First Dates: Pride Special: release date, cast with Merlin and Fred, contestants, and where is the restaurant?

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Channel 4 revisits previous First Dates couples in a special pride episode of the show

First Dates is a Channel 4 dating show which sets up pairs of singletons for a dinner date at a fancy Londonrestaurant to see if love will blossom.

Each episode follows several couples from their arrival at the restaurant, through their meal, and to the awkward haggling over who picks up the bill.

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First Dates Pride SpecialFirst Dates Pride Special
First Dates Pride Special | Channel 4

Finally, as they leave the restaurant, we learn if the couples will get separate taxis home or stay on for more drinks together.

The show has run for 17 normal seasons as well as several spin-offs including First Dates Hotel, Teen First Dates, Celebrity First Dates, and several Valentine’s and Christmas specials.

For the first time, a special pride episode will catch up with LGBT+ couples from previous seasons of the show to see how they are getting on.

Are Fred and Merlin in the special?

Fred Sirieix, the maître d’hôtel of the First Dates restaurant will appear in the Pride special, as the episode will feature archive footage of the original dates.

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Merlin, the beloved bartender will also feature in the same way. Merlin is undergoing a health battle following a bowel cancer diagnosis last year, and on 28 June this year he was in hospital due to complications of bowel cancer.

Who are the contestants on First Dates: Pride Special?

Georgia and Georgia - The pair had their first date back in 2018. OneGeorgia is a beautician and recruitment assistant and the other is an ex-Arsenal footballer player with an uncanny resemblance to Cara Delevingne.

On their date, as they discussed relationship history they realised that Georgia had previously dated the other’s niece.

Another couple being revisited in the special is trans model and make-up artist Danni and her date, bar manager Aiden.

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Georgia and Georgia had their first date in 2018Georgia and Georgia had their first date in 2018
Georgia and Georgia had their first date in 2018 | Channel 4

When Danni told Aiden that she was trans, he told her that she was the first trans woman he had dated and that he was pansexual. At the end of the show, the pair had agreed to go on another date.

Lucy and Nicola, who took part in the show in 2015 will also be back - some viewers were uncomfortable about the way Nicola launched a stream of criticisms at her date, over everything from her hair and rucksack to her tattoos.

Retired hair salon owner Philip met former actor Simon in 2016, and it remains to be seen if their romance continued after they left the restaurant.

Joe and Jack had a successful date in 2017, sharing their love of football and even having a kiss at the end of the evening - the special episode will shed light on the fate of their relationship since then.

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When is the First Dates: Pride Special on TV?

The special episode will air on Channel 4 at 10pm on 30 June and will be available to watch on All 4 shortly after it is first broadcast.

Previous episodes of First Dates are also available to watch on All 4 now.

Where is the First Dates restaurant?

First Dates is filmed at a real restaurant - for the first 15 seasons of the show it was filmed at the Paternoster Chop House, a swanky venue in central London near St Paul’s Cathedral.

In 2020 production moved to Manchester and recent seasons have been filmed at The Anthologist in St Peter’s Square.

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