First Dates filming – what they know about date and paltry amount cast gets paid

Hit Channel 4 show First Dates is currently bringing us funny, heart-warming stories as we see daters get to know each other over dinner.

The show, which has regular fixtures such as handsome maître d' Fred Siriex and bartender Merlin Griffiths, makes us feel like we're part of the First Dates restaurant without ever actually stepping foot there.

The anticipation of whether or not the daters will fall in love keeps us watching the show, but one question many have is about whether these contestants get paid to participate in it.

Here's everything you need to know about appearing on First Dates.

Do First Dates contestants get paid to appear on show?

First Dates contestants don't get paid to appear on the show, a spokesman for First Dates previously confirmed. However, each contestant is given £25 towards their meal at the restaurant.

However, if the dinner bill ends up over £50, then the diners will have to pay the rest themselves – which is usually where the awkward moments of bill etiquette come up on the show.

The spokesman told Bustle: "If the meal costs more than the £25 allowance then the dater or couple then decide between them how to settle the outstanding restaurant bill."

What happens behind the scenes on First Dates?

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Keen to know filming secrets of First Dates? Here are five of them:

They really are blind dates

The contestants really don't know anything about each other before the date – they literally go in blind and learn everything about their date, including their name, when they meet them.

In the first two seasons of the show, contestants got a photograph of their date. Now, they go to their date with absolutely no details.

The show is filmed in a real restaurant

The filming for First Dates takes place in a real restaurant in London – the Paternoster Chop House near St Paul's Cathedral, where you can actually go in for dinner and grab a two-course meal for just £20.

In 2020, the filming for the show moved to Manchester, where it was filmed at The Refinery restaurant and bar in Spinningfields.

Everyone at the restaurant is on a blind date

Everyone eating at the restaurant is on a blind date. This includes those who you see in the background as well.

So if you're keen to have a blind date without the pressure of being filmed for the show, you can apply to have your first date in the background.

You can apply to be on the show

You can apply to be part of First Dates by filling in an extensive online application form.

The form will ask for details such as your body type, your marital status, whether you have children and more. If they like what they read, producers will contact you for a phone interview.

If they still like you, you'll be asked to do a recorded interview, including chats about your past love life and what you’re looking for in a relationship.

Nothing is scripted

All of the conversations you see on the dates are completely genuine.

However, sometimes producers might ask contestants to repeat their conversations if they aren't speaking clearly or loudly enough for the mics to pick up.

*First Dates continues tonight at 10pm on Channel 4

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