“It is a life-changing experience. Embrace it!”
The Undateables is a Channel 4 TV show featuring people with a variety of disabilities, all of whom are looking for love.
Steve Carruthers, who has Crouzon syndrome (a genetic condition affecting the shape of the face and head), was a participant on series two, back in 2013. Though romance did not blossom with his date, the experience gave him much needed confidence.
Following his appearance, Steve – now 36, from Manchester – soon met the love of his life Vicky, through social media. Vicky had in fact seen Steve on the show and decided to contact him.
The Undateables screened Steve’s romantic proposal and the couple later married in 2015.
1. Steve, why did you apply to The Undateables and, what reservations did you have?
I initially applied for a different show called ‘Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice’. As a result, I was approached to appear on series one of ‘The Undateables’, but I declined as it had never been on TV and I didn’t get the gist of the show. After series one ended, I was approached again but this time it was by my good friend Adam Pearson, who worked with the team to find participants for the show. He convinced me to give it a chance as he said it would help me with my confidence and outlook as I had a negative outlook on life after the loss of two of my siblings. I was a bit reserved and concerned that after being on the show, more people would make fun of my appearance. But, in doing the show, my outlook changed to a positive one and allowed me to help other people in a similar position.
2. How were you treated throughout the production process?
The whole team was incredibly nice, supportive and understanding. Everything was treated with care and compassion.
3. What response have you received following your appearances?
Like all things with TV, there are negative people who see disability as something to mock and joke about. But the positives outweighed the negatives in a huge way. People are so kind and understanding. I found that it [the show] helped educate people about disability. It also helps with how we perceive ourselves and how society perceives us to.
4. The show has been accused of being insensitive and exploitative. The title in particular is widely criticised. What do you think?
The show itself really is everything you see (believe it or not). It is exactly how dates are in real life – you have moments of silence, awkwardness and moments of hope. The show’s titles show cupid shooting the [prefix] ‘Un’ off, leaving the word ‘dateables’. The point of this is to prove we are all dateable, and that we [disabled people] have the same experiences on dates as everyone else does.
5. What would you say to anyone who is considering applying to the show?
My advice to anyone applying for or appearing on the show is to go into it with an open mind. There will be those who will say [derogatory] things, but overall the positives more than outweigh the negatives. It is a life-changing experience. Embrace it! The positive message you’re putting out there helps others as well as yourself. The show has had a huge impact and gives so many people, like me, much needed confidence. Those who watch the show have gained so much more understanding of different disabilities too.
I’d like to thank Steve for taking the time to speak with me.
You can watch his original appearance on the show here.
Images courtesy of The Undateables and The Sun