For Angus Findlay, someone asking for a photo with him on a night out is pretty much the norm. Whereas for me, it means I had my skirt tucked into my knickers again…
You see, Angus is a first-year Television Production student here at BU and this year he graced our screens as Georgia Toffolo’s date on Channel 4’s Celebs Go Dating.
The 19-year-old appeared on the show for a few episodes, and with the premiere amassing an audience of 735,000, it’s not surprising that he’s been noticed around campus.
The first thing Angus says to me is “I’m a hugger” after welcoming me like we’ve been friends for years. He’s approachable, chatty and stylish as hell – I get why he was scouted for reality TV, and I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of him on our screens.
And yes, he was scouted. That’s the case for most reality shows these days, even if they do lead you to believe everyone applied. Angus received a phone call whilst at sixth-form and immediately agreed to be on the show as he thought it would be beneficial to his future career.
So, I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of questions about these shows. How much of ‘real’ stuff do we see? How long are the days of filming? Can you really find love? Now I finally know the answers.
What goes on behind the scenes?
In terms of the show experience, it wasn’t as chilled out as he had expected. He explains that it was “quite strict and serious” with tonnes of rules to follow. Obviously he couldn’t talk about it or tell anyone but what he found most surprising is that he wasn’t allowed to be caught with any girls – “I’d have to tell photographers in clubs not to take any photos of me”.
So, how hard do the production team try to twist things in their favour? He explains that what you saw was very real but they do try to cause drama. “They phoned up my friends to try and get dirt on me, they even researched all of my social media, dating way back”.
Because of this, when the date with Georgia (aka Toff) was going well, the director came down to tell her some of Angus’ secrets, just to cause friction and more drama for TV. Fortunately, this wasn’t shown.
A big part of the dating show is the mixer. Where they get a handful of celebrities in a room full of singletons – they get to chat, flirt and pick a date at the end.
“They make it look like a mixer is an hour long, but in reality it’s an open bar for 12 hours. You start drinking at 9:30 AM and do not stop. A lot of people were escorted out for being too drunk”.
For us viewers, we saw Toff flirt with Angus but never actually pick him for her date. Well, Nerve can now exclusively reveal that wasn’t the case. “She picked me after each mixer, and I was placed in the winning dates section, but producers made her change her mind and told her to go with someone else”. The things they do for good TV eh.
Finally, Angus did get to go on a date with Toff, but it wasn’t as straightforward as a Tinder date in the local Spoons. “They had about 5 cameras around our table and one guy, there was also 10 more people upstairs monitoring and watching.”
For what sounds like my worst nightmare, Angus did enjoy the experience, even if the entire restaurant was looking over during the date, as he assures me the people in the background of dates are completely real.
So, how did he deal with first-date jitters? Well, “they take you out for drinks beforehand to get you a bit drunk for the date, so you’re less nervous”, he tells me. With everything paid for, this sounds like a pretty great deal to me.
What intrigued me the most, is how much is re-filmed and why. “Her skirt actually rode too high when we said our hello’s, so we had to re-film. It was the hardest thing because I was nervous and drunk, we just had to repeat the conversation again and it was so awkward.”
What became of him and Toff?
The show was strict, and whilst on it they were not allowed any communication outside of their filmed dates. Angus tells me Toff tried to follow him on Instagram and a producer told her she was breaching her contract so couldn’t.
What was it really like to date a celeb? “Toff was really cool, chilled and down to earth. Half way through I kinda forgot she was a celebrity”.
Nowadays, they don’t talk at all, because Angus has found a girlfriend in a more organic way. Well, he slid into her Instagram DM’s…
It seems that love is yet to be found on the show, but Angus thinks it’s just down to finding the right pairing – him and Toff just weren’t right for each other.
For some, it’s about carving your way into the industry, but always having a backup plan. It’s not unheard of and a similar case was Montana Brown – a star on this year’s series of Love Island, just after graduating from BU with a degree in PR and Economics. She’s now gone on to present for MTV – Angus might just do the same.