Boxing Clever: First Love — flames of passion or friend-zone?

Boxing Clever: First Love — flames of passion or friend-zone?

Franny and Yasmin,  First Love, Virgin Media One

You’re sending out a number of signals when you agree to go on a date with your first love on a reality show. The signals you’re NOT sending out include, I’ve Moved On and I’m Doing Really Well in the Dating Game Right Now.

That’s why First Love (Virgin Media One, Monday, 10pm and Virgin Media Player) is so compelling. The idea is that a couple with a bit of history get back together, presumably to see if they can make it work the second time around.

Michael and Catriona, First Love, Virgin Media One
Michael and Catriona, First Love, Virgin Media One

First up is Michael from Ballyfermot. The narrator tells us that Michael is a cheeky chappie. So does his ex-

Already getting a flavour there for why he might be her ex. She then goes on to say that he ‘jockeyed a lot of fillies’, including her best friend after a Halloween party. Like they say, cheeky chappie.

Anyway, Michael, who is great value in fairness , has reappraised his crazy party lifestyle so that Old Michael has been replaced by Zen Michael. T hey even show him meditating in a darkened living room in case the viewer and Catriona miss the message: Old Michael is gone, you can come back now. 

Unfortunately, Michael is a bit too Zen on their comeback date, and forgets what Catriona does for a living. It goes downhill after that and we learn at the end of the show that he’s still in the friend-zone. He’s doing well to stay there in fairness, particularly after all the jockeying.

Franny from Tuam has another First Love story to tell. There is a touch of sadness about him , a guy in his 50s  who fell for a woman called Yasmin he met in a snooker club in Manchester around 30 years ago. He never crossed the friendship line, as he put it, so now he’s off to Dubai to catch up with her again. 

Yasmin is a Porsche-driving fashion photographer over there, while Franny is a bachelor from Tuam. I was almost shielding my eyes in terror when they met up again, particularly when she didn’t recognise him. 

But there was a tenderness to the two of them, as they rounded off a day in Dubai with a game of snooker. It was a nice contrast to the crazy giddiness of Michael and Catriona. I’d watch First Love again.

W hich is more than I can say for The Duchess on Netflix. This six-part comedy came highly recommended by someone I’d trust, but it left me feeling jaded. Katherine Ryan plays a single mom in London who is horrible to almost everyone, except her nine-year-old daughter. The problem with someone being horrible for laughs is they need to be really, really funny, or else it’s just someone being horrible. I probably smirked twice in the first two episodes. I won’t watch episode three.

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