Exclusive Interviews: Lancaster Students Star In BBC Show ‘Squad Dates’


Three Lancaster University students, Ash Kandola, Jude Cornish and Jacob Vahey, have taken part in the new BBC show ‘Squad Dates’, spending a weekend away in Middlesbrough in search of romance.

The new BBC show ‘Squad Dates’ takes on a new approach to the dating show world, capturing six individuals on a weekend together, hoping to find meaningful connections. Participating in group dates and activities with three other participants, Ash, Jude and Jacob shed light into the dating world beyond the social media fantasy that we’re so used to seeing on our screens.

Often we find dating shows, and even dating sites, restrict our understanding of romance but with the dating community now facing severe scepticism regarding individual’s intentions, how we ‘date’ is beginning to evolve. BBC show ‘Squad Dates’ highlights a more relaxed approach to dating, allowing participants to rely on friends for support; is this what modern dating is missing?

During exclusive interviews with SCAN, Ash Kandola, Jude Cornish and Jacob Vahey shed more light on not only their experiences in the show but how ‘Squad Dates’ has made them consider some the challenges in our current dating climate:

In what ways did meeting people through ‘Squad Dates’ impact you? 

Jacob: I definitely felt a bit overwhelmed when meeting the girls at first, with all of the cameras and film crew rushing around me, and also knowing that a lot of people would be watching, including my grandma! However, over the course of filming I got used to it all and I’d like to think that if I can go on a date with four cameras in my face, then there should be no excuses for crumbling on dates in the future!

Jude: I like to do things that challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone. In the past, that has been heavily focused around fitness challenges, but bracing myself to film and appear on a TV show was a whole different beast.

Ash: I would say that it made me very self-aware. Dating at the best of times is a daunting thing and having cameras around you filming it, doesn’t help with the nerves. But, it was a great experience and once you get comfortable with the situation it’s surprisingly enjoyable.

What are some of the challenges you feel are present in our current dating climate?

Jude: The convenience and abundance that dating apps provide is changing the dating landscape for the worse, especially with how advanced they have become. Dating apps use very similar theories and concepts as social media platforms do. They’re meticulously designed and tweaked to keep your attention. I find myself asking if it’s truly in these apps interest to help you form authentic romantic connections.

Ash: Texting. In such a connected world I think a lot of people prefer to get to know people over text, rather than getting to know them in-person. For me as someone who overthinks texting way too much, I find that the best experiences I’ve had while dating are when I’ve been able to get to know the person face to face rather than through a screen.

Did ‘Squad Dates’ change your opinions on dating?

Jacob: We were filming for the majority of the time we spent with the girls in Middlesbrough and so this took away the temptation to scroll through our phones. As a result I felt as though the dates with the girls were really natural and the conversation flowed much more freely.

Ash: The show is all about group dating and being able to form connections in a very active environment with the reassurance of two of your best mates. So, I found it a lot easier to be myself and I feel that the interactions we had with the girls were very genuine.

What were your most memorable moments whilst filming ‘Squad Dates’?

Jacob: There were lots of memorable moments throughout the show, from sprinting up Roseberry Topping in the freezing cold to burning everyone’s brunch with Kaitlin. 

Plus I definitely didn’t expect to be getting my toes out on national TV and I apologise to everyone for having to see that.

Jude: This was my first experience on a fully kitted out filming set. It’s different, it’s intense and it’s hard work but incredibly rewarding.

The filming was super-fast paced as we only had four days together in the Squad Pad. So one moment we were filming for an hour and the next doing individual interviews, with just enough time to spare to head out to film at another venue.

But what stood out to me was how accommodating the NineLivesMedia crew were, and how well we were looked after. We were always asked whether we needed a break or a coffee, and always encouraged to get a good night’s sleep throughout the process.

Should Lancaster students watch ‘Squad Dates’?

Jacob: Yes, go and watch it. It’s a light-hearted show with a lot of funny moments, plus it’s not every day you get to see Grizedale Bar on the big screen.

Jude: If you want to learn how NOT to flirt, give it a watch…I’m an expert.

To watch ‘Squad Dates’ follow this link to BBC iPlayer

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