C4 programme ‘The Undateables’ – Good or bad idea?


March 19, 2012 by sharonbrennan

I saw today that Channel 4 are launching a new programme called ‘The Undateables’. It basically sends people with a disability or impairment to a dating agency and tries to help them find love. Is this a good idea?

The blurb is already pretty unfortunate.

It says that the programme will follow “a range of people whose ability to form relationships is affected by an impairment or challenging condition – such as being deaf, or having Tourette’s”. I’m not deaf nor do I have tourettes but I wouldn’t have thought either of those conditions has an impact on a person’s ‘ability to form a relationship’ as that complicated emotional stuff about commitment and falling in love doesn’t have much to do with whether you can hear clearly or not. 

I do have Cystic Fibrosis. I know that lots of CF people do worry about whether or not they will find someone to settle down with as it does take a very special person to say ‘yes please’ to all the crap that CF entails (including not reaching pensioner age or, for me, having kids (although some CF people do have children). But I’d just like to add the other side of the coin: that having a serious illness makes you genuinely understand the brevity of our life on earth and that means that some of us don’t want to put up with shit relationships just so we can say we are attached. I’m pretty sure I once dated someone who was attracted to ‘ill’ people as it made him feel more like a man. I’ve also dated people who have emotional problems of their own that my crap lungs seemed like a small ‘problem’ in comparison. I didn’t want to stay with either of them just because they were ‘willing’ to date me.

Anyhow, I think for teenagers growing up with an illness dating is a bad enough worry without walking round town and coming across posters hailing you and ‘your sort’ the new undateables.

What does everyone else think? Is this programme a good idea or an absolutely crap one?

p.s. I’d just like to add I’m married to the most amazing man in the whole world so for anyone reading this and thinking their health might prevent them meeting their love, then believe me IT DOESN’T!

3 thoughts on “C4 programme ‘The Undateables’ – Good or bad idea?

  1. Tim says:

    It could a great series, why not?

    Well, it does depend on what kind of problems people have – tourettes doesn't seem especially limiting, like you say, but I can see they may struggle to find someone that understands and accepts them – which is the same for all disabilities/impairments really.

    The danger is with these kind of programmes is that are a kind of 'freak show' – to amuse and fascinate the able masses, rather than genuinely be of interest to those affected.

    I met my girlfriend online, shes fantastic and accepts me as I am – though not via a dating site. We both struggled with people so met on a support forum for such-like, and we just sparked. We are now engaged, though its never been easy – we make the best of things, and nothing else really matters, we could be homeless (and may well do the way things are going) and still be just as in love!

    Love can be found if you really want it, but dating sites are difficult places even for able-bodied – try support sites, or forums related to your beliefs or interests, you are much more likely to find someone compatible/accepting that way.

  2. Thanks for your comment Tim. My worry is that disabled people have been singled out as hard to date – marking us as 'different' to everyone else, rather than just part and parcel of mainstream society, of which everyone can struggle to find 'the one'.

  3. KimHatton says:

    I think the series is a really crap idea which could be, and in the mould of reality TV, probably will be extremely exploitative and stereotyping. I quite agree with you that it singles out disabled people as 'different' and this is what I see as the primary danger.

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