The Lighter Side of Life with Kate Mason: I’m head over heels with car crash TV’s First Dates

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Outfit dilemmas, awkward conversations and unfanciable suitors - it’s fair to say first dates are a potential minefield.

The optimists among you may romanticise about the process that can potentially bring you face to face with your future flame.

But in reality a first date can be more daunting than a job interview and result in a complete loss of faith in ever finding the one rather than a glittering new career.

The idea of two nervous strangers meeting up and trying to impress each other is a bizarre concept when you think about it.

It’s like an audition for a dream role and more often than not candidates tend to overplay it and rarely get the call back.

Love or loathe first dates there’s no denying it makes for great gossip with your mates.

I’ve heard some corking first date tales in my time, from the guy who spent the entire night bragging that he had a watch from Argos’ Elizabeth Duke range to the girl who thought it was acceptable to turn up on the guy’s doorstep every day after date number one.

And my personal favourite, a Casanova who thought it was a good idea to text a picture of his bed - complete with Christian Grey style shackles - after date number two.

I’ve often wished that I could be a fly on the wall for some of these awkward encounters and now – thanks to my new favourite show – we can all have a hilarious insight.

I may be a bit late to the party on this one but I’ve only recently discovered the sheer joy that is Channel 4’s First Dates, now in its fourth series.

A reality show that films couples on what could be the most important meal of their life - a first date.

The show takes place in the First Dates restaurant in London and makes for compelling, and often hilarious, viewing.

It’s car crash TV at its finest but also has a few fairytale encounters thrown in to restore our faith in true love. There’s even cameras in the toilet so you get to earwig when one of the diners nips to the loo and rings their mate to give them the low down.

Maître D’ Fred who presides over the restaurant is the real star of the show and no matter how many mis-matches take place he is ever the optimist and never gives up on the concept of true love finding a way.

First Dates is on Channel 4 Thursday at 10pm – a must watch!