ENTERTAINMENT
28/01/2021 13:44 GMT | Updated 29/01/2021 12:24 GMT

First Dates Restaurant Closed Down By Police During Filming, Fred Sirieix Reveals

Officers visited the Manchester eatery on the first day of filming for the latest series of the hit dating show.

First Dates star Fred Sirieix has revealed the show’s restaurant was shut down by police during filming of the latest series. 

Covid restrictions were in place on pubs and restaurants in place when the Channel 4 show was in production, meaning that the Manchester eatery should have closed its doors at 10pm. 

However, producers had not realised they were affected by the rules, as they were operating as a TV studio, rather than a straightforward restaurant that was open to the public. 

Channel 4
First Dates

Fred made the revelation during an appearance on Thursday’s This Morning

When asked by Phillip Schofield how they managed to make the dating show during the pandemic, Fred said: “Just like you on This Morning, we have very strict protocols – people getting tested, people in bubbles; it was like a military operation.

“But, what’s really interesting is that we operate like in a studio but we are considered to be a restaurant by police.

“And on the first day we were filming back in September, the police gave us a call and knocked on the door and said ’sorry guys you’ve got to shut the restaurant at 10 o’clock’.

“We told them ‘look we’ve got all this protocol in place’ but they said ’no you’re a restaurant, you have to shut at 10’. We rescheduled everything, I had producers in my ears going completely crazy, but we adapted.”

The First Dates restaurant relocated from London’s Paternoster Chop House to The Refinery in Manchester for the latest series, which began on Channel 4 last week. 

There were a number of measures introduced on set to ensure the show looked as normal on screen, despite the pandemic. 

These included rigorous testing, self-isolation and a bubble system for all kitchen staff, editorial staff, crew members and daters. No one was allowed in the restaurant without a negative Covid test result.  

The team used rapid testing, meaning they could test everyone as close to their point of entry into the restaurant as possible, producer Sarah Fink told the BBC

First Dates airs on Tuesdays at 10pm on Channel 4, while This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite Fred saying police “knocked on the door” of the restaurant, HuffPost now understands that producers only received a phone call from officers enforcing the government guidelines.