From I Wanna Marry “Harry” to Playing It Straight, we’ve long been drawn to deception on reality shows. However, there’s a new breed taking a kinder, gentler approach

In hindsight, it’s not hard to see why ITV launched its doomed winter Love Island series back in 2020. Now that the summer series has finished, reality TV lovers are currently navigating that limbo period in between seasons, scrambling for something to fill the 9pm slot. The race to conquer it is currently between E4’s revamped Married at First Sight (which has gone from being something like a docuseries to rivalling its Australian counterpart in the mess stakes) and ITV2’s Ready to Mingle. The latter slightly edges it for me.

Hosted by the very funny Katherine Ryan, the show follows 24-year-old singleton Sophia as she searches for “The One” among 12 male suitors. However, some of the boys are already taken and being coached by their partners on how to win her affections in order to take home the £50,000 prize money for themselves. It’s brilliant, bingeable viewing, has a diverse cast, and offers a terrifying insight into men’s ability to be economical with the truth (one man swears on his life he doesn’t have a girlfriend – because he has a boyfriend). It’s also the most recent reality TV show to centre around lying and deception, a trend that appears to be making a comeback.

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