From the creator of Skins, comes a brand new drama series for Channel 4, Dates.
The series is part of the channel's 'Mating Season' which begins on Monday 10th June and features a series of shows of the complications of modern dating.
The line-up for Dates is pretty special, as it includes, Will Mellor (Broadchurch), Sheridan Smith (Mrs Biggs), Oona Chaplin (Game Of Thrones), Greg McHugh (Fresh Meat), Gemma Chan (Fresh Meat) and many more.
The series is made up of nine two-handed (sometimes three-handed) half-hour episodes which show us how hilarious first dates can be, as two strangers meet for the very first time. The rest of the series follow the characters and their individual stories as they begin to intertwine and unfold. The series explores a place where confessions, lies, crises of confidence and sexual confusion come together with dramatic and hilarious effect. In the opening episode, the focus is on David and Mia, played by Will Mellor and Oona Chaplin as they meet for the very first time.
With Mia appearing to be quite high maintenance, David, a lorry driver is somewhat bemused by the whole situation but isn't afraid of giving up on the date. Not at the start anyway. In fact, it's Mia who seemingly walks out on Darren who feels he's given up too easily and walks back into the restaurant to probe David some more and eventually we find that the date that didn't seem to be on the cards, very much was again.
A while back, I went along to the launch for Channel 4's 'Mating Season' and in a Q&A with Will Mellor and Oona Chaplin, Dawn O'Porter, who was hosting, probed the two of them about their roles. What was clear from the two, was what had drawn them to the roles in the first place, and that was because they each felt that the characters are so well created that everyone will see a bit of someone in them. When Will first read Oona's character, he said he thought "she was a right bitch."
Both Will and Oona were then asked about their worst dating experience to which Will told us that it was with his wife and Oona? Well, she replied with "I've never actually been on a date." However, later on in the night she revealed that she actually signed up to an online dating website just before she did the role, to see what character she'd get. I can imagine her inbox would have been pretty full that week!
Having also seen one of Sheridan Smith's episodes, in which she plays the part down to a t, I can't wait to see what the rest of the series will hold for each of the characters and where they will end up, and more importantly, who with. It's clear to say that part of the reason Dates is very watchable is down to the performances.
Each actor takes on the role of someone we all know, or, even though at times won't admit, actually are ourselves. So if you were expecting a re-invention of Skins, then this isn't it. Replace the house parties, drugs and alcohol with a nice meal, a trip to a museum and some nice wine and you've got Dates.
The series is an interesting concept and one that I hope will return, with or without the original characters.