Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cilla Played a Dating Blinder

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cilla Played a Dating Blinder

Article excerpt


REMEMBER when the cheesy Saturday night dating show was presented, not by Paddy McGuinness, but by lovely Cilla from Liverpool? Cilla Black's Blind Date first aired on ITV in 1984 and used to get a "lorra, lorra" viewers ... 12m weekly at its peak.

I recall it was considered slightly daring programming at the time.

Three men or women would perch side by side on stools. From the other side of a screen, unseen, a member of the opposite sex would pose a daft question - something like "If I were making a cocktail, what ingredient would you be?" ... and three mildly saucy answers would come back.

The questioner would then choose one of the three and they would go on a date ... but not before the two losers had revealed themselves first.

Some people got quite irate about the shallowness of Blind Date but its apparent premise - that looks aren't everything - seemed sound.

That said, most people's favourite moment was when all was revealed and the most gorgeous voice was found not to belong to the most gorgeous body.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. But you could usually work out who the questioner wished he or she had picked.

During the 1980s and 90s Blind Date was enormously popular not only with viewers but with contestants.

In its first 10 years, 1,000 people appeared but more than 10,000 applied annually. It certainly put oomph back into the career of Cilla, a 60s pop star who became an A-list TV star. In 1995 she was reportedly on PS3m a year from ITV. She was a mumsy figure on Blind Date, always ready with a hug and a toothy smile. And Blind Date was democratic. Male contestants alternated with female and sometimes even old people took part.

Which brings me to Take Me Out, required viewing in every household containing a teenager. …

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