star has been quietly dating ET Canada reporter Matte Babel "for a few months," a source tells ET."They are serious and are having fun together."The duo was introduced through mutual friends in Los Angeles and both have Canadian roots!That memory, that association, is never complete without Cilla Black – the nation's favourite surrogate aunty, always resplendent in a series of shoulder-padded blazers, smiling down on my childhood like a ghostly Yoda at the end of Return of the Jedi.As my mother's hair-dryer voomed into life in the kitchen, I was to be found in the living room watching Cilla on Blind Date, contorting myself on the couch (emphatically not a euphemism), often upside down, a combination of ever-stretching limbs and rising hormones making it impossible for me to sit properly and at peace for any significant length of time. The format sees 30 ladies being introduced my multiple bachelors one by one.Each woman has a switch that controls her fate for a date: if she thinks it's a match, she keeps her light on; if her attraction has been short-circuited, then it's lights out and she waits for her next potential dream guy.Just before my mother left our house to enjoy a lorra lorra laughs with her friends she always came into the sitting room to give me a quick reminder of her maternal affection: a peck on the cheek.
The female contestants would always deliver their quips with a saucy giggle and a Timotei-style flick of the head, while the men would deliver theirs in a spirit of such oily slickness that Greenpeace would eventually have to be called in. In 'weather' or not you’re going to choose me, of course. I'll take you to Cloud 9.” At this point the audience would woop and ahhhh so loudly that time would cave in on itself, and Cilla would link hands and dance on stage with a chorus-line of dinosaurs and Mongol warriors.
During Cilla's reign as Queen of Saturday night light entertainment she managed to capture the essence of that bygone, buttoned-down Britain of saucy postcards and bus-trips to Blackpool.
Take Me Out, with its shrieking cavalcade of bouncing boobs and barely decipherable neck tattoos, offers instead the promise of a lorra, lorra chlamydia, and a quick reminder from our God of why we don’t deserve to endure as a species. Thirty immaculately-coiffed nightclub banshees stand behind specially designed ‘sex lecterns’, passing judgement on a single male who descends into the studio on a small platform known as ‘The Love Lift’ (which I’m certain must be street slang for ‘Viagra’).
So much has changed since the 1980s, both on TV and in society itself, that what returns to our screens may not be a straight-forward, fully-intact teleport of the format, but rather a mutant mish-mash: a half-fly Jeff Goldblum of a show just begging to be put out of its misery.
The truth of this inevitable transformation can be seen in the steps already taken up the light-entertainment evolutionary ladder, most notably in the DNA of ITV's long-running post-Blind Date offering, Take Me Out. When I think back to the Saturday nights I spent as a boy on the cusp of my teenage years, I can almost smell the heady scent of my mother's perfume as she readies herself for a night out with my step-dad and a gaggle of other couples.