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First Dates stars explain how restaurant bill is actually paid for on show

First Dates stars explain how restaurant bill is actually paid for on show

The OG stars of the legendary dating show chatted to LADbible

Going on First Dates seems a little bit daunting – having a load of cameras and mics picking up your every move after you’ve hyped yourself up to date a stranger? Nightmare.

But we always assumed that you’d at least get a free meal out of it. Except now the OG stars have clarified if that’s actually true or not.

The Channel 4 show has now returned for its 21st season, marking a whole 10 years of first daters being greeted by Fred Sirieix at the doors.

Yep, 10 whole years of First Dates – feel old yet?

LADbible spoke to some of the OG stars about how the food is paid for as the TV restaurant moves from Manchester to Bath.

Barman Merlin Griffiths wasted no time in clarifying that the daters absolutely pay for their food – you don’t actually get to tuck into a full-on free meal while you’re being filmed attempting to flirt.

“You can't comp the whole thing - if you give people a free ride, they start doing strange things, they don't act like themselves,” he says.

“In order for it to be a real date and a genuine experience then paying is part of it.”

Fred chimed in too: “It's recreating what happens in a real restaurant because we are in a real restaurant, and it's a real date.”

First Dates is back for a new series.
Channel 4

But with the daters needing to pay, comes drama over who is paying the bill – unsurprisingly.

I mean, there will always be a debate over who should pay or if it should be split. And for one dater in the original London restaurant it caused an absolute nightmare.

Merlin recalled: “There was that lovely chap in London, he was a bus driver. He'd been homeless for quite a long time and he’d just been recently employed and got his life together.”

The barman acknowledged it wasn’t exactly the ‘cheapest of restaurants’.

“And he was struggling with the bill when it finally came at the end of his date - he had a brilliant date - it was going to be a sure-fire yes. And then when the bill dropped, he's like, ‘I'm really really sorry, I can't afford to pay for you.’ And at that single moment, I felt so sad, so bad for him because the lady he was with, while she absolutely loved him to bits, for her it was a complete deal breaker moment.

Merlin is best known as First Dates' resident barman.
Channel 4

"She just suddenly flipped and went, 'Well if you're that sort of guy, I can't see you again.'”

In terms of who should pay the bill or whether it should be split, server Cici Coleman doesn’t think ‘there’s a right or wrong’.

“I think life experiences change your reasoning, it’s just based on preference,” she says.

“I’ve been brought up where my dad did pay – so that’s all I know. So when I receive something different to that, I get a bit confused.

“But now anything goes.”

Well, there you have it lads – if you’re thinking about bagging yourself a spot on First Dates, you’re going to have to pay for the food.

And you better be prepared for your dater to have opinions on the bill etiquette.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: First Dates, Sex and Relationships, TV and Film, Channel 4, Fred Sirieix