The case of a television channel that will do anything to boost ratings
Over the course of the last week, the story of a man named Aaron Withers and a television show called Take Me Out has been the subject of much media coverage. Most of it, to my mind, was simply staged to increase ratings for a show that plainly is failing.
Aaron Withers and Wen Jing Mo on ITV1's Take Me Out with host Paddy McGuiness
Take Me Out, produced by Talback Thames for ITV1 and hosted by “matchmaker” Paddy McGuiness, calls itself an “electrifyingly funny dating show” and plainly is a contemporary take on Cilla Black’s Blind Date. I’ll admit that I’ve never watched it, but here is a show where “sexy single ladies” attempt to seek out their “match made in heaven.” Sadly it’s also a programme better known for featuring an ex of that Twittering football legend Joey Barton as well as a bunch of ruffians who trashed the £4,500,000 Wyelands House near Chepstow in South Wales during filming.
Wyelands House, Pwllmeyric, Chepstow, South Wales, NP16 6LA
Aaron Withers, one of the contestants, however, is the individual on this Saturday evening show who has attracted the most interest. The 32 year old, according to The Mirror, came across as an “inexperienced, unlucky-in-love bachelor” on Take Me Out but in fact was ultimately exposed as a former escort who also had a conviction for assault.
In turn, another contestant named Wen Jing Mo, who was paired with Withers, came forward and stated that he’d “manipulated her into bed” and was “angry” that he hadn’t revealed his past. Sadly for this hypocrite, she was herself exposed as a £200 an hour hooker just days later.
Withers, therefore, I’d argue is the victim in this truly sorry saga. Yes, he is foolish for having thrown himself into the public arena but he did not lie. I asked him four clear questions and here they are along with his honest answers:
MJS: “Did you apply for this show or were you approached?”
AW: “I did an application form and sent it via e-mail and got a reply the following day asking to come to an audition the day after that.”
MJS: “What exactly did they ask you in relation to your background when you applied?”
AW: “They asked me nothing regarding my background as they gave me a CRB form to fill in at my audition.”
MJS: “Did you tell "the whole truth" on any application form that you may have filled out?”
AW: “I told the whole truth on the application form but there were no questions regarding criminal background, they were all personal questions and questions about the type of girl I fancy, go for etc.”
MJS: “If you were approached about doing another TV show of a similar type now, would you consider doing it?”
AW: “I would definitely go on another show if I was approached as I’m sure if the show did approach me they would know who I was due to the media coverage I’ve had and I’d definitely question why they are approaching and that I had a conviction.”
In response to the allegations that he “battered” a girl, Withers also points out that she “just got in the way during the scuffle” and that it “calmed down [his] drinking.” In an interview with thisissomerset.co.uk he also added: “I regret what happened and I am sorry.” We all mistakes in life and Withers reveals himself as a man who happily admits his.
Due diligence is something that all of us in the media must perform and Talkback Thames plainly did not do such whilst researching the backgrounds of applicants to this show. The guilty party here is not Aaron Withers but in fact the producers of Take Me Out. They are the ones that should be ashamed of themselves and conclusive proof of this came this very weekend when yet another contestant, Rory Alexander, was exposed as someone who had been convicted of assault.
Appropriately McGuiness is best known for performing a rap on the show that includes the line: “Let the banana see the splits.” He’s right: here, in fact, is a show that is just full to the brim with splitting nonsense. Frankly, I’d rather devour paving stones, wasps and nails than watch a minute of this drivel.
View the official website for Take Me Out at: http://www.itv.com/takemeout
Read an interview with Aaron Withers on thisissomerset.co.uk at: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Aaron-Withers-speaks-wildly-exaggerated-assault/story-14401718-detail/story.html
Follow Aaron Withers on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/aaron_withers