CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

Roses are red, violets are blue, First Dates is truly painful to view: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

First Dates: Valentine Special 

Rating:

Death In Paradise

Rating:

Well, that’s over for another year. The most perilous day in the calendar, when any remark might be the wrong one and there’s a massive bill at the end, is February 14 — celebrated in the First Dates: Valentine Special (C4).

You’ve got to feel for 20-year-old Oscar, too young to know when his companion was fishing for compliments. Hannah, 23, gave him every opportunity to flatter her figure, her looks, her jokes, but Oscar was in the grip of dater’s paralysis.

His mouth was open and his brain was locked solid. Finally, Hannah gave him the easiest of chances to say something nice. ‘I fink I’m common,’ she blushed, ‘am I?’

 Complete strangers Demi and Danny opened their hearts — her previous lover was a girl, his mother had repeatedly attempted suicide — it felt false and manipulative. These are personal details most people might wait weeks to reveal, not blurt out in the first ten minutes

Oscar just goggled. This girl had told him she’d got her boobs done to impress her last boyfriend (it didn’t work) and read her online dating profile aloud to him (‘If you like legs, I’ve got two of them.’). 

She was, she reckoned, the epitome of a classy bird because she didn’t chuck up on a night out.

Hannah made Danny Dyer look like Lord Peter Wimsey. But Oscar, you daft dollop, a gentleman shouldn’t say so.

First Dates appeals to two audiences. One lot are just mortally grateful not to be dating. The others are looking for tips and inspiration, learning the art of romantic conversation by watching the mistakes of others. 


  • Relax, Your Majesty! The Great Paxo is now in favour of…


    Sniggering at mental torment… how typical of prurient…

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It was an education to see how Kurtis, 25, deflected every difficult question by turning it around, and making that seem like a compliment.

Whenever his date, Jaleesa, asked him about his life, he insisted on hearing more about hers. This made Kurtis seem both charming and deeply interested, when the truth was he’d already forgotten her name.

Still, he had a distraction: the producers had sent him on an awkward double date. His mum was at the next table, being chatted up by Lincoln, 57, a dustman. That would put any lad off his stride.

You’ve got to feel for 20-year-old Oscar, too young to know when his companion was fishing for compliments. Hannah, 23, gave him every opportunity to flatter her figure, her looks, her jokes, but Oscar was in the grip of dater’s paralysis

Such artificial set-ups are the series’ biggest drawback. The matchmakers are trying too hard.

When Kurtis and his mum slipped away to compare notes in the ladies’ loo, the moment was so obviously scripted that it undermined the whole episode.

And when, later on, complete strangers Demi and Danny opened their hearts — her previous lover was a girl, his mother had repeatedly attempted suicide — it felt false and manipulative. 

These are personal details most people might wait weeks to reveal, not blurt out in the first ten minutes.

But none of the romances went as catastrophically wrong as the wedding day of Florence and Patrice on Death In Paradise (BBC1). 

She was shot in the stomach, he was murdered. Cupid really made a mess of that one.

The slaughterous antics on the Caribbean idyll of Saint Marie have been getting progressively darker this year. 

But none of the romances went as catastrophically wrong as the wedding day of Florence and Patrice on Death In Paradise (BBC1). She was shot in the stomach, he was murdered [File photo]

When Detective Sergeant Florence followed her boyfriend into an abandoned warehouse at the climax of last week’s show, it was bordering on a horror movie.

Plastic flaps hung over deserted corridors, and neon bulbs flickered. This could hardly have been more noir if a maniac in a clown mask had disembowelled her with a cleaver.

Florence survived, but quit the show. Let’s hope this gives the writers a chance to reverse the drift, away from the gore and emotional bleakness. We’ve got Idris Elba in Luther for all that.

Viewers love Death In Paradise for the sunny backdrop and frivolity of the crimes. Lighten up. It might be murder, but it’s only a bit of fun.

Damp squib of the night: In Australia With Julia Bradbury (ITV), the eponymous presenter headed straight for Bondi Beach in Sydney. 

But she took the British weather with her, and sat on the sand in buckets of rain. That’s probably not what the sponsors were hoping for. 

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