Ulrika Jonsson has “a major issue” with Davina McCall’s new ITV dating show My Mum, Your Dad, which allows children to set up their single parents with a potential new lover.
Despite the programme not being on air yet, the 56-year-old had a fair few words to say about the dynamic as she slammed the idea of grown-up children making decisions for parents.
Ulrika, who is single and a mum-of-four, says that while kids may know their mum and dads best, it was “nonsense” to suggest they knew better about their love lives.
Sharing her thoughts in The Sun, she wrote: “It suggests that even in our late 40s and 50s, we need our kids to be involved in decisions about our personal lives.
“It sends a signal to the rest of the world that, at a time when we finally get to enjoy and pursue our independence away from family life, it’s still the children who have a say about what we do and who we do it with.”
The presenter said the thought of her own children picking a partner for her sent “a shiver down my spin”.
“They would probably choose some Dull Derek (apologies to the Dereks out there) who is in search of companionship and wants to be tucked up in bed with a lullaby and a mug of Horlicks by 8.30pm,” she added.
Elaborating, she explained that while she wouldn’t mind “a little bit of that” in a relationship, she wants to be “swinging from the chandaliers”.
“I rage against the ongoing narrative that once we’re in mid-life, all we want is a quiet life. We don’t,” she continued.
In her column, the ex Gladiators host also took aim at Davina, who pitched the idea of a middle-aged dating show to ITV.
“Davina would have you believe this was her idea,” Ulrika continued. “But a dating show for the over-50s was first mooted by me years ago — in this very newspaper.”
She said her proposal wasn’t to have a copy of Love Island, with “high heels and false eyelashes” but “something along similar lines because, quite frankly, we need to normalise older bodies and faces that have interesting stories to tell”.
Ulrika concluded her post adding that while she believes the ITV show will be a success, she thinks it’s a “wasted opportunity”.
“It sounds and feels patronising and condescending. It’s not the show I’d have made.”
My Mum, Your Dad has been dubbed a ‘middle-aged’ Love Island, however both ITV and Davina are keen to put some distance between the two shows.
Davina said of the comparison: “I have inadvertently called it this myself, but it’s really not the same show.
“The music, the setting, the grown-up kids being involved in their parents’ love lives, it’s very different.
“Once viewers see the show, they’ll see how different it is. Love Island is great, I watch it with my kids, but this is a totally different show and there is room for both.”
ITV say in a synopsis for the show: “From humorous moments to heartwarming confessions, the kids will see their parents in a whole new light as they are presented with opportunities to select who they’ll be matched with on one-to-one dates, and who may join the family celebrations for years to come.”
My Mum, Your Dad starts 11th September on ITV1 and ITVX at 9pm.