BBC Lifestyle, DStv channel 174, announced today that it has commissioned a local version of the hit global dating format First Dates and will be bringing it to South Africa alongside the popular Australian and BAFTA winning UK versions this year.
The dating show will be produced by BBC Studios’ production partners in Africa, the multi-award-winning Rapid Blue, who together have already brought audiences local versions of widely popular shows such as Come Dine With Me South Africa, Dancing With the Stars South Africa and The Great South African Bake Off.
The dating landscape globally, as well as here in South Africa, is changing. The average age of people getting married in SA is increasing (36 for men and 32 for women), and the ways of dating has changed with apps now dominating how singletons find a partner. So, if you are over swiping left, fed up of friends and family continually trying to set you up, or if you just want to try something new and exhilarating in the hope of finding your special someone, why not sign up and see if BBC Lifestyle can match you with your perfect partner?
Entries for First Dates South Africa will be open to residents aged 18 and over and living in or around Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Daters will be able to sign up and apply via www.BBCSouthAfrica.com from 9am on Monday 25th March and entries will close at midnight on Sunday 28th April. Filming will take place in Johannesburg in July 2019.
First Dates South Africa will invite viewers to an intimate experience of the world of first dates. From initial nerves to flirty smiles and sparks of passion, discreetly placed cameras capture every moment of the action as it unfolds. Packed with a diverse cast of authentic characters all looking for love, each episode plays out like the funniest of romantic comedies. First Dates is a heart-warming, heart-breaking and occasionally heart-stopping format, which ends with a trip to the First Dates booth, where each couple reveals what they really thought, and we discover if true love has blossomed.
To get audiences excited ahead of the local version, First Dates Australia is currently airing on BBC Lifestyle, DStv channel 174 on Sunday nights at 8pm with the UK and South African versions to follow. The introduction of the First Dates franchise this year is part of BBC Lifestyle’s mission to deliver shows that represent the diversity, passions and interests of a modern aspirational and inquisitive audience in South Africa.
Joel Churcher, General Manager and Vice President of BBC Studios in Africa said, “I am a huge First Dates fan, so am thrilled that not only are we bringing BBC Lifestyle audiences the very popular Australian and UK editions, but that we can partner once again with Rapid Blue to produce the South African version of this global hit. Dating here in South Africa is serious business with couples really pulling out all the stops, so I cannot wait to see how fun local personalities demonstrate how dating should be done. Whether you’re 18 or 80, most people want to find love, so it really will be a show for everyone. I just want to watch it now!”
Ed Worster, Rapid Blue’s executive producer of the new series First Dates South Africa said, “We love the authenticity of the First Dates format. Our job is to find the perfect match for each of our daters and we really hope that true love might follow their first encounter. Once we’ve set them up it’s over to the couples to see if there’s any chemistry or a spark between them. We’ll be looking for big characters, the unexpected, the novice daters and the players, eligible guys and ladies, the beautiful and the quirky, the young and the old. Hopefully sparks will fly in the First Dates South Africa restaurant and showcase a hugely entertaining experience that will resonate with all our viewers.”
The Warner Bros. format has been licensed to 23 territories so far including Spain, Germany and Australia and has left a trail of successful couples in its wake. It has won an array of critically acclaimed awards and ranks as the number one series with adults aged between 16 and 34 in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Denmark. Andrew Zein, SVP, Creative, Format Development & Sales at Warner Bros. International Television Production said, “We are thrilled to see the format travel to South Africa for what promises to be a brilliant local adaptation. The First Dates franchise continues to grow globally and this is yet another exciting opportunity for more of the world to fall in love with the show.”
First Dates South Africa demonstrates BBC Studios in Africa’s ongoing commitment to provide high quality local programming. The success of the local formats in market is driven by BBC Studio’s partnership with Rapid Blue, the producers of original productions and international television formats for South African, African and international audiences.
Image Courtesy: Supplied