Dine with Me, an unscripted TV show that has captured the hearts of viewers worldwide, brings together dinner party hosts who compete for the title of the ultimate entertainer.
Beyond the delicious meals and lively conversations, numerous intriguing facts and behind-the-scenes secrets make this show even more fascinating.
From the application process to the filming experience, let’s dive into the unknown world of Come Dine with Me!
The Application Process:
- Contestants begin by completing a detailed six-page questionnaire, exploring their competitiveness, ability to handle criticism, and pet peeves when dining at someone’s house.
- The questionnaire also encourages contestants to express their opinions on various subjects.
- The Slovakian version of the show is called “Without a Napkin,” while the Swedish version is known as “Half Past Seven at My Place.”
Channel 4 Connection:
- Come Dine with Me is broadcast on Channel 4, adding to the show’s popularity and widespread recognition.
- Applicants are required to outline two sample menus they could serve during the competition.
The Filming Process:
- Successful applicants go through three phone interviews with the show’s researchers before being invited for a 60-minute on-camera interview at their homes.
- Each episode takes a week to film, with introductory interviews held at local pubs and restaurants on the first day.
- Contestants receive an allowance of £125 to spend on food.
- The show’s camera crew attracts attention from locals during the filming week, with many people requesting pictures with the contestants.
- On the day of their meal, contestants’ houses are made camera-friendly, including the removal of clocks and copyrighted posters.
- Windows are covered with an orange film to enhance lighting for filming.
- Halogen lightbulbs are replaced due to their impact on filming.
- Conservatories are padded with duvets to minimize noise from potential rain.
The Dinner Experience:
- Filming starts early in the morning, with the crew switching to an evening crew in the afternoon.
- Contestants are informed about the evening’s fancy dress theme on the morning of the dinner.
- Taxis pick up guests at 4:30 pm to transport them to the host’s house, ensuring no prior meetings between contestants.
- Hosts do not choose the seating plan; the show’s producers determine it.
- There can be up to an hour’s wait between courses.
- The entire evening is filmed, including individual interviews after each course, often ending around 3 am.
- The taxi in which contestants provide their scores at the end of the night is not the same taxi that takes them home.
- Contestants are driven around the block in a specially equipped taxi for filming purposes before being transported home separately.
- Producers encourage contestants to share their opinions and discuss each other during filming.
- Even if a contestant messes up part of their meal, they are encouraged to serve it anyway.
Impact and Special Episodes:
- Contestants receive a DVD of their episode before it airs.
- Producers are working on an ultimate series where previous winners compete against each other, filmed in a country house with external guest rankings.
- The show has significantly impacted people’s lives, such as in the story of Spencer, a contestant who donated his prize money to his sister’s cancer treatment. Tragically, he was later diagnosed with cancer himself and passed away. His fellow contestants established the charity “Come Dine for Spencer” in his memory, raising funds for the hospital that treated him.
- Come Dine with Me has been running for over a decade and has been adapted into 36 international versions worldwide.
Come Dine with Me continues to captivate audiences with its combination of culinary delights, competitive spirit, and entertaining dynamics.
Behind the scenes, the show’s application process, filming rituals, and heartwarming stories add intrigue.
Whether you’re a fan of cooking competitions or enjoy a good dose of reality TV. Come Dine with Me serves an unforgettable feast for food enthusiasts and entertainment lovers.
- Narrated by: Dave Lamb
- Network: Channel 4
- First episode date: January 10, 2005 (UK)
- Nominations: National Television Award for Most Popular Factual Entertainment Programme, MORE
- Genre: Game show