An online dating show launched during lockdown is calling on Glasgow’s singletons to apply for their new series.
Zoom to Groom sees participants set up on 90-second speed dates with potential matches, which are broadcast live to an audience of thousands online on Saturday nights.
The stream has become a cult hit since events manager Andy Dunlop began hosting them on his Facebook page, The Stayin’ Inn, in April.
The married dad-of-three, from Darvil, has raised more than £50,000 for charity with his virtual pub quizzes over the last few months.
Now he’s firing up Scotland’s dating scene during quarantine so the single and ready to mingle can get a chance at love… Or at least a laugh.
He said: “Zoom to Groom started as a group chat with friends about how difficult dating was going to be during lockdown. We could never have anticipated how popular it would become.
“From the start it was clear people loved watching it, as well as taking part.”
He’s joining forces with BAFTA-winning documentary filmmaker and self-confessed fan Hannah Currie for the brand new series.
She says they have been inundated with applications from people of all ages, though they are hoping more single men and LGBTQ people will get involved.
She said: “My pal told me about it and I started tuning in and, honestly, it was the most entertaining thing I’ve seen all year, never mind in lockdown. I reached out to Andy about developing the show for a bigger audience – I was a wee bit half-cut at the time!
“It’s become incredibly difficult for people to connect and meet others while sticking to rules and staying safe. Lockdown has shot dating to pieces for single folk actively looking.
“None of us know when pubs and clubs are back and it’s more important than ever to connect.”
Each stream draws thousands of viewers from as far away as Australia and Canada as singletons strive to give off a good first impression in just a minute and a half.
At the end of the episode, each contestant picks their perfect match to connect with offline before a Blind Date-style catch-up with hosts the following week.
From flirty comments and cheesy one-liners to some hilariously awkward quips, it’s inevitable there have been some nail-biting moments while live on air.
“You see the most random things happen – one guy wrote his date a poem and read her it on the date,” Hannah said.
“In one episode, this girl told the guy she was into acrobatics and he replied ‘Oh yeah, daddy likes that.’ Folk who saw it are still making memes about it.
“She handled it really well but, as a warning, we will chuck people off if it gets too creepy! ” she said.
The hosts are hoping to persuade some more well-known talent to come on the show, including Scotsquad star Darren Connell and ICW host Jen Louise.
Hannah added: “It’s like Gogglebox: All of the different personalities come out and you end up rooting for certain people.
“We’ve got lots of stunning single lassies applying and a man – a bisexual Gaelic poet – looking for either a man or a woman.
“We want to keep the show diverse and exciting. I’ve been playing matchmaker and the power is already going to my head..”
What makes Zoom to Groom a cut above its dating show ilk is the interactive, community element: You’ll be encouraged to leave comments (keep them nice) and respond to posts and photos of singletons featuring in the show.
Too feart to go on screen? If someone catches your eye on the show, you can still shoot your shot with them on the old socials. As Hannah says, “people get a lot bolder on a Saturday night.”
She tells how one woman, who hadn’t hit it off with her three dates, came on the following week to say a man who watched the stream had slid into her DMs on Facebook and, so far, things were “going well.” Fingers crossed for them!
But whether you’re single or not, Zoom To Groom is helping entertain and bring viewers and participants alike together during a particularly isolating time.
Hannah said: “People who have gone on the show have reached out to Andy ,saying ‘I never had confidence to date before and you’ve helped me.’ People hang out and chat after the show is finished too.
“I think he’s doing a really good thing for people during such a difficult period. It’s going to be even better now!”
She added: “If you think you’d enjoy it, please apply. There is no pressure, you don’t need to feel self-conscious, you don’t have to put in loads of effort. It’s only 90 seconds each.
“At the end of the day, it’s something fun to do at the weekend. It’s a bit of a laugh and if you find love, even better!”
Viewers can tune in via Zoom to Groom’s Facebook, Youtube or Twitch. Apply for Zoom to Groom here.
You can also join The Stayin’ Inn Facebook group.