Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’


10:06 am - March 18th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Channel 4 has a new series launching soon, which, according to their publicity, is about “people looking for love – but with a difference”.

They say:

The series follows a range of people whose ability to form relationships is affected by an impairment or challenging condition – such as being deaf, having Tourette’s or Asperger’s.

The programme charts their quest to find love in an image-obsessed world where people are too quick to make snap judgements or assumptions based on first impressions – and even consider such people to be ‘undateable’.

So they decided to call it ‘The Undateables’ and put out this advertising.

First “Bigger, Fatter, Gypsier” and now this. *facepalm*

via @S_R_Morrison

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


These guys make me look attractive.

Don’t worry, Andreas, you’ve just tipped the balance back the other way.

3. Chaise Guevara

Without seeing the show, I’m not sure if this is a problem. The marketing copy makes it clear that “undateable” refers to the attitudes of the population, not to those of the programme-makers.

4. So Much For Subtlety

3. Chaise Guevara

Without seeing the show, I’m not sure if this is a problem. The marketing copy makes it clear that “undateable” refers to the attitudes of the population, not to those of the programme-makers.

It is still parading the disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money. Sort of like Bedlam used to be. But on a vastly bigger scale.

I find it hard to believe these people agreed to take part in the show knowing it would be called ‘The Undateables’ and advertised like this. If I were one of them, I’d be pretty pissed off the way it treats disabled people as freaks to be gawped at. Typical from Channel 4 though – first transsexuals, then gypsies, now this. I wonder who they’ll find to point and laugh at next?

We’re at a point now where Channel 4 ‘documentaries’ are so predictably lazy and offensive that they are effectively beyond parody.

They’ll have to crack sooner or later when this lazy approach simply runs out of steam.

The Undateables? Jesus wept…

I really hate these reality tv documentaries that pretend to be revealing some social issue but are generally just aimed and marketed as “point and laugh at the freak”.

9. Chaise Guevara

@ SMFS

“It is still parading the disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money. Sort of like Bedlam used to be. But on a vastly bigger scale.”

Very possibly, but I can’t tell that just from the poster.

When I’m in agreement with SMFS, the sky falls and the four horsemen must ride forth to punish the wicked that actually think this crap is funny or smart.

Release the hounds.

My thoughts exactly Mason D. The guy almost sounded human for a second.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone

Dorothy Parker.

@4 – It is still parading the disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money. Sort of like Bedlam used to be. But on a vastly bigger scale.

It’s only ok to parade non disabled people for money then is it?

On the other hand its not fair to trick them into doing the show – After all we all know disabled people are really stupid, easily led and incapable of rational thought based decision making.

I heard they gave them colored bricks to play with during the audition to get them to agree, what’s the world coming too when we let “our special friends” make decisions for themselves, surely a “norm” should have stepped in and put a stop to this

And on next month’s wonderful Channel 4 – let’s all go see the lunatics in Bedlam, 2012 style!

Re Lisa Egan – seconded!

16. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 Dave

“On the other hand its not fair to trick them into doing the show ”

I’ll let SMFS answer your bizarre attack on him for himself, but this… I have no idea what this show is like, but it’s easy to trick people into appearing on shows under false pretenses.

There was some shitty reality show recently (Tool Academy?) that was set up to mock the people on it but told them they were appearing on a totally different kind of program. Plenty of people complain about being misrepresented, whether on documentaries (scientists being quote-minded to look like evolution-deniers on creationist fims) or reality shows (people whose behaviour is selectively edited to make them look like something they’e not, normally an idiot or a bastard). You can turn a serious portrayal into a cruel send-up just by applying a sarky voice-over and stupid music.

As such, I’ve no idea why you’re taking so much offence.

“I’ll let SMFS answer your bizarre attack on him for himself, but this… I have no idea what this show is like, but it’s easy to trick people into appearing on shows under false pretenses.”

Im not attacking him, but his position. I assume that’s what the cooments box is for.

–There was some shitty reality show recently (Tool Academy?) that was set up to mock the people on it but told them they were appearing on a totally different kind of program.

Sources? Seems a clever trick to pull over three seasons

Plenty of people complain about being misrepresented, whether on documentaries (scientists being quote-minded to look like evolution-deniers on creationist fims) or reality shows (people whose behaviour is selectively edited to make them look like something they’e not, normally an idiot or a bastard). You can turn a serious portrayal into a cruel send-up just by applying a sarky voice-over and stupid music.

