First Dates is one of the most beloved reality TV shows in the UK.

Featuring Fred Sirieix and his band of merry waiters and waitresses, the Channel 4 dating show follows singletons as they embark on a first date dinner for all of the British public to witness.

Each episode focuses on a handful of first-time daters, who vary in everything from age to appearance to work-life, culture and, quite often, opinion on who should pay for the bill.

First Dates is as heartwarming as it is entertaining and a new series has an official start date for 2020 – oh, and it’s moving to a new venue in Manchester!

Kirsten and John – First Dates

First Dates 2020 Valentine’s Special

A brand new season of First Dates will launch in uber-romantic style by airing a special episode just before Valentine’s Day.

The episode will air on Thursday, February 13th on Channel 4 at 10 pm. A synopsis for the episode reads:

“For the most romantic day of the year, Fred Sirieix and his team join forces once again with Cupid to help hopeful singletons find their perfect match. First into the restaurant is 23-year-old beauty queen Sophie, who is keen to prove she’s a lot more than her Miss Bournemouth title.

Preparing to start a new chapter in her life is 59-year-old Rachel, as she embarks on her first-ever date with a woman. When 54-year-old blonde bombshell Debs walks in, Rachel is blown away. But as the two take a shining to one another, Rachel prepares to come clean about her backstory.

Finally, Boxing compere and tattoo artist Jon wants to meet someone who’ll look past his tough-guy exterior. His match is 39-year-old Kristen, a construction manager ready to lay down the foundations of love.”

First Dates 2020: Start date

Seven days later and series 14 will officially launch – Thursday, February 20th, on Channel 4 at 10 pm.

From there, First Dates 2020 will continue every Thursday night in the same timeslot for approximately 10 episodes.

First Dates in Manchester

Channel 4 has shifted a lot of its media centres away from the country’s capital, looking to diversify its workforce to other regional cities.

The push has keenly developed in northern areas such as Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. Danny Horan, Head of Factual at Channel 4, explained:

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.

As part of the shift, First Dates has also changed location and the 2020 series will launch at a brand new restaurant in Manchester.

For now, the exact restaurant used for filming has not been revealed, although Reality Titbit will undoubtedly be the first ones to break the news.

Are the same staff involved? Fred? Merlin?

Fans have feared that the Manchester shift will mean a complete change in staff, although we can confirm that this isn’t the case.

Fred Sirieix will still oversee the restaurant as the world’s most charming maître d’ while most of the other key staff members are expected to return.

Fred Tweeted that he “can’t wait” for Manchester, and so it assumed that he will be returning to the restaurant, while 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.”

Likewise, Austin Ventour tweeted that he was looking forward to it, although something of at least a small waiter and waitress overhaul is expected and questions remain over CiCi Coleman and Laura Trott.