Davina McCall is the host of the new dating programme My Mum, Your Dad, which attempts to give individuals a second shot at love, a cause she is very committed to.
As the title indicates, the folks looking for love are all single parents who have been nominated for the show by their grown-up children.
The prospective daters stayed at a retreat while filming the ITV show, and Davina, 55, was able to get to know them during visits and evidently grew emotionally attached.
Speaking about the importance of the show at a special screening of the first episode, that took place at the ITV offices in London, she said: ‘I just wanted to see midlifers represented in terms of dating.
‘In your forties and fifties and when you’ve got children, life is complicated, but more than ever you feel that you are at a point in your life where you deserve to find love.
‘They deserve to find love and spend the rest of their lives with somebody. You know when,’ Davina said before abruptly having to stop talking.
A clearly emotional Davina unnecessarily apologised for her sweet display of emotion: ‘Oh God Sorry. I’m going to speak in a minute.’
‘It’s about opening the door and coming home to someone,’ she finally said.
Davina, who divorced her spouse Matthew Robertson in 2017, found love again later in life with Michael Douglas.
Davina, who has three children from her marriage, Holly, 21, Tilly, 19, and Chester, 16, spoke about one of the show’s contestants, Roger, as her voice started to quiver. He became single after his wife died of melanoma last year, and their daughter Jess wants him to know it’s alright to move on.
‘I mean, when I saw that bit with Roger talking about his daughter, I actually had to leave the room at the end of the show and go to the toilet.’
‘When he said he’d just like to come home to someone you’re like “Oh God I really want you to find this”. Everyone deserves it, but it’s hard to find.
‘We’re of that generation where apps are weird and we don’t know how to do that. “What do you mean you’re still talking to 17 other people while we’re going out on our third date?”,’ she joked.
Davina also spoke about her ardent desire to create a show about dating in later age. The ambitious host even emailed an ITV executive to pitch her concept for a “middle-aged Love Island.”
‘We’ve been trying to burn that name ever since and I’m sorry, I’ve ruined it and I’ve just said it again,’ she joked.
ITV chose a different path and produced My Mum, Your Dad, which has already shown in the United States and Australia.
Now, Davina is eager to highlight how the programme differs from the broadcaster’s other dating show blockbuster Love Island, such as their focus on children and their parents.
‘It’s interesting because a few people have been asking, “Why kids nominating parents?” I think that’s what gives it the extra heart,’ she reasoned.
‘I thought one of the most moving things was this idea that as a child, you can’t move on with your life until you feel that your parent is happy.
‘I think it sets it apart is that. It’s not cynical. It is just about the love. There’s no prize money.’
The victors of Love Island get £50,000, but Davina stated that on My Mum, Your Dad, “the prize is love.”
There were also no evictions or dumpings; instead, singletons depart if they do not feel they can develop a connection in the house.
Another significant distinction is that there are no cameras in the bedroom.
‘I think it’s important to point out it’s different in that way.
‘For me, personally speaking, I’d rather watch the hint of love, a hint of something coming, should I shouldn’t I, a moment of tenderness, something amazing – that’s so exciting.
‘But like jumping into bed with someone and s******g – it’s sort of like once you’ve seen it once, it doesn’t mean anything. This really f*****g means something.’
Although she teases the children still become uncomfortable while watching their parents’ antics in a surveillance bunker: ‘There are moments where the kids have got cushions in front of their faces, and they’re like that curled up, but it could be over something quite small and intimate because they’ve never seen their parents in a date situation.’
My Mum, Your Dad starts Monday 11th September at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX. It airs every weeknight for two weeks.