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Married at First Sight UK is a dating show with a twist, where complete strangers are matched by experts and their first time seeing their partner is at their wedding ceremony.
The UK version began in July 2015 and for the current series, E4 adapted the format to resemble the Australian version of the show, which premiered the same year. This change has introduced more contestants, commitment ceremonies, dinner parties and drama on our shores.
However, relationships expert Paul, who is one of three experts on the current sixth series, has previously been critical of the show.
The American version began in 2014 and in a post uploaded on 17th June 2015, Paul critiqued the idea of using a 'frenzied TV production environment' for finding the perfect spouse.
Referencing an appearance on Good Morning America when the American version of MAFS premiered, Paul wrote: "When the show 'Married at First Sight' premiered, I went on Good Morning America to say marriage is NOT a social experiment and the relationships on the show wouldn't work.
"Many people criticised me and as the show grew in ratings, continued to give me backlash.
"For the record, I have nothing but admiration for the experts on the show. My issue is with mixing an authentic search for love with a frenzied TV production environment (which I know well). It just can't work!
"The results are in after two seasons and I hate to say I told you so but out of six couples, four have already divorced and I understand a fifth is on the fence.
He concluded: "If you're looking for a committed relationship, TV isn't the place to find it."
Paul has since addressed his old opinions about the show's concept when he joined MAFS UK in October 2020.
"I've had strong opinions about this concept in the past, namely the process used to match the couples," he wrote. "This concern is illustrated by the zero success rate of the British show’s couples. After four years and 12 couples, not one marriage has lasted."
Paul explained when he was approached to join the show, he was vocal about having the ability to 'deliver a loving marriage' without 'intrusion.'
He added: "The channel and production company agreed. I had my doubts it would be upheld, but they allowed us to control the entire process, and I want to salute them for allowing us that autonomy."
The relationship expert then said he believed Married at First Sight was 'more than a TV show' and discussed the responsibility with not only matching two strangers, but also their families and backgrounds.
"This series is so much more than a TV show; it’s an authentic look at what happens when four communities put their faith in the hands of experts. It wasn’t only about matching two people who have never before met. It was about two families and two social circles, as well. I’ve never felt a higher level of responsibility in my life."
The current series has been a huge ratings success for E4, and Paul has addressed some of the concerns fans have about contestants being spotted in other reality shows and whether they’re on MAFS UK for fame.
Paul exclusively told Tyla he firmly believes that the majority of contestants were on the show for the right reasons, including the ’75 per cent success rate’ from the previous series.
"I found more people were applying [this year] because of the success of the last series," Paul said, referencing the fact that three of the four matched couples are still together after the UK's season five.
"So a lot most people that I talked to cited, 'oh my gosh, there was a 75 per cent success rate. That's the reason why I want to come on.'"
Tyla has contacted Channel 4 for comment.
Married At First Sight continues Monday to Thursdays at 9pm on E4.
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