Dates (TV series)

Last updated

Genre Drama
Written by Bryan Elsley
Directed by John Maybury
Opening theme"Chloe" by Hannah Peel [1]
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes9 (list of episodes)
Producer Bradley Adams
Chris Clough
Harry Enfield
Production locationLondon
Running time30 min
Production companyBalloon Entertainment Ltd.
Original network Channel 4
Original release10 June (2013-06-10) 
3 July 2013 (2013-07-03)
External links

Dates is a British television romantic drama series created by Bryan Elsley, who also created Skins , [2] which first aired on Channel 4 on 10 June 2013, at 22:00 (BST), [3] as part of its "Mating Season" programming, [4] [5] illustrating a series of first dates between online dating service users. [6] The show's target audience is "ABC1". [3]



Set in London, each episode focuses on one date.


Creator Bryan Elsley conceived the idea of Dates between December 2011 and January 2012, stating "a date is a very complex and grown up interaction between two people. It's a complex language that everyone understands. Everyone knows the difficulty of spending an hour or so in someone's company that you haven't met before. It seemed to be that there was an almost infinite range of possibilities that could flow from that. So dramatically it became very attractive". [7] Dates was commissioned and approved by Channel 4 in September 2012. [8]

Dates was filmed in London during the first quarter of 2013. [9]


Dates features numerous up-and-coming and more established British and Irish actors and actresses. [10] [11]

To promote the series and to provide further background knowledge, Channel 4 has created a series of fake online dating profiles for each of the main characters. [12]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.K. viewers
(millions) [13]
1"Mia and David" John Maybury Bryan Elsley 10 June 2013 (2013-06-10)2.19
Northern lorry driver David arrives at a restaurant to meet Celeste with whom he has arranged a date via the Internet. 'Celeste' arrives but is actually called Mia and proceeds to be offensive to him and the waitress. She eventually drops her guard and finds herself enjoying herself with David but whilst he talks about himself he discloses he has 4 children and his wife is deceased. Mia excuses herself and leaves for the toilet but leaves the restaurant without telling him. David bumps into her as she is hailing a taxi where they kiss before she flees in a taxi.
2"Jenny and Nick" Charles Sturridge Nancy Harris 11 June 2013 (2013-06-11)1.62
Jenny, a shy teacher from Rotherham, meets super-confident city trader Nick in a London wine bar. She is nervous and talkative, he is bluff and full of himself though he does confess that his promiscuity wrecked his marriage. Then he takes a phone call from work and leaves the room. He is gone a long time so Jenny follows and discovers him having sex with the waiter in the toilet. She gets her revenge by stealing his wallet.
3"Mia and Stephen" John Maybury Ben Schiffer 12 June 2013 (2013-06-12)1.38
Mia meets another date, superficially self-assured surgeon Stephen, though she shocks him by telling him that when she was an escort girl he paid her for sex. Stephen wants to leave but Mia reminds him that they are on a date and as the date progresses they wind up having sex in an alley before moving on to a pub. He gets a call from his hospital to say that he is needed and takes Mia with him, her unexpected kindness to a dying patient leaving him feeling confused.
4"Erica and Kate"Philippa LangdaleJamie Chan18 June 2013 (2013-06-18)1.46
Erica, a lesbian who cannot tell her traditional Chinese family, meets the experienced Kate in a bar and, although Kate is annoyed to find that Erica has been with men, they go to a hotel for sex. Next morning Kate is scathing when Erica tells her she is afraid to come out to her family but they still agree to meet for brunch. During the argument Erica takes a call from her brother and as the two women make their next date Erica realises she had never hung up on her brother. The episode ends with her brother telling her that she cannot do what she is doing.
5"David and Ellie"Sarah WalkerLaura Hunter19 June 2013 (2013-06-19)1.28
On his thirty-fourth birthday David meets Ellie and they go for a meal. Ellie is, however, suspiciously young looking and when a friend comes over to speak to her it confirms David's surmise that she is still a (nineteen year old) student. She is nonetheless very mature for her age and, having heard David talking about Mia, makes contact with her and eventually takes David to her flat, where Mia and David reconcile.
6"Erica and Callum"Philippa Langdale Jamie Brittain 25 June 2013 (2013-06-25)1.13
Erica meets Callum in a Chinese restaurant. He is a brash, self-opinionated slob who thinks she should fancy him. However, when she tells him that she is gay and only went on the date to please her brother Tony, who wants to 'turn' her straight he is sympathetic and they get drunk together - so drunk in fact that Callum gets out of hand and Erica calls Tony. Tony pays off the restaurant staff to not file any charges against Callum and Callum gets up to leave. Before he goes he urges Erica to stand up for herself. The episode ends with Erica more forcefully telling her brother she is gay and going for a drink with Callum in a happier mood.
7"Stephen and Mia" Paul Andrew Williams Bryan Elsley26 June 2013 (2013-06-26)1.03
Stephen arranges to meet Mia for afternoon sex at an hotel but she rings to say she is not coming. He falls in with a conference of local government officers and is mistaken for a speaker from Scotland. While maintaining the pretense he befriends Heidi. Stephen separates Heidi from the group and while flirting with one another she informs Stephen that she is separated from her husband. They embark on a playful swim in the hotel pool which almost turns into sex before Stephen gets a phone call from his hospital. Heidi learns of his ruse and gets up to leave. The episode ends with Stephen being told he is a good kisser and Stephen telling Heidi she looks hot.
8"Jenny and Christian"Charles SturridgeNancy Harris2 July 2013 (2013-07-02)1.00
Jenny goes on another date and appears to hit it off with Christian as they both find the exhibits in the art gallery where they meet pretentious. He is sympathetic as she recalls doomed previous dates and her ex-fiance's marriage. Although he belongs to a religious group and she is an atheist she finds him wholly charming and they return to his flat for afternoon sex. Unfortunately he has omitted to tell Jenny something very important about himself - as she discovers when his wife walks in on them. The episode ends with Christian begging Jenny to let him stay in her apartment overnight. Jenny pushes back and walks away from Christian feeling happier in herself.
9"Mia and David"Charles SturridgeBen Schiffer3 July 2013 (2013-07-03)0.90
Mia is supposed to meet David with a view to meeting his children. She arrives late irking David and she discloses she's unprepared to meet his family. David storms off and Mia rings Stephen who surprisingly arrives but brings his son along. Stephen convinces Mia to hang around and she plays Jenga with Stephen and his son. She enjoys herself and when Stephen's son leaves, the couple returns to her apartment where they see a drunken injured David. Stephen fixes David's injury and then departs after kissing Mia. David comes clean to Mia that he has feelings for her, after which she admits to sleeping with men for money. The episode ends with David agreeing with Mia that it was too soon to meet his children and to keep the relationship on a fun level.


