It’s Valentine’s Day, so what better way to get us all into a romantic mood than with Fred and the gang in the First Dates restaurant? A return of the original series is long overdue – you simply cannot beat normal singletons from all over the country braving it in the restaurant. Tonight’s couples were:

Azadeh and Ollie

Clearing her diary to find love is 32-year-old PA and Persian lady Azadeh from London. Her eyebrows were certainly a discussion point on social media, some very envious of them, some questioning why they haven’t had more work. Azadeh gives the impression she might be a bit of a Iranian princess, but she argues that’s simply not the case. Even though she wants a Prince Harry in her life. Her date tonight is “dot com” whiz Ollie from Oxfordshire. And he barely stopped for a breath when he turned up at Merlin’s bar. He’s looking for a rollercoaster relationship where there will be some downs, but plenty of ups too.

Azadeh and Ollie bonded over food (particularly steak and cheese), farming, and er, man boobs. Azadeh was quite keen to see them in the restaurant there and then, something he wasn’t particularly interested in demonstrating in the restaurant.

Sadly for Azadeh she didn’t have the most conventional upbringing, her and her brother were fostered from a young age, but at 25 she met someone who filled a massive void in her life. James gave her a very committed relationship and the pair had planned a future together. Until he developed septicaemia, and passed away four years ago. Now Azadeh’s mantra is that life is too short, and she wants to make the most of the rest of her life.

Ollie was absolutely committed to a second date, and he had even planned to take Azadeh trapezing. In the meantime he promised ‘witty banter’ over text.

Vince and Anna

Single dad Vince has made his career in comedy but the 43-year-old from Cheshire, sadly, has very little to laugh about when it comes to love. He’s looking for someone with sparkly eyes and a passion for love. Hoping to be just the ticket for Vince is Primary School teacher and mother-of-two Anna, 39, from Stockport. They both seemed to live very close to each other, and as the date progressed that didn’t seem to be the only things they had in common bringing them together.

They had grown up in the same part of Manchester, gone to the same school, and knew each other’s relatives. It didn’t end there. They had dated each other too and gone back to each other’s homes after too. The pair compared the rekindling of romance twenty years later as a modern day Romeo and Juliet – except all the families liked each other.

Fast forward two decades Vince had been married, while Anna has been single for eight years. Anna’s children are keen for her to find someone who has her back, something that Vince seemed to be looking for too.

The pair didn’t seem quite to understand why their dates didn’t work out but they were certainly enjoying each other’s company at the First Dates restaurant. They were both up for meeting again, and saw their bond being rekindled as fate. What might not have been right at the time, seemed very right this time round.

Elaine and Steve

Retired NHS worker Elaine, 63, from London is looking for some old-fashioned kind of love. She loves receiving Valentine’s Day cards, but finds it’s always the men she doesn’t really like sending them. Elaine has never been married, and she’s a single mum. She is looking for someone now who wants to make the most of life now she’s in her sixth decade of life.

Elaine’s date is smooth-talking music producer Steve, also 63, from the capital. Steve has had three relationships previously, and found that two of them were quite volatile and destructive. He’s hoping now he can have a peaceful relationship which is easy-going and less problematic.

The pair both love to dance, and Steve’s experience as a music producer means he certainly knows a thing or two about rhythm. Both of them had come to Britain in the sixties from the Caribbean. Steve certainly hadn’t enjoyed his early years in Britain, an era when London seemed particularly racist. The torment, however, is what drove Steve to music and using the art to express himself.

Steve and Elaine are both looking for someone with that ‘spark’. Despite both being 63, they are not going to still rush into a relationship with the wrong person, but the pair certainly both seemed to be hitting it off at the dinner table at least. After the drinks had flowed the two were showing each other their moves in the restaurant. The hips surely don’t lie?

It all seemed to be going so well until waitress Laura turned up with the bill. Steve wasn’t happy to pay the full bill, declaring ‘I ain’t got that’. Rather than politely asking if Elaine would split the bill or make a contribution, he made it as awkward as possible for everyone involved. After several minutes of awkward silence he asked his date ‘are we going Dutch’? After laying the cash on the table, Steve still wasn’t happy with Elaine’s contribution. “Put another ten pounds in it” he told her. The whole situation went down as well as expected with his date.

Steve thought he had done the right thing, but Elaine couldn’t see a future with him after how she felt treated in the final few minutes of their date. There won’t be a second date.

Pete and Gregor

Pharmacist Pete is suffering from a common complaint this Valentine’s Day… he hates it. The 29-year-old from London is originally from Edinburgh, and says he’s never been in love. He says in High School he was an a-sexual nerd, but now he’s looking for someone who will finally make him feel loved up. Fashion designer 33-year-old Gregor is a German living London. He perhaps wouldn’t be Pete’s typical date, but it was clear Pete and Gregor were hitting it off from the moment they met at the bar. Pete was after a man who would break boundaries, and Gregor’s declaration ‘I have no morals’ had him interested.

Both Pete and Gregor bonded over the difficulties they’ve experienced when it comes to love. Pete, in particular, talked about coming out. It turns out that Pete’s twin brother is gay too, and had come out at the age of 14. However, Pete was very insecure about coming out after, so didn’t do so until he was 22.

Gregor had been in a relationship for five years which progressed to a marriage for five years. He was hoping to adopt and create a family, but then it transpired that his partner had found a woman and wanted to start a family in the more “conventional” manner. It’s a sore subject for Gregor. Now he just wants to be happy, and that’s why he was in the First Dates restaurant.

When it came to finishing up the date and deciding whether to see each other again it seemed a very easy answer to give. They both were keen for a second date. They were both very open on the date, they are comfortable with each other, and Gregor was very impressed Pete could deal with the amount of liqueur they consumed that evening.

Kevin and Kay

Successful plumber Kevin has a serious blockage in his love life. The 36-year-old from Stockport is looking for a lady, but his mum is starting to think he might be gay. Complete with an Irish accent and infectious laugh Kevin seemed a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. His date is primary school music teacher Kay, 30, from Colne. Recently Kay has only received Valentine’s Day cards recently from her school pupils.

While Kevin seems to have been well traveled and has lived around the world, including Australia, Kay is yet to meet someone who would be prepared to travel the globe with her, let alone move to another country. Could Kevin be the one for her? He certainly ticked the boxes – makes her laugh, travels, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. For added success, Kay was very close to her dad, who also lived in Australia and was a plumber like Kevin.

The pair both seemed to be very similar. A fun side, an infectious laugh, and a very caring side. It seemed a dead cert that they were going to see each other again. I have high hopes!

First Dates Returns

Good things come to those who wait and First Dates returns to Channel 4 very soon. In the meantime watch more First Dates on catch-up on All4, and read more reviews of this series of First Dates on my blog.

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Written by Jono Read
Jono Read is a 32-year-old writer from Norfolk. He is a social media manager and a journalist. He blogs about politics, popular culture, and marketing.