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Dating brunch From Love Island to Naked Attraction - we count down the best and worst dating shows

As Sexy Beasts hits our screens this week Audrey Kane counts down the best, worst and the most cringey dating shows

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Some of the contestants transformed and
looking for love on Sexy Beasts

Some of the contestants transformed and looking for love on Sexy Beasts

Some of the contestants transformed and looking for love on Sexy Beasts

Ah, reality television. You never fail to amaze us.

1. SEXY BEASTS

Just when you think nothing can surprise you - this little beauty comes along and proves you wrong. Netflix's latest offering has pumped up the crazy levels to the max with this one.

To sum it up, it's essentially The Masked Singer - without the singing but with potential snogging. The idea is to test whether these contestants can fall in love based solely on a person's personality while disguised in high-quality prosthetic makeup. The first episode features Matt the dog who has three women vying for his attention, Rachael the red skull, Kirsty the blue alien and a lizard from Essex. We're already hooked.

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Dating in the Dark

Dating in the Dark

Dating in the Dark

2. DATING IN THE DARK

YOU'LL feel pretty good about your life choices when you watch this. It follows a trio of single guys and girls who move into separate houses, then meet for the first time in the dark. The voyeuristic concept is slightly creepy - basically watching couples get some action through night vision googles. The show tried to prove that true beauty comes from within, but once the lights came on, most of the 'soulmates' found themselves dumped.

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3. 90 DAY FIANCÉ

LET'S face it, dating in the real world can be hard, so it's nice sometimes to sit back and enjoy other people making fools of themselves. 90 Day Fiancé delivers just that and then some. Following the lives of Americans who have fallen in love with foreigners, the show is centred around the K-1 visa process, which allows Americans to bring their fiancé or fiancée to the country for 90 days. If they don't get married before that they are sent back to their country of origin. There's cultural differences, compatibility issues and near-constant red flags throughout.

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4. NAKED ATTRACTION

HANDS (and pants) down this show will provide you with a full body worth of second-hand embarrassment thanks to complete strangers. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but the show has managed to amass something of a cult following.

The Channel 4 series, hosted by broadcaster Anna Richardson (pictured) sees people standing in different coloured booths as they are revealed body part by body part and then critiqued, all in a quest to find love.

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Some think it's demeaning, others argue that it promotes diverse body types - either way just don't zoom in too much. At the end, the contestant strips off too and walks off into the horizon hand in hand with their chosen partner completely starkers. And they say romance is dead.

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5. TOO HOT TO HANDLE

THIS is the kind of trashy TV you feel guilty for watching but also can't wait to talk to everyone you know about. The premise of this show is literally horny sex-mad singles from all over the world in a tropical villa unable to touch each other after a cone-shaped AI informs them that all sex is banned. Every time the contestants kiss, have sex, or get frisky in any way, the prize money decreases. Prepare for plenty of rule breaking and sexual tension.

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take me out

take me out

take me out

6. TAKE ME OUT

Paddy McGuinness hosted this Saturday night staple for over 10 years - it was silly and fun and everything we needed. Just the right amount of tacky to make it entertaining. It sees 30 single women looking for a date - and a series of men coming down the 'Love Lift' to try to impress them. The dates were painful to watch and the catchphrases were naff - "No likey, no lighty" - but we loved it anyway.

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LOVE ISLAND

LOVE ISLAND

LOVE ISLAND

7. LOVE ISLAND

WE really are spoilt for choice when it comes to dating shows, but Love Island remains a firm favourite and with good reason.

Firstly, it's a welcome distraction from the never-ending pandemic.

Secondly, we get to watch sexy, not-a-care-in-the-world, young people find love while lounging around a dreamy villa, while most of us are slogging our way through the work week looking forward to escaping out the back garden at the weekend. Or is that just us?

Much of the show's appeal comes from the fact that its contestants are not reality franchise alumni, but regular people, like us - only hotter.

When they're not pulling each other aside for "chats", they're happily entertaining us with their antics. It's presented by our very own Laura Whitmore and her other half hubby Iain Stirling whose cheeky one-liners help to make the series great.

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8. BACK WITH THE EX

Where TV love is concerned, the breakups are just as important as the makeups - but this one actually makes us break out in a cold sweat. It follows four former couples in their quest to discover whether they want to get back together and find out if their ex has changed over the years. Spoiler alert, they haven't and that's why they're your ex - HELLO.

The former flames - promising that they'll change, even though everyone knows they won't - usually end up falling into the same traps that ended their relationship before. There are seven episodes, each of which are around an hour long and it's addictive.

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9. BEAUTY AND THE GEEK

It started back in 2005 and it's still going today. The premise basically plays on stereotypes that the "beauties" are attractive young women who aren't very bright and the "geeks" are smart but unpolished guys with limited social skills. But ultimately they build friendships and respect for each other, which has nothing to do with the $250,000 prize money. Of course not. Produced by Ashton Kutcher, it's an oldie but a goodie.

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10. FIRST DATES

What better way to watch a relationship unfold - in a restaurant surrounded by other people and constantly getting interrupted by the staff. But surprisingly it works quite well. While many Irish takes on foreign TV show concepts can be cringey, this one made a smooth transition from Channel 4.

First Dates Ireland is filmed in Coda Eatery at The Gibson Hotel and fronted by maître d' Mateo Saina, who is assisted by barman Ethan Miles (always a hit with the ladies) and waiters Alice and Pete. The show is now taking applications for season seven if you fancy the classic issue of splitting the bill after dinner.

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