With sport dominating the early summer TV schedules those of us who are looking for an alternative are being pushed towards the search for love. Or that is what it feels like in my house where I’m still needing my nightly fix of Love Island and on Tuesday night Channel 4 unleashed “A Year To Fall In Love”. This documentary show features the video diaries of 20 people over a year as they attempt to find “the one”. This appealed because I thought it was going to be pacey – 20 people, one year all in the space of an hour. I thought this might curb Channel 4’s love of the “recap” as there just wouldn’t be time. In the TV schedules this programme did look like it was going to be a one-off rather than a series. At the closing credits (when we’d seen less than 20 people) I discovered this was just a taster for the rest of the series which would be tucked away on the All-4 catch up service rather on Channel 4 itself. Feeling just a little duped a visit to All-4 revealed 6 online episodes. I’m not too sure why C4 would shunt this over onto the online platform, other than suggesting that it’s not the social-experiment-for-our-times I’d anticipated but something more along the lines of summer-time filler.
Freddy has a year to fall in love
The most fascinating aspects of this programme were the statistics. Nearly 40% of people now meet their partners online which has changed the whole rationale of the way in which people select and relate to a partner. Online the choice can be overwhelming bringing the user into contact with people that they would never meet in their everyday social and professional life but this selection process does bring about anxiety, inability to make a decision and commit to it and a fear of being “ghosted”- a term I’d never heard before watching this. The pitfalls of choosing online were clearly brought home in this. The most important way to make an impression is therefore the profile photo. Also, apparently the average relationship lasts for three months so for most it’s not too long before the whole process has to begin again.
Nick has a year to fall in love
On this first episode we met performance artist (?) Freddy who asked out a girl who had known as a friend for some time; husband-hunting Sophie who was on the look-out for a wealthy man who wears a big watch (?!); Nick who was struggling with the etiquette of online dating: Niki, who was keeping her girl/boy options open whose first weeks of recording her quest seemed to show progressively dodgy choices to the point where she was scared to answer her phone and Brighton resident Xander negotiating gay dating apps. There were considerable ups and downs for all proving once again the road to love is far from smooth.
Niki has a year to fall in love
However, the format of the programme was such that I found myself not too bothered as to whether their searches would be successful and whereas I might watch further episodes to find out more if it had a weekly time-spot on Channel 4 going onto All-4 for box-set viewing is probably something I will not bother with. Most of us still have that mind-set that online viewing shows cannot be as good as main channel picks and because this means I am questioning C4’s commitment to this project maybe it’s not for me. I’ll stick with “Love Island” (and I couldn’t imagine me writing that a couple of months ago!)
The first episode of “A Year To Fall in Love” was shown at 10pm on Tuesday 19th June and is available like the rest of the series on All-4 catch-up/online service.