Channel 4’s January delight is back for its sixth season and the first episode was a hard-hitting wonder filled with humour, compassion and of course love. The Undateables documents 3 extraordinary singletons on their quest to find the one. There weren’t that many cringe worthy moments in this episode compared with some of the older ones but there was certainly some.
The first singleton we are introduced to is Sam from Camberley in Surrey, a postman who suffers with Aspergers syndrome. Sam is a genuinely nice guy and he’s really funny. The series itself has many, many memorable one liners from “Aha a gentleman never tells” to “We might go to Eastbourne” and who could forget “men are from mars; women are from venus and small, furry creatures are from Alpha Centuri.” And Sam is a an absolute goldmine. The first line in the new series is him proclaiming “Hey, are you a stamp? Because you are first class.” Sam’s need to find love is “bigger than the universe.” But sadly we learn that Postman Sam and his jar of jam have never gotten further than a first date. We feel sorry for the post who lives at home with his family, mainly as his fellow postman brother has a long-term girlfriend but Sam himself is a confident chap – “love is like a hard Sudoku puzzle that takes ages but eventually you’ll get it.” Sam is a very content young chap whose “proud to serve her majesty’s mail.”
He is a guy who constantly sings and also writes love letters and poems whilst delivering mail – much like fan favourite Shane the Poet! Sam was set on a date with 28-year-old Amy from Poole who also suffers from Aspergers. On the first date, Sam is very gentlemanly and even asks to tuck Amy’s chair in! He presented himself well and even wore a flat cap. Every episode you cheer on the singleton to do well on the date but Sam’s clear efforts to slow down and concentrate on his partner really makes you want him to succeed even more so. Sam and his date shared a love of extreme sports and seemed to get on really well. One thing that really resonated with me was at one point during the date, Amy looked into Sam’s eyes, which is very difficult for someone with Aspergers to do, and you saw a real desire and passion in the twinkle of her eyes and that really highlighted the spark that these two really had.
The pair went trampolining on their date – a first for the series. And whatever Sam did, it seemed to work as he managed to get his first ever second date. You really feel his determination to find love. He puts in all the stops – even putting aftershave in his hair! At first you think fair play to the boy for slowing down but by throwing this ethos out the window and ask Amy to be “BF & GF” on the second date, you just want to shout at the TV to tell him to slow down. The most cringe worthy moment from the whole episode came from Sam – when he sings a version of “My milkshakes bring all the girls to the yard” mid-way through the date. And yet it still works? I need to take pointers off this boy! Sam is a wonderful addition to the Undateables family and he was a perfect person to start the series off.
Moving from the less serious one liners of Sam to a more heart breaking story, Ian suffers from Usher’s Syndrome, which is the gradual diminishing of his eyesight. I could think of nothing worse than losing my eyesight. The amazing thing about Ian is that he is a photographer. When I first saw him photographing the model my jaw nearly dropped. It is a heartbreaking tale that honestly was a really powerful way to start off the new series. The contrast of the singing postman Sam and his jar of jam compared to the heartbreaking tale of Ian losing his eyesight. Ian’s condition is like something out of a movie. The imagery of him riding in an air balloon looking at an amazing view and to think he’ll never see that again really resonates with the viewer. This non-beer drinker is a determined young man who has a brilliant look on life who says “you’ve only got one chance on earth to have fun.” At the time this episode was aired, he only has around 8% of his vision left and wants to find love before his eyesight is gone forever.
Ian decides to join fan favourite dating agency Flame Introductions and he even has the charm to compliment everyone’s favourite match maker Christine – “You’re attractive even though you have short hair.” His date is 26-year-old Charlotte, a fabric shop worker from London. His nervousness really shows and the second he walks into the date to meet the awaiting lady, we see him walk very slowly due to his blindness and it god damn breaks your heart. The pair get on well enough, not as much as Sam does with Amy and this is shown with Ian’s decision to not see it through to a second date as “there wasn’t much of a spark.” But the date has given Ian the confidence to find someone and despite not finding love on the show, we wish Ian the best for the future and hope his heart-breaking story doesn’t have a heart-breaking end.
The final singleton on the first episode is 19-year-old textiles student Kate. The University of Loughborough student is looking for a “Channing Tatum lookalike.” She suffers from Narcolepsy and cataplexy, which is a combination of an excessive daytime sleep and sudden muscular weakness triggered by emotions such as laughter or anger. At the age of 19 is she to young for the show? If memory serves me correctly I believe she’s the youngest singleton ever featured on the show. Kate has collapsed from her conditions “during dinner, at her desk at school even on the sofa at Costa.” She recently broke up with her ‘childhood sweetheart’ of three years. Having become newly single in one of the most challenging and most important times in a young person’s life, University, you’d think Kate would want to slow down and enjoy her life instead of trying to find her Mr Darcy.
Her date is with 21-year-old Leicester Uni student named Josh. They spend their first date Ice Skating, a staple for the series. The date seemed somewhat awkward when the pair sat and had a drink. Kate falls asleep during the car journey from the rink to the pub and Josh’s reaction to her falling asleep was a sign of the daunting task ahead of him if he were to date Kate further. Personally, I don’t think that the pair suit each other, I just got a weird vibe that they didn’t go well together. Josh described her falling asleep in the car as “unusual” and he seems really uncomfortable when talking to the camera about the date. Can you imagine having to keep the conversation flowing with your date or they’ll fall asleep? They did exchange numbers and the date seemed successful however, I honestly don’t think that they were right for each but as legendary show favourite Michael once proclaimed “There’s plenty more fish in the sea.”
The first episode of series 6 was yet another combination of hard-hitting, emotional television along with cringe worthy moments that you can’t help but shed a tear of laughter at. One of Channel 4’s staple giants has taken its first step into 2017, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode.