Cilla Black used to have a show called Blind Date, where a contestant picked a partner from three people hidden behind a wall. Their guide was the voice. Charm. Humour. It’s what we call romance. In Naked Attraction (Channel 4, Mondays, 10.30pm), a contestant is introduced to six naked bodies and has to pick a date. This is what we call animal lust. Except that it’s unnatural. In the wild, boy monkey sees girl monkey at they go at it like, well, monkeys. In Naked Attraction, the nude stands there idly, awkwardly, while the beholder examines their private parts. They could be mannequins.
The show is repulsive. Take Tracy, a mother of two looking for love. She says she’s looking for someone who has a wild side, is caring and has a sense of humour. Now you might wonder how Tracy can tell any of that from a cadaver – but this show jumps through extraordinary hoops to justify its premise.
The host points at the lower half of a nude body and asks Tracy to give her judgment of what’s “behind” the man’s nakedness. Tracy examines him closely. She says: “I think he looks very caring. He might be good at cooking or gardening. He looks like he might buy me flowers.”
Interestingly, this is one of the contestants that Tracy rejects. She chooses another bloke, presumably because his body says “financially solvent and ideal father for my two children”. Neither of whom, I hope, will discover later in life that their mum was on this show. They’d die of embarrassment.
Or would they? We live in a shameless culture with little sense of privacy, and we daren’t judge people’s life choices, so Naked Attraction probably reflects the ethics of its time. Personally, I miss the age of Blind Date, when mismatched lovers were sent off for a romantic break in Scarborough with the promise to “come back next week and tell us all about it”. If nothing happened, they said so. If something did happen, they lied. Well, their mum was probably watching. And what she didn’t know couldn’t harm her.