dates had been stood up by his partner at the boarding gate for the flight to Nepal. He was forced to enjoy the break alone, with only the company of an elephant for dinner. Meanwhile, the blonde poodle he had accidentally chosen sat at home and tried to come to terms with her fear of hiking boots and outside lavs. During the playback, the audience was enthusiastic in booing her absence at every mention. Her unfortunate beau has apparently been fighting off interest from women probably even dumber than his first choice ever since. Do not feel sorry for this chump. The whole sorry match is fixed from the start, so the fool must have disregarded his natural instincts when making his choice. The girl and boy were meant for someone, but not each other. Besides, what were the odds of his date working out, given the stunningly duff success rate of the programme? Hasn't it become clear yet that NO, throwing two complete strangers together, even when carefully vetted, does not work?
We know that Blind Date is a set-up - whereas before, we just assumed it was - thanks to the inside report from a Cosmopolitan journalist, who turned out to be the second of the night's big revelations. No, I don't have much admiration for frustrated tabloid writers, and ordinarily I'd say Cosmo is exactly the right quality journal to be undertaking this assignment, but unfortunately this girl was found out before the followup programme. Unfortunate because it gave Cilla and her arrogant crew the opportunity to expose her on-screen, draw agonised looks of betrayal from her date, and indulge in some faux hurt, self-righteous comments regarding her deception. Cilla accused her of misleading and thus cynically duping both her date and the audience, in the sole interest of a good story. If there's any cynicism here, it's the glass and a half that goes into every edition of Blind Date, the sorry excuse for entertainment that shamelessly panders to a low-brow taste for salacious gossip and Cilla's piss-poor dress sense. When did it ever stake a claim to integrity? Everyone selected for the show has an ego two sizes bigger than their clothes and is so desperate for recognition, publicity, a TV contract, that they practically slide down their stools pleading, "Please love me! I'm fun and wacky and I have a cheeky smile!" No, you're dull and irritating, you're only fit for hummus and you can get the hell out of my living room. Asshole.
So yes, shame on that journalist. Not for wasting time on this grim charade (granted, it's better viewing than "Surprise Surprise", Cilla's other deathgrip on celebrity), nor for misleading the undoubted tosser who dated her (would you want to go out with someone who was on Blind Date?) and the slack-jawed, drooling proles in the audience. Shame on her for not simply turning to Cilla in mid-rant, raising one finger and saying:
"Oh fuck off, you stupid Scouse slapper!"
31st January 1998
Update, 1st March 1998: Having now read the aforementioned Cosmo article, courtesy of my (rather attractive) young researcher, I can't say it failed to live up to expectations. It's exactly the kind of second rate, knock-kneed journalism that the programme deserves. But while I'm sceptical about its authoritative accuracy, I'm quite prepared to take it as true in the interest of lowering my opinion of Blind Date even further.