A popular location for filming and professional photography, Spinningfields has hosted a variety of hit TV shows including Years and Years (HBO & BBC), Life (BBC), Cold Feet (ITV) and The Stranger (Netflix), in addition to feature films including the biopic Tolkien (2019) which starred Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins.

Most recently Spinningfields welcomed Season 16 of hit show First Dates to The Refinery’s restaurant and bar on Hardman Boulevard. A fresh, new site for filming, the latest series marks the first time that the show has filmed outside of London (besides the spin-off First Dates Hotel filmed in France and Italy) with the premise and serving cast remaining largely unchanged.

Presented by maître d’ and matchmaker, Fred Sirieix, whom eagle-eyed fans will fondly remember as host of BBC’s Million Pound Menu shot on location in Spinningfields back in 2018, viewers can expect to watch a number of singletons look for love on the show, set up with blind dates that share similar personality traits, jobs and interests.

Whilst the show “arguably does not reflect the current dating experience of the vast majority of the population” (BBC 2021) it does provide an element of “entertainment and escapism” during these unprecedented times. In addition, Producer Sarah Fink explained how all “waiting and kitchen staff, editorial staff, crew members and daters were tested” prior to filming to ensure compliancy with Covid-19 regulations.

Tune in every Tuesday at 10pm on Channel 4 to catch Spinningfields in action and join the conversation on Twitter using #FirstDates.

First Dates at The Refinery – Spinningfields (Image: Dave King, Channel 4)