FIRST DATES: CHANNEL 4 ANNOUNCES NEW LOCATION AND REFRESHED FORMAT FOR DATING SERIES
Channel 4 and Twenty Twenty Productions have revealed the city of Bath will be the new filming location for the famous First Dates restaurant, set to become the romantic hot-spot at the heart of the BAFTA-winning dating series.
Returning for a brand-new series after 10 years of matchmaking on screen, maître d’ Fred Sirieix and his team of cupids will be hoping sparks fly between a new line-up of blind daters when filming will take place this summer at The Botanist bar & restaurant in Bath.
Recently voted the UK’s most romantic city and holding the top spot on polls as the UK’s most beautiful city, Bath is famed for its charming period architecture, the historical Roman baths, as well as its connection to celebrated author Jane Austen. The Botanist restaurant site is inside the Grade II listed Octagon Chapel, built in 1766 and known to have been visited by Austen.
The new location won’t be all that’s changing about the series. Along with a striking new restaurant home, the tenth anniversary season will launch brand-new cast members, a format refresh, and some of the most unforgettable dating moments the show has ever featured.
As the fitting new home of the UK’s most romantic show, the move is part of Twenty Twenty’s ongoing commitment to the UK regions, where a number of the production team will be based out of the company’s new regional hub in Bristol.
The Bristol offices will be the base for the First Dates casting team alongside members of the story and editing teams, as well as two locally based trainees on different training schemes. For Channel 4, it is part of their commitment to expanding out of London and also supporting their growing number of productions out of Bristol.
Previously filmed at restaurant locations in London and Manchester, First Dates has become one of the UK’s best-loved and most watched series since it first aired in 2013. The programme has received a string of awards and nominations and has seen local versions launched in over 20 territories around the world.
Maître d’ Fred Sirieix and his team have helped match up hundreds of couples in that time, leading to a host of engagements, marriages and even a baby. Such is the popularity of the show that a spin off, First Dates Hotel, was launched in 2017, seeing daters travel to luxurious hotels in France and Italy in the hope of finding their soulmate.
Fred Sirieix said: “Making this new series feels special, celebrating a decade of bringing people together on the show, but there’s always more love to be found. They say Bath is the most romantic City in the UK and its true, so what better place to set the scene for romance to blossom than there!”
James O’Reilly, Creative Director at Twenty Twenty, said: “We can’t wait for the new First Dates restaurant to open its doors to singletons looking for love in beautiful Bath. It's Britain's most romantic city and promises to be the perfect backdrop to our 10th Anniversary season - which will also have a new look and some exciting twists to go with our brand-new location...
"As well as being the ideal place for our couples to fall for one another, Bath is right on the doorstep of our home in Bristol, and reflects Twenty Twenty's commitment to producing programming here in the south-west; we want to do all we can to nurture talent in the region and help the industry grow on our home turf."
Rita Daniels, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, said: “After 10 years of love stories, I’m thrilled that First Dates has the stunning and romantic city of Bath as its brand new location. I’m in no doubt that this special place will mesmerize and enthral all our daters which in turn will ensure they have special evening full of romance.”
First Dates returns later this year on Channel 4.