First Dates is back on our screens tonight for its 12th season. To celebrate, we’ve decided to take a look back at all the couples who found long-lasting love on the Channel 4 dating show…
The TV show ditches dragons and gangland bosses in favour of Fred Sirieix and his dedicated restaurant crew at Paternoster Chop House as they work tirelessly to ensure that their diners (all of whom have been set up on blind dates) enjoy their evenings. With cameras dotted all over the restaurant, the show is aimed squarely at our love of eavesdropping and insatiable appetite for bad dating tales, it’s true. However, First Dates also takes into account the sneaky part of us that is rooting for a love story worthy of its own Disney film. And it’s this careful blend of fly-on-the-wall fun and feel-good romance that sees so many people tuning into the show each week.
Of course, it’s been a long time since we were able to tune into a brand-new episode of First Dates. However, we have good news for fans everywhere: our favourite dating show is returning to our screens this week with its much-anticipated 12th season.
That’s right: the season premiere of First Dates kicks off on Tuesday 16 April 2019, with Channel 4 set to air the first episode at 10pm, as opposed to the usual 8pm. This will become the show’s regular time slot as the series progresses over the course of weeks, with the same episode repeating at 11pm on Channel 4+1.
For those who don’t have time to work around prescriptive TV schedules (and we hear you, guys), don’t despair: if you miss any of the new episodes, they can easily be found and watched on Channel 4 Catch Up.
However, while it’s truly uplifting to see a couple actually get on and decide to see each other again, the little snippets of info we get at the end just aren’t enough. How long do the sparks fly once the cameras have been switched off?
To sate our curiosity, we got in touch with the brainiacs behind the show to find out which of our favourite First Dates couples are still together – and, boy, do we have some serious happy-ever-afters for you to sink your teeth into.
Read on, dreamers…
Lauren and Dan (engaged and expecting their second baby together)
First Dates fans will no doubt remember Lauren from season two – mainly because her date with Faliraki DJ Terry Turbo was such a disaster (he literally asked her what size bra she wore). However, she doesn’t regret her time on the show whatsoever, as it led her to meet Dan (from series five – keep up!) and find love in a seemingly hopeless place.
The pair welcomed their first child in 2016 and now, in a new interview with HELLO, Lauren has revealed that she and Dan are a) still going strong, and b) expecting their second child together. Boom.
“I was on First Dates quite early on,” she told the magazine. “I was really surprised that the show really does want you to meet your match. For me that wasn’t the case as I was matched with a Faliraki DJ called Terry Turbo who claimed he had slept with hundreds of women.”
In 2013, though, she met Dan – and the couple are now engaged, happy parents to two-year-old Jude, and expecting their second baby together.
“We may ask First Dates’ Fred to our wedding,” said Lauren.
Steve and Lyn (dating)
Steve and Lyn – both of whom have served in the armed forces – were instantly lost in each other’s company when they were paired up on First Dates, forgetting to swap names as they instead rattled through a long list of similarities.
It wasn’t long before Steve felt comfortable enough to open up about his mental health issues. “I used to keep everything in,” he told an understanding Lyn, “but now I’m the opposite. Now I share everything.”
Adding that he had left the army with the hopes of starting a family, Steve added: “That obviously hasn’t happened, and I’ve got to the age where I’m thinking, ‘It’s probably not gonna happen for me.’
“You sort of think, ‘Am I getting too old now?’ But I think I’d be a great father… and I’d adopt if I had to.”
Encouraged by Lyn’s reaction, Steve gently probed his date, asking about her own views on marriage and children, and whether she had either in the past.
It was at this point that Lyn, placing a hand on her stomach, revealed she was six months pregnant.
“I’ve got a baby on the way now,” she said. “It’s a donor baby, so I’ve got no crazy ex hanging around on street corners, fighting for custody.”
