I am old enough to remember the good old glory days of Blind Date on ITV with the late, great Miss Cilla Black. It was a dating show that was fun to its core and was brilliant entertainment fit for all the family to see. Many years later as a student I can remember also getting into another ITV dating show called Dial-a-Date. It was a much cheaper and bit racier version of Blind Date, but I used to regularly look forward to watching it late on a Friday night. However, last night I watched a programme that has to be the WORST dating show that has EVER been seen on British television. Naked Attraction on Channel 4 is the new dating show where people select another to go on a date with, based on the quality of their……..BOOBS AND BITS!!
Near the end of the show presenter Anna Richardson said to second picker Mal,
“You’re one very confused woman right now aren’t you”?
I was sat there watching this thinking, I’m one very confused viewer right now, puzzled how this dire show ever got commissioned in the first place. It truly was diabolical stuff to watch. It was not fun or educational or brilliantly informative, rather most of the dialogue boarded on the idiotic and the nudity on show had a rather uncomfortable voyeuristic element to it. Usually, I have a lot of time for presenter Anna Richardson but if she has not sacked her agent yet for giving her this gig, then my best advise to her is that she needs to do so now………. without delay!
The format of the show consisted of one fully dressed picker in each half of the show, coming to the centre of the studio and seeing six naked people standing behind a coloured panel that hid their identity(and modesty for the time being). It was about the furthest thing that you could get away from the brutal Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs, but I have to admit to smirking and thinking about this analogy as the contestants were referred to us as “Mr Pink”, “Mr Orange” and “Mr Red”, etc. Firstly, the panels were raised enough so we JUST saw their genitals which were then duly evaluated by Aina(first picker) and presenter Anna Richardson. I say evaluated, their comments were more like something that you would hear from a randy bunch of women that were out on weekend hen-do in Blackpool.
After then looking at their bottoms and weighing up which ones she liked and which she did not, Aina then had to eliminate the first contestant. Next the coloured panels were lifted up so all but their faces were on show now. Again, Aina and Anna then went around them to judge. It was when Anna remarked in consolation to the second eliminated contestant Maxwell that “Aina loved your bouncy balls”, that I shook my head in disbelief and thought what on earth am I watching here. I am not prude by any means, I am not related to Hyacinth Bucket in any way, nor have I ever been a member of The Women’s Institute(just in case you had been wondering) but this show was too much, i.e coarse and crude.
Eventually the contestants were whittled down to two(faces and voices revealed by now) and this was where we saw the picker now get naked with them too. With the second female picker especially who was a young bisexual lady from Guildford called Mal, the big build up of her also getting her kit off had this slightly uneasy pervy feel to it for me. Aina and Mal then chose the winner by selecting who they would like to go on a date with(clothes on for this one). We saw footage of their dates and then a reporting back a few weeks later about how things were going, i.e were still dating each other or not?
Throughout both of the picking processes the action broke away momentarily as Anna Richardson in prerecorded graphic clips, told us about some utterly useless statistic or bit of information regarding sex and dating. For example, there was the one about how if you have over one hundred moles on your body then it makes you appear seven years younger. Another one was how symmetrical faces in men is linked to good quality sperm, and a third one was how having lots of pubic hair can lead to greater arousal in your sexual partner. WHO CARES ABOUT KNOWING SUCH STUFF LIKE THIS???? Such segments were undoubtedly there to break the action up(the long drawn out boobs and bits elimination process). I also wonder if it was an attempt to try and rise the tone of the programme with a bit of science, a barmy and failed idea if this was the case though.
There was so much of awful dialogue throughout the show that some did make me chuckle in my despair. For example, in the intro VT stuff where Mal identified herself she said the following(straight faced),
“Guys originally see me as a bit of a fantasy”.
This was then followed up by a good mate of hers revealing to us how she had no idea how Mal was still single. I reckon this very modest statement (NOT) from Mal might just be a very big clue as to why she had been single for the last three years.
We had utter garbage spoken by the eliminated contestants about how what a great experience taking part in the show had been…..REALLY???? We had the first guy eliminated say how it had been “an empowering experience”. For me, it felt like the producers fully suspected what enormous flak would be coming their way after this first episode aired, so they then better have the contestants spouting afterwards how brilliant it had been to have been part of such a new social experiment. My highlight(in a bad way) of the show was when Laura(the fifth person to be eliminated by Mal) said the following,
“I definitely feel like I’ve achieved something massive here”.
I nearly fell off my chair upon hearing this comment because how can going into a TV studio and taking your kit off in front of a bunch of strangers, EVER be deemed as a massive achievement for crying out loud???? It must have taken some guts don’t get me wrong but to describe it as “MASSIVE”, blimey I almost choked on my beans on toast as I heard her utter those words.
On a more serious note, the show can be rightly criticised for giving out mixed messages regarding body image. Anna at the start of show said how, “every naked body is a wonderful thing”. This was later supported by a female contestant saying how, ‘we all come in different shapes and sizes and so it’s all good’. These views are fine but then they go against the format of the show which eliminates contestants due to the state of their naked bodies. The fact people are being judged in a pecking order on their naked bodies means really that only the bodies of the winners are being celebrated, i.e the people that got eliminated, some of their bodies were not seen as being wonderful.
At the start of the show Anna Richardson said,
“In this dating show we go back to basics and start where a good date often ends….naked”!
I have big issues with this statement. It sums people up like we just go around behaving like dogs on heat. People can go on great dates with people without then jumping into bed with them at the end. A wider but connected criticism to add here, is that this show never once mentioned the other factors that are important when trying to find a partner. For instance, a shared intelligence and sense of humour are massive factors for a lot people when looking for somebody to date. Physical attraction is important however it is far from being the ONLY factor like this show made out it was.
Perhaps this show might be enjoyed by late teenagers who are randy non-stop with raging hormones, but this late thirty something year old man writing this hated it(guessing you’ve probably realised that by now). It was not funny and it certainly was not some kind of great new social experiment like the show hinted itself to be at times. It was the worst and most bizarre piece of television that I have seen in years……..NEVER AGAIN for me!! 1/5.