Series six of the popular dating show kicks off, with Maitre'D Mateo, master-mixologist Ethan, Alice and Pete at the ready for a group of new hopefuls searching for love.

The fuse is lit and First Dates is back for a scorching new season, lighting up Thursday nights with a conflagration of fiery first impressions, burning hearts and old flames. 

This year, the game of love has new regulations. Daters are suitably distanced, contact is strictly off the cards, and background diners are all family bubbles, among them, friends and family of the daters we meet.  

On hand as always with warm welcomes, words of encouragement, and matchmaking savoir faire are Maitre’D Mateo and master-mixologist Ethan – ably assisted by Alice and Pete.

Among the daters hoping to unleash their inner Romeo or Juliet or both are the spectacularly mohawked Philip from Tipperary, making a memorable entrance on a skateboard; best friends Aimee and Laura from Down, double dating in full view of their mothers; Shane from Meath, whose brave recovery from a serious head injury yields his first date in 14 years.

Returning from last season are Martina from Limerick who came to the restaurant with her sister last year, but is flying solo this time – still in search of a wingman – and Peter from Clare, hoping that – unlike the irrepressible Lorraine – this year’s date won’t be sneezing wine out of her nose.

So sit back and savour an intoxicating blend of flirtation, faux-pas, doorway malfunctions, fluttering nerves and the tantalising prospect of second dates as Ireland’s most romantic restaurant reopens at 9.30pm on 11th February 2021.