The former military man took the news like a trooper, congratulating Lyn on her happy news and asking her about her baby name options (one of which was Remy, which he immediately likened to the main character of Ratatouille) and praising her for her bravery in coming forward.
In the final scene, they both admitted to wanting to see each other again.
“For you to accept the things that I’ve said about myself today and where I’ve come from, it says a lot about your character,” said Lyn. “It was exactly the type of person I was hoping to meet.”
And, three months after the episode aired (11 April), it was revealed that Lyn had become a mother to a little boy… and that Steve was still very much in the picture.
Greig and Shaun (engaged)
When Greig was unceremoniously dumped before he’d even eaten his dinner (“What’s the point in staying and having a main course?”), First Dates fans were devastated on his behalf. But, thankfully, Channel 4 bosses made it their mission to ensure the “old romantic” got the happy ending he deserved.
Not only did they invite him back for a second go on the First Dates merry-go-round, but they paired him up with Shaun – and their chemistry was positively off the charts, with a sweet smooch after their meal (which, yes, they sat through until the end).
So it came as little surprise to learn that, in December 2017, Greig and Shaun had decided to take their relationship to the next level: yup, they’ve only gone and put a ring on it.
Announcing the news on Twitter, tagging Fred, Cici et al in his message, Shaun revealed: “Remember seeing us earlier this year? Well last week I asked Greig to marry me, and he said yes!
“Can’t thank [the First Dates staff] enough for everything.”
Doreen and James (happily dating)
First Dates fans fell head over heels in love with Doreen when she appeared on the show in September 2017. Sparkly, humorous and more than ready to find true love (despite worrying that “without make-up on, I look like Dracula”), the octogenarian soon found herself paired up with chivalrous 86-year-old author James. He emotionally opened up to his date about the loss of his beloved wife, and his passion for writing poetry. She, in turn, told him matter-of-factly that her husband had run off with a younger woman after 46 years of marriage.
But, despite their pasts, it immediately seemed apparent that the pair had a very happy future together. When Doreen complained that the rose on their table was fake, James promised to send her one from his own garden. In return, Doreen offered him a chocolate from the stash she had hidden in her handbag.
“It didn’t take us long to get to know each other,” Doreen twinkled afterwards. James replied, quick as a flash: “Well, we haven’t got long to take, have we?”
And look what happened next:
That’s right, guys: they’re still together and as happy as you dreamed.
Dan and Adam (engaged)
Adam and Dan were paired up on the show way back in 2014 – and it was pretty much a case of love at first sight for the bearded duo.
It was an emotional episode, with Adam revealing that he only realised he was gay after suffering a stroke at the age of 21.
“I went in hospital straight and came out gay,” he said.
“It was, like, two months I was in there. The night nurse – he cared, and he was gay. He was six foot two, and he was fit… and there was just one night when he asked me if I was gay, and I said, ‘Yeah, I am’. Because I obviously am.”
The couple have been together ever since, with Dan moving from Sussex to Sunderland to be with Adam – and they became engaged on Christmas Day in 2015.
They’re currently planning a wedding, which Dan is keen to host abroad in South Africa. Speaking about their upcoming nuptials on Lorraine, Adam said: “That's always the place Dan's said he wants to get married. I've always wanted it at home with my friends and family.
“We came up with a deal: if I like it, I get to plan it all.”
Liberty and Pearse (happily dating)
When staunch feminist Liberty found herself paired up with stockbroker Pearse in the restaurant earlier this year, it seemed, at first, as if things weren’t going to go well – not least of all because the conversation took some seriously wild tangents and ended up on the topic of nipple tassels.
“Because you're a girl, you're a girl, right, so you know...” he began. Liberty cut him off, but he later tried again to explain his business venture by telling her: “The thing is, it was more like I saw an opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of it.”
Utterly deadpan, Liberty responded: “Well, women love it when you take advantage.”
However, when Liberty (not named after the statue, if anyone’s wondering) told Pearse that she had learned very little about him during their meal, he admitted that his nerves had gotten the better of him and he’d put up a front.