Dates has been critically well received thus far. Tom Sutcliffe from The Independent wrote, "the writer who wants to leave an impression behind will always be tugged towards a gratifying finish. Credit due to Bryan Elsley, then, for ending the first of Dates, a series of dramas about modern relationships, with an ambiguity". [14]

Of the first episode, Gerard O'Donovan of The Telegraph wrote, "It was enjoyable, I didn't just want more, I couldn't wait to see how successive episodes would link and weave into a format so unforgivingly dependent on great writing and acting. Suffice to say, in a game of snog, marry or avoid, Dates is definitely a keeper". [6]

Lucy Mangan of The Guardian called the first episode "a little nugget of bliss" [15] and commended the show for its realism and its "beauty" in its screenplay and acting. [15]

Paul Naylor of Express & Star deemed that the execution of the first episode was "classy". [16]

Of the first three episodes, The Scotsman wrote, "Elsley is attempting to say something meaningful about the guises we adopt at our most vulnerable and desperate. It's an unedifying portrait of human nature at somewhere near its worst: a cynical blast of rotten candour. Whether Elsley and his fellow writers actually like their characters is a moot point, but I can't deny the voyeuristic impact of these superbly performed chamber pieces". [17]

Writing for The Spectator , Clarissa Tan said that the show's "smartness gets wearying after a while". She criticised episode four on the basis that a lesbian coming out narrative "is quite thin as plots go, but not as thin as the sheets that she and her new lover Kate are under for most of the show". Tan concluded that the characters are "tropes rather than people", "a congregation of characteristic, a multitude of attitudes". [18]

International broadcast

In Australia, the series premiered on 16 February 2015 on BBC First [19] and was watched by 21,000 viewers. [20]

U.S. Ratings

The CW aired nine episodes of the show in 2015. [21]

Season 1

EpisodeAir dateA18-49 Rating/ShareViewers (Millions)
Mia and David9 July 20150.2/10.69 [22]
Jenny and Nick9 July 20150.1/10.51 [22]
Mia and Steven16 July 20150.1/10.54 [23]
Erica and Kate16 July 20150.1/00.47 [23]
David and Ellie23 July 20150.1/00.55 [24]
Erica and Callum23 July 20150.1/00.53 [24]
Stephen and Mia30 July 20150.1/10.55 [25]
Jenny and Christian30 July 20150.2/10.55 [25]
Mia and David6 August 20150.2/10.45 [26]


Entertainment One and Bryan Elsley have partnered to release a companion e-book to the television series. [27]

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  22. 1 2 Thursday Final Ratings: ‘Under the Dome’ & ‘Food Fighters’ Adjusted Up - Ratings |
  23. 1 2 Thursday Final Ratings: ‘Mistresses’ Adjusted Up; ‘Astronaut Wives Club’ Adjusted Down + No Adjustment for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ - Ratings |
  24. 1 2 Thursday Final Ratings: 'Big Brother' Adjusted Up; No Adjustment to 'Wayward Pines' - Ratings |
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  27. Padovano, Joanna (13 June 2013). "eOne to Release eBook Based on Dating Drama".