Lothians Couples appear on reality shows with romance in mind

Denize Okan and Brett Hughson, above, got a boost from appearing on E4's Tool Academy
Denize Okan and Brett Hughson, above, got a boost from appearing on E4's Tool Academy
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Two couples from the Capital have taken part in two very different reality TV shows with a similar aim in mind – a bit of old-fashioned romance.

While Denize Okan can currently be seen putting boyfriend Brett Hughson through his paces on E4’s Tool Academy, Darren and Gemma Tunesi received secret training from choreographer-to-the-stars Natricia Bernard to put together a wedding dance with a difference for STV’s First Dance.

Darren and Gemma Tunesi are ready for their First Dance

Darren and Gemma Tunesi are ready for their First Dance

Denize, a third year law student at Napier University, nominated boyfriend Brett aka “Beefcake Tool” when moving in together proved to be more “miss” than “bliss”.

The 20-year-old said: “I had hoped we would spend more time as a couple and he would be more accommodating, but it actually made me realise how bad things were.

“Brett was really selfish and it made me feel terrible. When a friend e-mailed me about a show called ‘Bad Boyfriend Bootcamp’ I felt like I didn’t have much to lose.”

But it turns out the “Bad Boyfriends”, who were lured on to the show under the impression they were taking part in “The Man Games 2012”, were not the only ones who didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.

Denize explains: “The girls only found out a day before the boys that we were on Tool Academy – we were already in Barcelona! I’d seen the first two seasons, so I had my suspicions, but whenever we asked any of the production team they just fobbed us off. Loads of people watch it, so it did make me more nervous. I’d labelled Brett a ‘Tool’!”

Brett, who used to be captain of Merchiston North U21’s football squad, added: “I did wonder when we got to Spain and they had us playing all those ‘Man Games’, but one of the other guys kept saying he didn’t have a girlfriend, so we thought it couldn’t be Tool Academy.

“I felt so sick and shocked when they did the ‘big reveal’. I’d watched the other seasons and laughed at the guys on it and a year later there I was! I didn’t think I deserved it at first. But when I started looking at my behaviour and how it affected her I realised I had to make an effort to change.”

Though the couple, who live in Polwarth, can’t give too much away about the rest of the show, it is clear that they are still very much in a relationship – something not all the participants can say. Denize said: “A few of the couples split up after the show. It really has helped us, though.”

Meanwhile, thanks to STV’s new hour-long special First Dance, recruitment consultant Darren and primary school teacher Gemma have been taking dancing lessons from the same woman who has “put the moves on” Kanye West and Katy Perry to perfect an unforgettable routine for their wedding reception – and start off married life with an extra £10,000 in their pocket.

While the experience reportedly left Gemma bruised, friends have been complimenting Darren on his newly slimmed down look, which he put down to being in training to look “bang tidy” for the wedding, adding: “Plus dancing every night helped!”

First Dance is on STV at 8.45pm on 14 November, while you can catch Tool Academy on Tuesdays at 10pm on E4.