In an era of 90s reboots could there be a more perfect presenter than Scarlett Moffatt to take over from Davina McCall on Streetmate duties? The original dating series ran on Channel 4 from 1998-2001 and had a whopping 45 episodes across 4 series. Before she was Ms Big Brother Davina was mainly running down streets searching for eligible singletons like Anneka Rice chasing a helicopter (a 90’s reference that won’t help millennials understand what I mean). Likely couples were set up in the street and then sent off together on a date.
A simple dating show like this is even more relevant these days, as people grow sick of using dating apps that encourage fakery and catfishing. Isn’t it exciting to meet people in real life with none of the technical gubbins getting in the way. Streetmate was always rawer and more authentic than any other dating show on tv, then and now. Having the presenter make the play reduces the very real awkwardness and takes the embarrassment out of what could be a hugely embarrassing situation.
So you can see why the presenter is key to the whole style of the show. And Scarlett (ex Gogglebox and Queen of the I’m a Celebrity Jungle) is a natural fit. She’s funny, giggly, warm and likable. She’s your super-positive best mate who is always on your side and adorably she calls everyone “hun”.
Episode 3 of the new series is set in Birmingham, so as this is my adopted city I started there. Luke is a Black Country lad in his late 20s. A father and fitness fanatic, with two good-sized sleeves of tattoos. So far, very nice, but a tattoo of himself on his own arm might be a step too far, even in celebration of his own physical achievements on a grueling assault course. Like most participants, he insists he’s not fussy but seems to have a long list of likes and dislikes. We get a couple of short interviews with family and friends to get to know him better.
Scarlett runs around the Bullring shopping centre asking if people are single and for their phone numbers. She does very well as she gets two and Luke can choose who to call. He chooses Kirsty who then gets a brief interview of her own at her house. Luke scrubs up well and looks very smart for his date. They seem like a good match and bond over their love of kids, dogs and tattoos. They’re very easy and natural around each other. There’s no Scarlett for the date portion of the show – all chat is direct to their date or down the lens, so there’s no presenter to get in the way. This fits well with making everything less awkward – you need Scarlett to set things up and then leave them to it.
She’s been getting tips from predecessor McCall and says: “I just hope I don’t let Davina down. It’s hard, this dating business. Love is complicated.” She’s very energetic but not quite as hyper or squeaky as Davina, and just as sweet and sparky with what seems to be a genuine soft spot for her couples. She’s a real happy little cupid which makes Streetmate a lovely show and a nice antidote for the real world. Believe in love hun!
Lots and lots of episodes of Streetmate are available on All4 right now.