Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Blind Date (1985-2003)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of Blind Date (1985-2003)
LWT for ITV, tx. 30/11/1985 - 31/5/2003
18 series of 356 x 60 min editions total
Production CompanyLondon Weekend Television
ProducersLee Connolly, Isobel Hatton, Colman Hutchinson, Michael Longmire, Thelma McGough, Chris O'Dell, Martyn Redman, Kevin Roast, Gill Stribling Wright

Presenter: Cilla Black

Show full cast and credits

Cilla Black acts as matchmaker for people looking for love.

Show full synopsis

One of the defining examples of popular Saturday evening entertainment, Blind Date ran for 18 years, regularly notching up audiences of around 15 million viewers. As the title implies, it's a game show based on pairing up previously unacquainted couples. Each edition followed a virtually identical formula: someone would be asked to choose between three people of the opposite sex concealed behind a screen, and they would then be sent on holiday together. The following week would see an account of the holiday and whether or not it kindled the spark of romance. Each edition would feature two selections and two post-mortems.

Inspired by the US television show The Dating Game (ABC, 1965-2000), a 1984 pilot entitled It's A Hoot! was presented by the then-popular camp comedian Duncan Norvelle. However, this was never broadcast, and by the time the series proper began, it was fronted by the far more experienced Liverpudlian singer-comedienne-presenter Cilla Black, who had previously made a high-profile comeback with LWT's Surprise Surprise! (ITV, tx. 1983-1997).

She proved an inspired choice, coming across as an affectionately curious aunt, able to feign genuine interest in her guests' romantic fortunes and equally convincing disappointment when they failed to gel as a couple, as was often the case. Another crucial ingredient in the show's success was the voiceover announcer known as "our Graham", who would offer barbed one-line reminders of the contestants' salient points prior to the final selection being made. However, despite plenty of innuendo in both Graham's remarks and the (pre-scripted) boasts made by the contestants about their appeal, the programme was firmly family-friendly, befitting its early evening slot.

Although Blind Date survived into the 2000s with remarkably few changes to the basic formula aside from increasing budgets (the holidays became more lavish, and were documented on video instead of via still photographs), falling ratings led to some controversial changes. "Our Graham" was dropped, and the "Ditch or Date" variant on the game was introduced, whereby the picker was given the chance to have second thoughts.

However, these failed to re-energise the programme, which came to a memorable end when Black took advantage of a one-off live edition (tx. 4/1/2003) to announce her resignation - without warning the production team in advance. There were plans to continue with a different presenter, but Black was deemed to be irreplaceable and the 18th series proved to be the final one.

Michael Brooke

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Black, Cilla (1943-)
London Weekend Television (LWT)
Game and Quiz Shows