It’s the TV dating show where, every week, a procession of catcalling divas and lovelorn romantics desperately search for The One. And sometimes the girls aren’t much better.
After a decade on air, Take Me Out remains a firm Lights On with viewers.
But, if what happens on screen regularly makes for Grade A, hands-over-eyes telly – brazen innuendo, scorching savages and this bloke below who was so apparently stunned he had a date he face planted a wall – it’s nothing, it seems, compared to what goes on behind the scenes.
Past contestants have revealed to LADbible that when the cameras aren’t rolling the behaviour of contestants can be even more outrageous.
Think drinking, bitching, DM-sliding, mansion-trashing, partner-swapping, and… what?! … 6am starts for hair and make-up.
The good news for anyone thinking of applying for a future show? Host Paddy McGuinness is as much of a ledge IRL as he is on TV (“he puts you completely at ease,” says 2017 alumni Mitch Mimms. “If you mess up, he rescues you.”). The bad news? Being thrown to 30 girls isn’t quite the dream some fellas might imagine.
“It’s literally the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” says 25-year-old Bayo Adeoshun, who was a contestant last year. “When you go down the love lift, your adrenalin is pumping so hard. But you just go out there and hope the girls aren’t too brutal.”
The actual filming is hard work, apparently. Well, that is if putting on make-up compares to manual labour.
“You stay in a hotel in Maidstone,” says Leanne Rees, who also appeared in 2017. “It’s a 6am start, then you spend all day at the studio – make-up, rehearsals, filming – until gone 11pm. That’s just for one episode. Then you get up and do it all again the next day. It’s pretty shattering.”
Leanne Rees on the set of ‘Take Me Out’. Credit: Supplied
Leanne reckons the girls are there for a mix of reasons. “Some are looking for love,” she says. “I think others just want a couple of days in the sun.
“It’s hard to judge whether to leave your light on. I wanted a date but I was always thinking, ‘What if my soulmate is the next person to come down and I miss him?’. In the end, neither happened.”
Couples on the show are whisked off to Fernando’s – which turns out to be Tenerife. But those on-screen matches barely scratch the surface of what happens after.
Nicki Donohoe with host Paddy McGuinness Credit: Supplied
“There are WhatsApp groups and you’ll get people sending you private messages,” reveals 31-year-old Leanne. “There have been a few nights out since filming – Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle.
“There’s drinking and there’s always hooking up. I know there’s been one proper relationship. It’s inevitable. It’s a group of single people who have all had a common experience.”
Not everyone sticks to one partner, either.
“There are a few guys – and girls – who’ve been with a couple of others, but why not?” says Nicki Donohoe, a 37-year-old stylist who was a contestant in 2012. “Our wrap party was at a mansion in Wales which one of the girls hired.
“It was two days of mayhem. It was reported in The Sun. They called it an orgy, which isn’t my word but I think there was probably some of that going on. I’d never seen so many empty bottles, smashed mirrors, broken furniture. I don’t think we got our deposit back.”
The infamous ‘Take Me Out’ mansion ‘orgy’. Credit: Supplied
And that bad behaviour does occasionally lead to confrontation, it seems.
“The guys tend to be pretty chilled but there was some definite bitching between the girls about who was getting with who,” says Nicki.
It’s not all just wild times, though. Seven couples who met via the show have since gone on to be married. There have been three babies, with two more on the way.
Dan Nash and Dawn Edwards are one of those success stories. She left her light on for him back in 2010 – and they’re now wed with baby Charlie.
“I only went on the show for a laugh but I ended up meeting someone and falling in love,” says 32-year-old Dan. “We chatted easily once the cameras were off. For me, the spark was instant.”
So, it looks like there have been more than a few happy endings for Take Me Outcontestants…
Words and interviews by Colin Drury
Featured Image Credit: Take Me Out / ITV