Written by Shona Smith on Jan 29, 2020. Posted in Production News

Channel 4's flagship dating series First Dates scouts Manchester for new restaurant location

Channel 4’s First Dates will move to Manchester in 2020 to film a newly commissioned run of thirty episodes. Channel 4 Head of Factual Danny Horan says the move is “just one part of Factual’s commitment to expand out of London at scale” as both the broadcaster, and First Dates' production company Twenty Twenty commit to the UK regions. Much of the production staff, including the casting team, will be based in Bristol, Channel 4’s new regional hub.

The BAFTA winning series First Dates has filmed in central London restaurant Paternoster Chop House since 2013. Spin off First Dates Hotel sees daters travelling to hotels in France and Italy in the pursuit of love, while 2019 Christmas special filmed in village pub in Hampshire (pictured). The successful dating series has seen the local versions of the format produced in twenty territories around the world.

As part of the commitment to the UK regions the First Dates casting team, story editing team and members of the post-production team will be based in Bristol, one of Channel 4's two regional hubs. Channel 4 and Twenty Twenty are also co-funding a new training scheme which will train up twenty-four Bristol-based productions staff to work on the show in areas including casting, research, editing and directing.

Managing Director and Head of Twenty Twenty Leanne Klein said: “We are very excited to be taking our flagship dating series to the regions. We have already begun tapping into the fantastic local talent pool in Bristol from where we are putting together our new team of casters and date editors. And with the move of the First Dates restaurant we will have the chance to expose our daters to a brand new experience with a few exciting new tweaks to the much loved format.”

Danny Horan, Head of Factual at Channel 4 comments “We are thrilled to be investing in new diverse talent with Twenty Twenty. This is just one part of Factual’s commitment to expand out of London at scale”.

First Dates will return to Channel 4 for its last series filmed at the restaurant in London, the new restaurant will be revealed at a later date with filming taking place in 2020.

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