In­side the weird world of Celebs Go Dat­ing

heat dis­cov­ers just what goes down at the very ex­clu­sive dat­ing agency

Heat (UK) - - Contents -

Guys, we’re call­ing it: Tin­der is dead. As if repet­i­tive strain in­jury caused by ex­ces­sive thumb swip­ing isn’t bad enough, there’s the risk you’ll find an ex on there, get cat­fished, or re­ceive an un­so­licited dick pic. That’s why we’re big fans of old-school dat­ing agen­cies – es­pe­cially when they have TV’S finest re­al­ity stars on their books.

To cel­e­brate the re­turn of our favourite love-seek­ing se­ries (soz, First Dates), we delved be­hind the scenes to find out just what ex­actly goes into mak­ing a per­fect match. Be­cause celebs de­serve true love, too…

“We had ap­prox­i­mately 10,000 ap­pli­cants this se­ries,” re­veals an in­sider at the Chan­nel 4 show. “The agents then team up with the cast­ing and re­search team to work through the ap­pli­ca­tions – from there, we se­lect about 50 sin­gle­tons, en­sur­ing we have the right mix for our choosy celebs.”

One such lucky lass last year was Vic­to­ria Win­ter­ford, 26, a per­sonal trainer from Es­sex, who went on dates with both Calum Best and James “Arg” Ar­gent in se­ries four. “I ap­plied and, a week later, they got me in for film­ing,” she tells us. “They asked me things like, ‘Who do you most fancy from MIC?’ and ‘Who’s your star

crush?’ but they didn’t tell me which celebs would be ap­pear­ing – I think they wanted to keep it as or­ganic as pos­si­ble. Then at the mixer, the pro­duc­ers took a step back.” Ah yes, the mixer – the Dante’s In­ferno of dat­ing, where the lucky civil­ians are gath­ered to­gether in a night­club be­fore the celebrity clients make their en­trance. Then, our stars cir­cu­late, re­view­ing their op­tions, be­fore go­ing in for the kill. “You kind of for­get the cam­eras are there,” Vic­to­ria re­calls. “But at one point, the pro­duc­ers pulled me aside and mic’d me up – that’s when you know you’re go­ing to be on cam­era.”

Becca Ma­son – a health­care as­sis­tant who dated child star-turned-beef­cake Jonathan Lip­nicki in se­ries five – re­mem­bers the mixer be­ing a “very, very long day”. She tells us, “Once the celebs know who they want to speak to, the pro­duc­ers set it up. They didn’t reshoot things, but they came over and told the girls I was chat­ting to not to lean in front of me. They also gave us a lit­tle run­down about Jonathan – no­body knew who he was! The only thing that rang a bell was when they men­tioned his film Stu­art Lit­tle. I knew more about the other celebs, as they were all re­al­ity stars.” This year, with the ex­cep­tion of orig­i­nal Su­gababe Mutya Buena, all the celebrity ro­mancers are re­al­ity TV, born and bred. Surely, then, it’s fit­ting that they’ll find love via the same route – es­pe­cially when they’re al­ready sea­soned ex­perts at get­ting hot and heavy for the cam­eras. Ac­cord­ing to our in­sider, Stephen Bear and Mike Tha­las­si­tis hold the joint record for hav­ing the most snogs through­out the show – al­though that could all change this time around.

Pre­vi­ous celebs get briefed

This year’s lovelorn celebs

Like what you see, Arg?

Vic­to­ria Win­ter­ford on a date with Calum Best

Becca Ma­son strug­gles to recog­nise Jonathan Lip­nicki

Bobby Nor­ris puck­ers up

Gemma: dat­ing diva

Eyal: still look­ing for love

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