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My Mum, Your Dad: ITV dating show opens up conversations about grief

The cast of the ITV dating show My Mum, Your Dad pose in front of the country house where the show is set. They are grouped in their pairs so children with the mum or dad. Four of the pairs are sat on the brown sofa which is on a large rug on a green grass lawn. The other four pairs are stood behind the sofa. Lots are leaning on the other person or have their arm around then. Behind them are some stone steps and bushes, and then a grand white country house.
New dating show My Mum, Your Dad is about people nominating their single parents for dates

You'd be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the mention of yet another dating reality show all over social media.

The latest one to hit our screens has decided it's about time someone other than 20-something social media influencers have all the fun.

Billed as the "middle-aged Love Island", My Mum, Your Dad sees eight single parents look for love in a country house.

But, and here's the twist, unknown to them their adult children are watching their every move and playing Cupid from a nearby hideaway.

The launch episode drew 1.5 million viewers, the same as this summer's Love Island final, and the show's been praised by some critics for being as funny as it is cringe.

But it's also opened up conversations about how to deal with your mum or dad moving on and dating again after you've lost a parent.

One of the early stars has been Roger, 59, who had viewers in floods of tears as he opened up about the death of his late wife Joanne.

Even his date was crying as he told her how 52-year-old Joanne died of cancer 18 months ago when she fell asleep on the sofa and never woke up.

Jess and her dad Roger who are on new dating show My Mum, Your Dad pose in front of the country house where the show is set. They are sat on a brown sofa which is on a large rug on a green grass lawn and behind them are some stone steps and bushes, and then a grand white country house where the show is set. Jess is wearing a white top and white blazer with blue jeans and navy Converse shoes. She has her brunette hair curled in a wavy style and it is worn down over her shoulders. Roger is wearing a navy shirt with navy jeans and dark brown boots and his greying hair is styled up over the side of his head and he has a greying beard too. Both are smiling for the camera.
Jess says it's been emotional watching the show back and seeing her dad Roger "come into his own"

Roger's daughter Jess is part of the show, watching him in the secret bunker, so BBC Newsbeat asked her why they put him forward for the show.

"Our main motivation for nominating him was just seeing how much he was struggling to cope with the grief," the 29-year-old says.

"Don't get me wrong we're all still struggling, that's never going to go away. But it was just something that we could see that we were sort of losing our dad.

"He wasn't the same person, he was just really struggling with day to day life.

"So he'd be coming home to an empty house every day, he'd be waking up in the morning to an empty house."

'It was a bit difficult'

Jess, who lives in Derbyshire, says Roger's three children just want "to let him know that we're OK with him trying to be happy again".

She obviously can't give away any spoilers but says they wanted to find their dad someone "with a sense of humour and just kind and loving".

"It's been nice to see him sort of come into his own," she says.

"Dad's just got a lot of love to give so that was why he was a little bit lost with nowhere to place that.

"So someone who is going to accept that it's probably not going to be an easy ride. He's still got a lot of grieving to do."

Angharad with her mum Andrea posing for the camera, both are smiling. Andrea is on the left and has glasses and a short brunette bob hairstyle. She is wearing a flowery pink top and has a silver necklace around her neck. Angharad is to her right and has her right arm around her mum's shoulder. She has medium length blonde hair and is wearing a teal dress that is just over her right shoulder.
Angharad says her mum Andrea respects that she doesn't want to be parented by her new partner

Someone who knows what it's like to see a parent deal with looking for love again is 20-year-old Angharad Dale.

She lost her dad Tim to a sudden heart attack about five years ago and says it was important her mum Andrea was honest with her from the beginning.

"When my mum did start dating again she used dating apps, we had a lot of quite open conversations about both of our expectations from it," she tells Newsbeat.

"It was quite a worry to start with, that a new partner would try and replace my dad, which I think is a worry with most young people who've lost a parent.

"So I set an expectation very early on that I didn't want to be parented by this new partner.

"And that has been something that's been respected the entire time."

Abbie Jelfs was only six when her dad Andrew died of adrenal cancer in 2012.

She's now 17 and says she can relate to what the people on My Mum, Your Dad will be experiencing as they watch their parents dating.

"I only really started thinking about it when my mum Colette did start dating again," she says.

"But it was really nice because I did see a happiness in her that I hadn't seen since my dad was alive."

But Abbie, who lives near Birmingham, admits it wasn't easy at first.

"For me it was a bit difficult and I have siblings as well so it was difficult for all of us.

"But my stepdad's wife also died, so days like Father's and Mother's Day we all understand what we're all going through."

Abbie and her dad Andrew picture when she was a toddler, it looks like they are out in the countryside perhaps at the top of a hill. Andrew is standing smiling for the camera wearing sunglasses and a brown T-shirt. He is carrying Abbie on his back in a rucksack style baby carrier. Abbie is facing her dad's back and is looking at the camera. She has blonde hair and is wearing a pink, green, red and white stripey fleece top.
Abbie was just six years old when her dad Andrew died of adrenal cancer

Angharad and Abbie also have some advice for anyone watching the dating show who might be going through a similar situation.

"Allow yourself time. You're allowed to be upset and to be happy," says Angharad, who lives in Oxford.

"And you're allowed to go through all the different emotions while you're grieving.

"Especially when there are changes in relationships, you don't know how those things are going to hit you."

Abbie agrees, and thinks "it never fully overall gets easier, it just becomes more easier to cope with".

"There'll obviously be struggles and stuff, but it's almost easier to manage once you've gone through that," she says.

"I feel you just need that bit of time to understand you do have to live on and try to live your life without them, while also remembering them."

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