First Dates’ Manchester move explained: Is Fred Sirieix quitting? And what about Merlin?

Hold your horses, as First Dates is heading up north for the first time.

If you’re a dater looking for love, but thought that London’s Paternoster Chop House was just a little too far out of your geographical reach, then things are turning around for you. Channel 4 has confirmed First Dates has a new home in Manchester!

It is not the first time that the hit dating show has headed elsewhere, as First Dates Hotel kicked off in 2017 taking daters to both France and Italy, and the Christmas special saw the daters head to the English countryside. But now, they’re switching it up and moving to another of Britain’s major cities.

Filming for series 16 has yet to commence, but the network and production company has confirmed that from here on out the First Dates restaurant will be in Manchester. Let’s take a look at what has been confirmed so far…

Screenshot: First Dates S13 E4 – 4oD

First Dates is heading up north

There has been a massive shift in the media, with the emphasis on opening up the media centre from London to other regional cities across the country. Mainly focussing on the North in areas such as Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle.

This has been reflected in Channel 4’s decision to move both the location of First Dates and move their production centre to Bristol.


Danny Horan, Head of Factual at Channel 4, said:

This move is so great for Channel 4 Bristol and Manchester. 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.

Where is the new First Dates restaurant?

Unconfirmed. The production company (Twenty Twenty) are still in talks about where the new home of First Dates should be.

Paternoster Chop House is owned by a company called D&D, who conveniently own restaurants in Manchester too. D&D own the luxurious Spinningfields restaurant 20 Stories, however it has been rumoured Twenty Twenty won’t work there because of “the space’s inability to house the production facilities required.”

But some other restaurants in both St. Peter’s Square and the Corn Exchange are currently under inspection.

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Will Fred and the London staff move to Manchester?

First Dates would be nothing without maître d’ Fred Sirieix and his whole Paternoster team. From waitresses Cici Coleman and Laura Tott to barman Merlin Griffiths, the staff make up the backbone of the show.

As they have joined the daters on trips abroad on First Dates Hotel, we think it’s safe to assume the whole cast will be heading up to Manchester to film. But that could also mean some new faces will also be joining the team, as they did in Italy.

Fred Tweeted that he “can’t wait” for Manchester, so it’s likely that he will be returning as the restaurant’s new maître d’. Fred has previously filmed in Manchester for his series, Million Dollar Menu.

Merlin also Tweeted “awesome” in response to the news. He then Tweeted in response to a fan: “Much as I love London, I’m happier out of it for now.” So Merlin is probably back behind the bar too!




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