And, when he got to talking about everything he’d learned from his empowered single mother, he finally won his date over – so much so that, when we reached out to ask them how things are going, they revealed that they’ve been happily dating and “slowly bullying one another to death” ever since.
Ibiba and Aarron (started a family)
Ibiba and Aarron first met on the Channel 4 dating show on 10 June 2016 – and the date clearly went well, as they found out that Ibiba was pregnant just seven weeks later.
The pair welcomed a baby girl – who they named Aziza – in April 2017, just 10 months after they first laid eyes on one another. And, while they acknowledge that their relationship got serious perhaps a little quicker than most, they couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out.
“It’s true that our meeting and the speed with which we’ve started a family is certainly far from traditional,’ Ibiba told the The Daily Mail. “But that is the nature of modern Britain. Things move at a much faster pace these days.”
Ibiba added: “Our decision to go on First Dates was the best of our lives.
“Very few people are lucky enough, as we are, to be able to sit down and watch over and over the very first second we set eyes on each other. We both genuinely believe it was practically love at first sight.
“When we are pensioners I want to be able to remember that first moment and recall the way my heart skipped a beat the instant I saw Aarron.”
Ibiba and Aarron both have children from previous relationships: she has a 10-year-old daughter named Chenai, and he has daughter Tia, nine, and son Latham, six.
And, as viewers saw in their First Dates episode, Aarron was initially reluctant about expanding his family, telling Ibiba that he didn’t want any more children.
He later changed his mind, revealing: “It hit me when I went to the first scan how excited I was. I can’t wait to go back to the restaurant with our new baby and show Fred, the maître d’.”
He added: “I never expected to find love, let alone have a kid. It’s absolutely nuts – but I’m so happy.”
Hema and Ajai (moving in together)
Hema and Ajai met on First Dates in 2016 – and it’s safe to say that it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, primarily due to his handlebar moustache.
“Are you going to keep it?” she asked him pointedly over dinner.
Despite this, the pair got on like a house on fire, discussing all sorts of issues and laughing together as the restaurant slowly emptied around them. And, after an awkward joke or two about the elephant in the room (or the unusual facial hair, at least), the pair agreed to go on another date together.
Guess what? It went very well indeed:
Channel 4 bosses confirmed exclusively to stylist.co.uk that the pair just moved in together – and that they’re every bit as happy as you would expect.
Will and Fran (happily dating)
Will and Fran stole the hearts of everyone when their date aired in April 2017 – particularly when it was revealed that both had been single for pretty much their entire lives. She went to an all-girls boarding school and found it difficult to connect with the opposite sex growing up, while he, despite being a “bloody nice bloke”, was desperate to find someone who could a) finish a pint of beer, and b) be marriage material.
The pair soon hit it off, nattering happily about tweed, food and the pressures set upon them by their parents. And Will’s complimentary and friendly nature gave Fran, who grew up believing herself to be a “plain Jane”, a much-needed confidence boost.
By the end of the night Will and Fran were up for a second date – with the pair singing one another’s praises in the post-date interview.
We reached out to Channel 4, and show bosses confirmed that the pair are still very much enjoying their first relationship together, coming up to their first year anniversary very soon.
Here’s a snapshot from three months into their blossoming romance:
Scott and Victoria (split)
It seemed as if Scott and Victoria were all set to be the poster couple for First Dates, making TV history when they got engaged during a Christmas special of the Channel 4 show (using a Haribo jelly ring, no less).
“We’re not really ever apart,” they said at the time.
“It feels like we've been together a long time and we really haven’t.”
Sadly, though, the pair split in 2016 after eight months together. Victoria deleted all trace of her former fiancé from social media, and Scott joined dating app Happn.
We guess not every love story can have a happy ending, after all.
Channel 4’s First Dates airs on Tuesday nights at 10pm.
Images: Channel 4