We dont know if thats happened here? This isnt the OP’s criticism.

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Dave

“Sources? Seems a clever trick to pull over three seasons”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tool_Academy . In the introductory text.

“We dont know if thats happened here? This isnt the OP’s criticism.”

I was addressing your comment, not the OP. The OP doesn’t say anything about trickery, so I assumed you were responding to someone else. If not, what were you on about?

@ 18 Chaise

In tool academy, the blokes dont know what the show is, but their girlfriends do. Its not the producers pulling the trick but the tools partners. That is completely different scenario to what you said.

Your also basing your argument on the fact these disabled people were unaware of the shows premise. I dispute this and will until you provide evidence to the contrary.

Im on about the fact that:

A) parading the disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money is just as bad as parading the non-disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money.
B) disabled people are allowed to make their own choices, why attempt to patronise them by suggesting otherwise

So you understand why im upset, the majority of comments here seem happy to ignore the fact these disabled people have chosen to appear on this show (which you admit you knwo about) and instaed want to remove this decision for them. To me this suggests disabled people cannot know what is good for them and need someone not disabled to be their champion.

PS – you didnt mention my comment re “bizarre attack”. If your going to accuse me of something please have the decency to let me know what you think after reading my defence.

20. Donut Hinge Party

17. Dave, you may be referring to “There’s Something About Miriam,” where the contestants weren’t appraised of the central twist of the show – in that Miriam wasn’t always, um, Miriam.

Tool Academy is a well-established format either sold to or bought from MTV where the girls sign up and their partners give grudging consent to attend.

Everyone has to sign a release form after filming, anyway, hence Dom Joly used to have a series of blurred faces on Trigger Happy when his team couldn’t catch up with people caught on camera.

The only recent potential example of non-consensual programming would be Space Cadets – however that was rumbled as a set up when the most distinctive member of the Cast, with a huge Ginger afro, was caught on an advert for marmalade or something.

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Dave

“In tool academy, the blokes dont know what the show is, but their girlfriends do. Its not the producers pulling the trick but the tools partners. That is completely different scenario to what you said.”

Not really. You’re still tricking someone into going onto TV so the nation can laugh at them. Whether or not their partners were involved seems like a pretty irrelevant technicality to me. And the trick was set up by the producers. So it’s exactly what I said.

“Your also basing your argument on the fact these disabled people were unaware of the shows premise. I dispute this and will until you provide evidence to the contrary.”

Um, what? Where did I say this? And why would I provide evidence for a claim I never made? YOU were the one who brought up trickery, I just responded to your comment.

“A) parading the disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money is just as bad as parading the non-disabled for the general mockery of the population in order to make money.”

Meh, personal judgement call. I can understand why people think it’s worse when it’s disabled people being laughed at.

“B) disabled people are allowed to make their own choices, why attempt to patronise them by suggesting otherwise”

Who has done so?

“So you understand why im upset, the majority of comments here seem happy to ignore the fact these disabled people have chosen to appear on this show (which you admit you knwo about) and instaed want to remove this decision for them. To me this suggests disabled people cannot know what is good for them and need someone not disabled to be their champion.”

I can see where you’re coming from. But you can question the motives of the producers without dismissing the autonomy of the people appearing on the show. And it’s not automatically patronising to stick up for someone.

“you didnt mention my comment re “bizarre attack”. If your going to accuse me of something please have the decency to let me know what you think after reading my defence.”

Sure. You didn’t make a bizarre attack on him, you made a bizarre attack on his argument.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 Donut Hinge Party

“Tool Academy is a well-established format either sold to or bought from MTV where the girls sign up and their partners give grudging consent to attend.”

Wikipedia says otherwise.

“Everyone has to sign a release form after filming, anyway, hence Dom Joly used to have a series of blurred faces on Trigger Happy when his team couldn’t catch up with people caught on camera.”

Does it have to be AFTER filming? Because if you told people they were going on a TV show, but misrepresented its premise, you could presumably get them to sign a form saying “Company X has the right to broadcast footage of me” or whatever.

First “Bigger, Fatter, Gypsier” and now this. *facepalm*

Having watched the three or more Gypsy Wedding programmes after LC had that thread condemning the programme, I thought that given the amount of coverage and number of families – both Irish Traveller and English gypsy on the show … that it showed up some reality to that culture and some of the issues that are real and shouldn’t be swept under the carpet or just politically spun.
But the guy who did the post (Joseph Cottrell-Boyce) never bothered to come back on what was actually shown.

