CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Council approves plan for ‘celeb dating agency’ in Holborn

Hit Channel 4 show to bring romance to historic John Street

29 June, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Charlotte Dawson, Georgia Toffollo and Sarah-Jane Crawford starred in the last series of Celebs Go Dating

A DATING agency like no other is set to pop up in Holborn after producers of a hit celebrity match-making show asked Camden Council for permission to bring in their camera crews.

Neighbours say they have assurances that they will not be left without a place to park when Channel 4 begins shooting its hugely-popular series Celebs Go Dating at a house in historic John Street next month.

They had asked the Town Hall to keep a close eye on the project after years of debate about the extent of filming and possible disruption to residents and businesses in the south of the borough, favoured by makers of films and TV programmes due to the picture-perfect backdrops.

The show’s premise sees famous faces paired with members of the public at a pop-up dating agency, with relationship experts on hand to commentate on the process. Tens of thousands of people applied to take part.

Filming is expected to take place over four months, using one parking bay. Crews shooting a drama have meanwhile booked up four parking spots for one day next month in a completely separate project.

One resident told the New Journal: “Some­times it’s forgotten people do live in this area. Just because we are central, doesn’t mean it’s not like any other part of London where we need some­where to park and pave­ments to walk down, without equipment and lights and people dressed up like they are in Pickwick Papers. This time, maybe they will be dressed like they are in Love Island.”

There was some frustr­ation when The App­rentice made a property in John Street its candidates house during the 2015 filming of the BBC talent contest for entrepreneurs.

But ward councillor Julian Fulbrook is more positive this time. “Public nuisance is not so likely if the loving is done offshore on an island, rather than in our densely populated ward,” he said. “But we have an advance guarantee that any residents’ parking displaced by filming will be safeguarded ‘one for one’. So hopefully our residents can ‘love and let love’ without the prospect of too much hassle on this celebrity dating.”

The line-up for the new show is not known so far, but tabloids and gossip magazines have been speculating about which famous singletons will appear. Former Atomic Kitten star Kerry Katona and model Katie Price have been linked as possible candidates. As the film set will take the place of a residential property for some time, a “change of use” application has been filed.

Paperwork published by Camden Council shows how producers of Celebs Go Dating have offered to minimise the effect on the area. They are negotiating over possible opportun­ities for aspiring local filmmakers to join the programme.

“Filming will be self-contained within the property, so there will be minimum disruption to neighbours,” the app­lication said. “We are filming simple interviews – no loud music, special effects, exterior lighting.” Camden is understood to feel that there has not been excessive filming in recent years in the road.

A council press official said: “We continually monitor filming to ensure that popular areas are not overused. Our film office always works closely with production com­panies to mitigate any potential impact to residents and businesses.”

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