Monday, May 23, 2005

A Yummy Package

The good thing about ITV1's new look daytime schedule, imaginatively titled 'ITV Day' (they've dropped the word 'time' to give it an air of quality), is that it's signalled the arrival of innovative new daily reality shows. Last week it was 'Have I Been Here Before?' (a show for those who feel the all-new schedule seems slightly familiar), this week it's 'Date My Daughter'. Which is about as highbrow as it sounds.

I knew it was going to be good the moment I saw how much money they'd saved on the opening titles, and indeed the show itself was an extravaganza of glamorous big budget dating. Well ok, they sent a pensioner to a local deer park. But it was still quite entertaining.

Having got her hands dirty under the bonnet of the BBC's 'Top Gear' and Five's 'Fifth Gear', Vicki Butler-Henderson is now apparently qualified to take over from Cilla as the nation's favourite matchmaker, so she introduced us to Scott, a young squaddie who informed us that he wanted to meet someone "about the same height as me with blonde hair and blue eyes" (personality obviously very important then) who is "up for a good time and up for a few drinks". So an alcoholic who'll have sex with him then. Marvellous.

Unfortunately, the TV show he'd chosen for his search insisted that rather than meeting the three young women in question, he make his mind up by dating their mothers. Not that Scott seemed to mind. He admitted to a penchant for the older lady, with the words "I've had my ruffty-tuffty tumbles with them". Which I think is something to do with squirrels.

First up for the job was Julie, who promoted her daughter with the words "Nicola's up for anything". That's dangerously close to pimping. But the larger-than-life (ie. massively fat) Julie bonded with Scott by living up to her stereotype and taking him on a cake-making course. They smeared chocolate on each other, in that way you do when you're trying to impress the in-laws, before Julie got to the heart of the matter by asking "Why should I let you date my daughter?". Scott, who's about as deep as a paddling pool, replied "Because I'm quite good looking".

So that went well. The young soldier then moved on from cake-walk to rope-walk by swinging through the trees of the Forest of Dean with Lynne, mother of Sinead. I would describe the date, but I'm still trying to blank Lynne from my memory. She described herself as bubbly. Say no more.

Last of the three was Audrey, a quiet Zimbabwean who commented on Scott's "nice colouring", before escorting him to a bird and deer park for some quiet stroking. Audrey told us that her daughter Elaine "doesn't go for looks", which was a bit of a problem as Scott didn't have much else to offer, but after a quick meet and greet with Bambi, the man surprised us all by plumping for the old deer. Sorry, I mean dear.

Cue a candle-lit dinner with Elaine, who turned out to be the only non-blonde in the trio, and a 'Blind Date' style debriefing in which Scott displayed his deep admiration for Elaine's mind by describing her as "a yummy package". So the show was a success. Obviously they're not going to see each other again, but hey, you can't everything.