First Dates restaurant closed by police while filming during lockdown

28 January 2021, 13:50 | Updated: 29 January 2021, 12:17

Fred Sirieix revealed the First Dates restaurant had to close early during filming
Fred Sirieix revealed the First Dates restaurant had to close early during filming. Picture: ITV/Channel 4
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

First Dates maitre d' Fred Sirieix said the restaurant was visited by police during lockdown over the 10pm curfew.

First Dates is officially back on our screens to help us get through another lockdown.

And the show even has a brand new venue as it has moved to The Refinery in Manchester for the first time.

But maitre d' Fred Sirieix has now revealed the restaurant was forced to close its doors early during filming last year due to tough coronavirus lockdown rules.

First Dates was mostly filmed in September after production was put on hold back in March 2020.

Fred Sirieix appeared on This Morning on Thursday
Fred Sirieix appeared on This Morning on Thursday. Picture: ITV

At the time, Greater Manchester was in Tier 3, but filming was allowed to go ahead as it was a closed TV set and not open to the general public.

Read More: When was First Dates filmed and how did it keep to Covid lockdown guidelines?

Despite the safety measures in place, Fred revealed on This Morning that the police called up and put a stop to filming past the 10pm curfew.

When Phillip Schofield asked him: "How do you make a dating show during a pandemic?", he replied: "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."

First look at new First Dates restaurant in Manchester

Fred continued: "And on the first day, the police said 'sorry guys you've got to shut the restaurant at 10 o'clock.

“We said 'we have all these procedures in place to film', and they said ‘no you need to close’.’”

The star went on: “Imagine the mess, I had producers in my ear going crazy, so we had to reschedule everyone.

“Luckily we were able to adapt to the situation.” has reached out to First Dates for comment.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 bosses recently opened up about how they were able to keep filming going during the pandemic.

First Dates is back with a brand new series
First Dates is back with a brand new series. Picture: Channel 4

They could make the show look normal (without face masks and social distancing) due to rapid coronavirus testing on set.

Producer Sarah Fink said: "The crucial bit for us was to test people as close as them going into the restaurant as possible, so they knew they were negative when they went in, and knew that everyone around them was also negative."

All the daters were given a hotel room where a testing station had been set up, and they were allowed to go ahead with filming after receiving a negative result.

She added to the BBC: “We wanted everyone to feel comfortable that they could be normal in that environment, just for that one day".

Now Read: Where is the new First Dates restaurant? Filming location revealed

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