12 disabled singletons, four of which are living with autism, have gone on a journey in front of television cameras to try and achieve one common goal that would make their lives much sweeter than it is as they live alone.
They are looking for love, and they have decided to let a viewing nation in on their search for it as they become The Undateables.
Following on from Truly Madly Deeply, a documentary which was shown in 2006 by Channel 4, a British television broadcaster, an opportunity to help each Undateable to find what they are looking for is a journey that viewers have been taken on over the last two years.
With the help of Stars in the Sky, a dating agency that looks to find love for people with a disability and also Flame Introductions, an agency that introduces single people to each other, the show has proved that romance can always be found if the right people meet.
This has given me hope as I live with Asperger’s Syndrome and continue to search for the person that would make me complete.
For this I thank Sarah Spencer, the series producer of The Undateables, and I made sure that I told her how thankful I was for bringing the world of disability dating to the small screen as she spoke about her pride in making the programme to My Autistic Life.
The series, made by Betty who are an independent television production company, is the second since it first burst onto television screens in April 2012 and since the opening episode was broadcast, it has received support in the world of social networking.
Described as “warm, sensitive and kind”, tweeters have felt touched by what they have seen and in a time where instant reaction can always be found in the form of 140-character statements, a programme which Spencer describes as “unpatronising” and also one that has “helped to break down prejudices and raise awareness” has done just that.
She also believes that “the disabled community is incredible and as an agency, Stars in the Sky are amazing”, and this is something which she spoke about in greater detail on the roles that dating agencies and dating nights play in helping to bring people together.
Talking about the aforementioned agencies and also Groovy Gecko, a dating event which is held in Milton Keynes at sporadic times throughout the year, Spencer spoke highly of them by saying: “Dating agencies are a good way of helping disabled people to meet each other, but they are not the only way.
“There are limitations as Stars in the Sky and Flame cannot help everyone that is looking for love but in the case of Matthew (an autistic participant in the second series of The Undateables), we met him at a Groovy Gecko singles night as we were researching the show.”
Proving that there is more than one way of finding a partner, it is clear that there is plenty of options to consider but do any of them deliver success?
In the case of The Undateables and particularly Ray, a 49-year-old who lives with a learning disability, Kate, a 29-year-old who lives with Down’s Syndrome and Brent, a 21-year-old who lives with Tourette Syndrome, they do.
In life, it is often said that there is somebody for everybody and Spencer proves this by offering an update on events:
“Ray and Janette are still together, and Kate and Simon are still seeing each other too. Sadly, Michael (a 26-year-old who lives with autism) has just stayed friends with Helen but on a brighter note, Brent and Lizzie have become another success story.”
Adding that “it can be tough to meet a partner, but The Undateables has made it heartwarming to see relationships blossom”, Spencer has gone on a journey of discovery herself as she has learned about how disability can affect a person by working with a wide range of disabled people.
In my opinion, this only adds more warmth and sweetness to a programme that has dealt with the taboo of dating somebody who is not able-bodied, and it has given me confidence in knowing that any mental or physical disability is not necessarily a problem which should stop love from developing.
Anybody can feel butterflies in their stomach, and anybody can feel their heart skipping a beat when they fall for that special person that makes everything seem amazing.