‘Many years ago I went on a blind date with a very short Vietnamese lady who turned out to be married. But I’ve been quite lucky, although when I was younger I went on those horribly awkward dates where no one really says anything. I’d advise watching your body language, being open and chatty, giving people a chance but not meeting anyone again if they’re awful. And don’t drink too much. I’m ticking off my own dating mistakes here…’
‘I’ve never actually been on a date. I don’t know what that says about me. I just go [points] “Strip!”. But I did sign up for online dating as research for the show. It was the most difficult paragraph I’ve ever had to write. I got to build my own fantastical human being and had a few responses, but no one really lived up to expectations.’
‘She was a dancer in a musical I was doing. I asked her out to Cafe de Paris and we both brought a friend – I’d ordered champagne, trying to impress her. I don’t even like champagne! But we were having a great time, then she went to the toilet. On her way back, she was bouncing off the walls, throwing up, all decorum lost. Her mate accused me of drugging her drink! She later explained she hadn’t eaten all day and it all hit her at once. So we went to a restaurant for the next date: we’re married now with two kids.’
‘I’ve never been on a proper date, but a girlfriend went on a blind date with a guy with a metal leg, which he hadn’t mentioned during their correspondence. He was also a bit of a dick, so she wanted to go but didn’t want him to think it was because of the leg, so she stayed for a really awkward dinner. I’d be terrified on a blind date. I’m more of a “get me drunk at a party and you might get a snog” kind of girl [laughs].’
‘I’ve been quite lucky on the dates front – I haven’t been on too many, but they’ve been pretty uneventful. Certainly a contrast to the ones on the show! Although I met my current partner through friends; we went for a drink on a sort-of date and it was pretty instant.’
‘I went on a date with this lovely guy who’d been drinking this red cocktail. We left this bar and were walking through the night, and I thought, “This is going to be a bit romantic”. We got on the night bus and as we’re swaying about holding on to the bar, I could see him turning green. Before I knew it, I had red sick all down my dress. I don’t think I’ve had worse than that. Yet.’
‘Dates’, C4. Starts Mon June 10.
Read our reviews of 'Dates', episodes one and two
Will Mellor and Oona Chaplin play the pauses of a first date beautifully, as the initial fireworks fizzle out into resentful silence. But then, even if we don’t exactly root for them, our interest in their fates is certainly piqued. A smart idea, cleverly executed.
There surely can't be a more jolly place to drink in Notting Hill: colourful wooden wall-slats and furniture fill the upstairs bar, and down in the party-time basement there’s good reggae, very friendly staff and rum, rum and more rum. The selection is enormous, and you could spend weeks here without getting through it all. On the cocktail front, there are plenty of big fruity numbers, but the classicism of a perfect daiquiri makes us think this is the way to go. There’s a happy hour from 6pm to 8pm too. If you stay later, you’ll probably find yourself unable to resist the lure of jerk chicken, saltfish fritters or just an enormous bowl of sweet potato fries.
Venue says: “Fancy learning a little about rum? Then join us for our weekly 'Rum Chronicles' masterclass.”