Celebs Go Dating stars reveal what it's like to be on the show

By Annabel Rackham
Entertainment reporter

image copyrightE4/ Lime Pictures
image captionThis year's contestants are Georgia Toffolo (bottom left), Bobby Norris (centre left), Sarah-Jane Crawford (centre), James Argent (top left), Charlotte Dawson (centre right), Frankie Cocozza (top right) and Calum Best

We've all wondered what it's like to date a celebrity - the fancy restaurants, paparazzi and exclusive events.

For the daters on E4's Celebs Go Dating show, this has become a reality.

Members of the public get to date the people they've seen on shows like Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex.

We spoke to the show's agents and daters about what it's like to go out with a celebrity.

Celebrity dating agents Eden Blackman and Nadia Essex have been guiding celebrities since the show first started in September 2016.

This series' contestants are Georgia Toffolo, Bobby Norris, Sarah-Jane Crawford, James Argent, Charlotte Dawson, Frankie Cocozza and Calum Best, who have appeared on shows like The Only Way is Essex (Towie), Ex on the Beach, The X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother.

image copyrightE4/ Lime Pictures
image captionCelebrity dating agents Eden Blackman and Nadia Essex use their expertise to find the perfect match for celebrities

Eden's expertise comes from his online dating website, which he set up to stop people "catfishing", meaning they lie about who they really are on social media in order lure people in.

He says from working on the show he's been able to work out who genuinely wants to date a celeb and who just wants the fame.

"We can tell from the daters' social media if they're in it for real reasons or to be on TV for their 15 minutes of fame," he tells the BBC.

"The show has a huge team that interviews the daters and we have a conversation with them, asking all sorts of questions.

"When we sit down with the daters we ask first, why a celebrity dating agency?

"They say it's to try something different, it's a different kind of life, that celebrities are very organised, very driven people.

"Some people just want to see or they just fancy Joey Essex and that's why they want to come on the show.

"There's an element of fun, as we've seen from Love Island, the perks of being the face that makes it through are enormous."

image copyrightE4/ Lime Pictures
image captionBobby Norris, from The Only Way is Essex, is the show's first gay contestant

Paul Godfrey, 29, dated Bobby Norris from The Only Way is Essex on the show and says his life has changed since then.

"I work in fashion styling and events and I've dated people in the public eye before.

"I meet people in the field I'm in and it just depends if we get on, I like to look at the person, not the job title.

"With Bobby I was lucky to meet someone honest and genuine, we had a lot in common and that was a good ice breaker.

"Your life does change when you date someone famous, people followed mine and Bobby's story as we were the first LGBT couple on the show.

"I get stopped most days on the street, my followers have gone up on social media but I've not had one bad comment."

image copyrightVictoria Winterford
image captionVictoria dated Calum Best on the show

Victoria Winterford, 25, got to date two contestants on the show, Calum Best and Towie star James "Arg" Argent and says her dates proved public perceptions were wrong.

"I've watched Towie before and Arg has always come across as a nice person - he was really lovely, funny and welcoming.

"With Calum I had heard about his past reputation but he proved himself to be a proper gentleman, he has been shown in a bad light and has really changed.

"I thought it would be a funny show and a good experience, it would be a bit different as I'd never dated a celebrity before.

"I'm a personal trainer and for me it's been a good platform and I've had good feedback on Twitter.

"For me it's not about fame or promoting teeth whitening, people are over 15 minutes of fame as it doesn't last long."

image copyrightE4/ Lime Pictures
image captionEden Blackman has been with the show since it started in 2016 and also runs a dating website that stops fake accounts being made

Celebs Go Dating was a surprise hit when it first came to screens last year and is now in its third series.

Eden believes this is down to the stars who take part, defending the show amid recent criticism that the contestants aren't really celebrities.

"When the first series of Celebs Go Dating started, we had no idea how this was going to work out.

"We needed to fill a certain amount of places and people like Steph Pratt (Made in Chelsea) and Joey Essex (Towie) were great additions.

"This show is still in its infancy, so give us a year to get the celebs people consider celebs.

"I'm getting asked on Twitter by celebs how they can be a part of it.

"They have to invest in the process and listen to me and Nadia without five managers telling them what to do."

Celebs Go Dating is on E4 every weekday evening at 10pm.

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