24. Darren Claridge

I know channel 4 is renowned for making stupid programs but i think this one has taken the biscuit as it were.

Im a Carer, and i have to be very professional with people having learning disabilities or mantal health issues. Reassuring, encouraging and comforting individuals is a daily struggle, but never the less rewarding when things work out well in their life, seeing them having some form of normailty, (whatever that is), and to be accepted in the community.

Then Channel 4 want to break them down showing this program on the television to be laughed at by people who are niave or clearly dont understand the difficutlies individuals have.

Im angry, upset also very confused as to why people think that this is acceptable and ordinary for this to be aired. Channel 4 WTF, you do know how to push the boundaries! One day you will take it too far, i wouldnt be suprised to see it very soon.

So did anyone watch the actual programme?
I did and found it it be OK. Some of it was a bit cringeworthy, but there was subtlety in it and it was done in a sympathetic manner too.

I think the OP throws up it’s hands in dispair at seeing the promotional material for the programme, because it underestimates the maturity and empathy of ordinary people. After all the scare stories, it turned out to be not mocking and taking the mick out of the people on it (mostly). It turned out to be decent enough reality TV.

Like Big Fat Gypsy Wedding in fact. LC wrote about how that was going to be terrible and ”racist” too – but in the end wasn’t, because it let the Irish Traveller people tell their own stories and the wider public has the ability to take that in and rationalise it. Which I don’t think the OP think’s can happen and would rather these programmes weren’t made.

2 out of 10 for the OP.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' http://t.co/RFRrkP7t

  2. Jason Brickley

    Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’ http://t.co/rYySc9uS

  3. BevR

    Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/RuhrOQDL via @libcon

  4. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’ http://t.co/psjPqIAe

  5. sara

    Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/RuhrOQDL via @libcon

  6. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating ’ http://t.co/W9ty2p5j

  7. Lisa Egan

    Lots of blogs today still talking about: http://t.co/FLlCGRab I have mixed feelings: http://t.co/5yauO4lA #undateables

  8. Amber Kingston

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy: They say: The series follows a range of people whose ab… http://t.co/G2UhlNNK

  9. Love And Romance

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/0t3DKjAZ

  10. Kris Grant

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy: They say: The series follows a range of people whose ab… http://t.co/WQXo5wJr

  11. Fairytale Princess

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy: They say: The series follows a range of people whose ab… http://t.co/AqfNUtgU

  12. Teri's First Date

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy: They say: The series follows a range of people whose ab… http://t.co/tRTA5HV1

  13. Shele & Michael

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/vq0wcM5C

  14. sonia

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/xD3VqPqD http://t.co/MYObCN6g

  15. Dave Hunter

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5lB4yYlQ

  16. Dave Hunter

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/4A2nJCpq

  17. Dan Baker

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/YNXs5va1

  18. Dan Baker

    Channel 4 covers 'disabled dating' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/zdhg1pfT

  19. Alexandra Singer

    what do you think? I don't know what to think…Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/DSDL8Ytz via @libcon

  20. Flash Bristow

    RT @WTBDavidG "Channel 4 covers ‘disabled dating’" http://t.co/FC4AVUin I'll see your *facepalm* & raise a *headdesk* #disability <=just ew!

  21. Matthew Smith

    Channel 4 on disabled dating – http://t.co/l2kl93pI – and my response: http://t.co/Yce1WNFI #disability #c4 #undateables

  22. Would you date a disabled person? | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] This weekend has seen much outrage over the billboard for C4’s new show The Undateables. […]

  23. Ceri Jones

    @DaisyCottageIRL http://t.co/sL8pAuyz :-) New Channel 4 show

  24. Ceri Jones

    @Drwallington @lisybabe did you see the poster? http://t.co/sL8pAuyz

  25. Mike Mantin

    Really, Channel 4? 'The Undateables'? (via @libcon) http://t.co/DZplugjd

  26. Gareth Millward

    RT @mikemantin: Really, Channel 4? 'The Undateables'? (via @libcon) http://t.co/lzISbaHo

  27. Bea H

    @their_vodka yes, that at least. The next Channel 4 horror is Undateables, http://t.co/AS1wwMGE

  28. Brian Neale

    "The undateables" how low will c4 go ? http://t.co/4cGo6Bke





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