Inside the weird world of Celebs Go Dating
heat discovers just what goes down at the very exclusive dating agency
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