My Mum, Your Dad Celebrates The Idea Love Is For People Of Every Age

Davina grew tired of Love Island and wanted to see people her age find romance - we're obsessed

My Mum, Your Dad is on ITV1 at 9pm for two weeks

by Nikki Peach |
Published on

The new ITV dating show My Mum, Your Dad is billed as the ‘middle-aged Love Island’. For a lot of people, the thought of seeing your mum or dad on Love Island would be enough to make you want to fill yourself up with helium and float off the earth. But that’s probably more to do with the fact that no one wants hear their parent's favourite sex position or watch them give a lap dance in a latex leotard.

Luckily for mankind, it's not the most accurate description. My Mum, Your Dad might lift the very basics from the Love Island playbook – hopeful singles share a house – but the concept has been reimagined for a group of single parents in their 40s and 50s. Who, I might add, have been sent there by their own adult children.

The 10-episode series, which started on Monday night and airs for two weeks, follows four single mums (Monique, 50, Sharon, 53, Caroline, 51 and Natalie, 44) and four single dads (Paul, 47, Clayton, 57, Roger, 58 and Elliott, 53) as they share a mansion in West Sussex for two weeks in the hope of finding a meaningful connection.

Its hosted by broadcasting icon Davina McCall, who, as a divorced 55-year-old parent herself, grew tired of watching twenty-somethings frolic about in bikinis in the name of love and wanted to see people her own age have a go. When she first contacted ITV with the idea of a middle-aged Love Island, they passed on the basis that they already had something similar in the works. Something, it just so happens, that Davina would be perfect to front.

Aside from her work raising awareness about the menopause, the contraceptive pill and other shortcomings in women's healthcare, Davina has become somewhat of a champion of writing people over 40 – and their experiences – back into the script. And if episode one is anything to go by, My Mum, Your Dad, is another project to help move the dial.

If it wasn't for the comically retro floor fillers that played as each singleton arrived at the house – a clear signal to the audience that this show is less Joel Corry, more Marvin Gaye – it was as entertaining a first episode as any other dating show on TV. We met the cast, were given a brief summary as to why they and their children wanted them to take part, and we watched them nervously interact with one another for the first time.

In just one episode we saw the familiarly daunting dating process play out in full. Eight people with their own insecurities, baggage, hopes and pre-conceived ideas of what they want in a partner. Some of them are divorced, some widowed, and some have just never met the right person. What they all have in common is a willingness to be vulnerable, a sense of optimism, and the enthusiastic support of their children.

The kids watch on from the surveillance room on My Mum, Your Dad. (Image: ITV)

Not only does it validate the idea that middle-aged people can – and want to – find love just like the rest of us, but it also shows that their pursuit in doing so is just as nerve-wracking, heart-warming and important.

While the main ‘twist’ of the show (that their kids will be quietly meddling from behind the scenes) might seem like a Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents-esque gimmick at first, it's actually one of the nicest elements of the show. Rather than watching them squirm at the sight of their parents flirting, or witness them getting triggered by their parents' pursuit of something new, the natural hierarchy is turned on its head and it's the kids who watch on nervously and hope their parents make a good impression. Most importantly, they all seem genuinely invested in their parents' happiness.

There’s no denying that if the 'kids' in question were much younger, or their circumstances were more complicated, then this might not have played out as well. But it’s refreshing to see a group of young people recognise that their parents are individuals with agency, desires and lives of their own. The show might be called My Mum, Your Dad, but what it really does is create a well-deserved space for the people who exist beyond those titles.

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