Interview: Steve Jones on E4's 'Young, Free and Single - Live'.
Young, Free & Single: Live (8x60’) – a brand new E4 dating show presented by Steve Jones gives viewers the chance to watch and influence the love lives of a group of six young singles spending the summer looking for love in London’s East End.
Staying together in an apartment the singles will reveal the highs and lows of their love lives over eight weeks. From old flames and online matches to blind dates, every swipe, sext and smooch will be captured by the cameras.
The singletons will then gather to watch the best and worst of the week’s dates back …. live on E4. Host Steve Jones will be on hand to offer feedback on each romantic encounter and share comments and tips from viewers who will be able to watch, rate them via social media and possibly even date the singles themselves!
Reliving every kiss, cringe or car crash date their every move will be up for scrutiny but will our singles find true love, be serial Casanovas or end up as dating disasters?!
So, can you explain the concept of the show?
There will be six people in the house – a bunch of young, attractive, cool people go out and about over the course of a week on a series of dates, and then on a Monday night at 10pm we play out those dates on TV, and the viewers get to comment on those dates with honesty, through my good self. So people will tell them where they’re going wrong and where they’re going right, how they can improve, and hopefully help them to improve their dating technique, so that they can eventually find love.
What’s your role going to be? How heavily will you be involved with the people in the house?
I’m not going to go on the actual dates with them! I don’t want to be a third wheel. The dates will be pre-recorded over the week. They’re real dates, they will meet each other in the flesh, have an evening together, and then we’ll play out those dates during the live show and the viewers can comment via social media.
Working on the basis that disasters make for excellent television, will you be hoping that not all the dates go smoothly?
Whether I’m hoping for disasters or not, they’re going to happen. When two people get together and they haven’t met before, they sit down, and have forced interaction, disasters happen. Sit down and talk to this person for two hours. Eat and drink and try and get on and fall in love. It’s difficult. It’s a very difficult thing to do. Everyone’s searching for love – everybody goes on date after date after date these days, thanks to social media- and there’s always going to be awkwardness at some point. We’re going to battle through that, hopefully with the input of the viewers. People on social media always know far more than anyone else, after all, so with their input, we can help these people get better at the dating game. It’s tough. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it. It’s never easy.
As you say, viewers will be able to comment through social media. Presumably that has the potential to be fairly brutal?
Well, it has the potential to be brutal, yeah, but I’m the guy in control, so I’ll make sure it’s not too brutal. If it’s not constructive and it’s not funny, then I’m not really interested. I’m not there to brutalise these people, I’m on their side to pass on advice from the nation!
If we’d seen a young, single Steve Jones on a date on a show like this, what do you think the criticisms or comments would have been?
That’s a good question! I don’t know… Lack of forethought, maybe? I don’t really have any techniques or lines. I’ll just sit down and be myself and hopefully that’s enough. I’m not really that guy who had chat-up lines or just walked up to people in bars and started chatting them up. I’d just sit down, and whatever comes out of my mouth, hopefully the person who’s opposite me will enjoy that, or think it’s funny or interesting. I haven’t got any techniques as such. I think the opposite sex can sniff out a technique, or something that’s been done a few times before. People want you to be genuine, they don’t want a player. I’ve never been that guy at all. I think they’d probably just say “This guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing!” But you’ve just got to be yourself, and if that’s not good enough, so be it. I don’t like the idea of going on a date and bringing up my representative – “this is the best version of me”. The mask will slip at some point. So go on a date, be yourself, and if the other person doesn’t like it, then pull up your britches and get on with it. Find somebody who does like you.
Would you ever have considered going on a show like this yourself, when you were younger and single, before you were famous?
Oh yes, definitely. I’ve thought about this before – if I didn’t do what I do, if I was still in my old job in a printing factory back in the valleys, I’d be hitting Tinder and Snapchat, I’d be all over that, let me tell you. It took me 34 years to meet the woman I married – it’s tough out there, you’ve got to get out there and meet as many people as possible. You’ve got to sift through the ones you’re not going to stick with to find the one that you are. By any means possible. I’ve got a lot of friends who have met their partner on social media, dating sites, and there’s always this element of embarrassment. It annoys me that people feel like that. Don’t be embarrassed. You’ve met somebody. You’ve got somebody to lie next to at night. Get it by any means possible.
Why are we so fascinated by dating shows?
It’s just people, isn’t it? People are fascinating. And when you get two people together in a forced situation, it’s intriguing. If my wife and I are in a restaurant and we see a couple who are clearly on a date, we can’t help but be drawn to it. There’s just something about it. People are fascinating, relationships are fascinating, that’s why OK magazine is allowed to exist, because everyone wants to know what’s going on behind closed doors, and we’re just fascinated by each other. The first thing you ask when you meet a new couple is “How did you meet?” because it’s fascinating. So with this show, if we can actually show a genuine meeting of two people who go on to be together beyond that, I think that’s definitely worth watching. I’m fascinated by it, I can’t wait.
Also, the guys on the show, I think they do things a bit differently from how I did in my day. They’re all so confident! Twenty-somethings nowadays, they know what they want, they know what they’ve got, it’s a really fascinating confidence. Never had that when I was a kid. I always thought I was stupid and ugly. So when I see these 18-25-year-olds who are like “I’m beautiful, I’m intelligent, and I need somebody who can appreciate that,” I just think that’s extraordinary.
As you say, you’re a respectable married man these days. How’s married life treating you?
Love it. Love it. Best thing I’ve ever done. I recently got married for the second time, in Las Vegas. We got married last October in Mayfair, and unfortunately my wife’s parents couldn’t make it. It was too last-minute for them. So we decided to go to Vegas, where she’s from, and got remarried two weeks ago, a proper Vegas-style wedding. We got given away by Elvis, there were fireworks on the 4th of July, it was wonderful. So I got married for the second time. I hope there’ll be a third. The problem with my wife is she’s so fantastic I want to keep marrying her, but I can only do it a certain amount of times. I love her so much that I keep thinking “Right, I’m going to propose in this moment, because she’s so perfect,” and then I think “Oh wait a minute, I’m already married to her.”
Young, Free and Single - Live starts 10 Aug 2015, 22:00 on E4.