38 Things You Need To Know About "Come Dine With Me"
Hour-long breaks between courses, dessert served at midnight, and fake taxi journeys.
1. The first stage of the application process is filling out a six-page questionnaire which asks, "How competitive are you?", "How good are you at coping with criticism?", and "What things can irritate you when you go to someone's house for dinner?"
2. It also asks whether you are an opinionated person, and tells you to list "some of the opinions you hold" if so.
3. The Slovakian version of the show is called Without a Napkin.
4. And the Swedish version is called Half Past Seven at My Place.
5. Contestants have to outline two sample menus that they could serve in the competition on the application form.
6. The next stage of the process is having three phone interviews with the show's researchers.
7. Successful applicants are then interviewed on camera for 60 minutes in their homes.
8. An episode takes a whole week to film. The introductory interviews happen in local pubs and restaurants on the Monday. This is where contestants are given their first menu.
9. Each contestant is given an allowance of £125 to spend on food.
10. Because the Come Dine with Me camera crew spends a week filming each episode in a certain town, they tend pick up local attention. In fact, locals often ask for pictures with the show's contestants.
11. On the day you cook, the morning crew arrive at your house at 10:30am.
12. The morning crew switch to an evening crew in the afternoon.
13. Upon arrival, the crew immediately start work on making the contestant's house camera-friendly. Their first task is to take down any clocks and posters that could have copyright issues.
14. They also cover any windows in an orange film that makes the lighting better for filming.
15. They remove any halogen lightbulbs, because they mess with filming.
16. And if contestants plan on serving dinner in a conservatory, they pad it with duvets to minimise the sound of any potential rain.
17. On the day of your meal, the crew film everything that happens, with the exception of a one-hour lunch break.
18. Contestants are only told what the evening's fancy dress theme will be on the morning of the dinner.
19. Taxis pick up guests from their homes, to take them to the host's house, at 4:30pm.
20. They're very careful to ensure that none of the contestants meet prior to their first meal together.
21. Contestants sometimes have to wait inside their taxi for up to an hour before they knock at the host's door.
22. Hosts don't get to choose their own seating plan; that's all decided by the show's producers.
23. There can be up to an hour's wait in-between courses.
24. The whole evening is very long because contestants are filmed, individually, for 30 minutes after their arrival, starter, main course, the entertainment, and finally their dessert.
25. Dessert is usually served at around midnight.
26. And contestants only get to leave at around 3am.
27. The taxi that you see contestants giving their scores in at the end of the night is not the taxi that takes them home.
28. In reality, contestants are driven around the block in a taxi set up with cameras, for 30 minutes each. Once they finish filming, they then get a different taxi home.
29. The crew actively encourage contestants to bitch about each other.
30. And if they mess up part of their meal, producers encourage them to serve it anyway.
31. Contestants are usually sent a DVD of their episode a few weeks before it airs.
35. In September 2010, police were able to identify and charge a man who was involved in a pub fight because he had previously appeared on an episode of Come Dine with Me.
36. In 2010, a contestant called Spencer said he'd donate his prize money to his sister's cancer treatment. After filming, he was diagnosed with cancer himself, and later died. His fellow contestants launched a charity called Come Dine for Spencer in his memory. It raised money for the hospital that treated him.
37. The show has been running for a decade.
38. And in total, there are 36 international versions of Come Dine With Me.