Keep Love Island's eye candy, Davina McCall's new show The Romance Retreat looks set to offer real soul food – Susan Dalgety

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There is nothing to compare to the intensity of young love. It is an all-consuming passion, fired up by hormones and boundless energy.

But it can burn out as quickly as it takes hold, leaving nothing behind but a stream of over-wrought WhatsApp messages and a tattered Valentine card or two. And lasting love is rarely found on Love Island, the reality TV dating show where a dozen narcissistic but needy twenty-somethings spend time together in a luxury villa in the hope of finding their dream partner.

I may be biased, but I believe that true love comes with age, which is why I am looking forward to Davina McCall’s new dating show for grown-ups. Tentatively titled The Romance Retreat, it will air on ITV later this year.

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McCall, who is in her 50s, says the show is for single parents who have lived a life. She said: “They’re widows, they’re people who have been through horrific divorces. They are people who have split up with somebody and decided they want to try going out with somebody the same sex as them.”

As someone who met her husband in her late 30s, after having ‘lived a life’, I can heartily recommend finding love after the first flush of youth. If I were looking for a new partner – which I most definitely am not – I am not sure I would sign up for a reality TV dating show. Nor would I want my adult sons to get involved in my love life, much as I respect them. Apparently, contestants for The Romance Retreat must be nominated by their grown-up children to take part.

But I was lucky – I only had to go to a Scottish Labour conference in Inverness to find the man of my dreams, not embarrass myself on prime-time TV. That said, I hope every one of the lovelorn men and women who appear with Davina in her new show enjoy the experience. And that at least two of them leave hand-in-hand to start a new life together.

Love Island with its near-naked, tanned and toned bodies may be eye candy for some, but The Romance Retreat promises to be food for everyone’s soul.

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