Belfast Telegraph

'Getting nude isn't just entertaining TV, we're changing lives' - Naked Attraction's Anna Richardson

Brace yourselves again: the dating show Naked Attraction is back for a second series. Host Anna Richardson reveals more - but not quite everything - to Jeananne Craig

The prospect of appearing completely naked in public - let alone with TV cameras and millions of viewers watching - would have most of us waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

But the latest series of Channel 4 dating show Naked Attraction, in which single contestants pick a prospective partner from a line-up of nude people, had thousands of people applying to take part.

If you didn't cop an eyeful of series one last summer, here's how it works: there are six pods, behind which stand six nude singletons.

Their bodies are revealed bit by bit, starting in round one when their feet up to their waists are revealed.

In each round, one person is eliminated based on who the picker finds least physically attractive at that stage.

At the end, the picker also gets naked, and the pair head off for a - fully clothed - date.

It's blush-inducing TV, to say the least, and leaves you wondering what possesses the participants to take part. Are they brave? Attention-seeking? Or just plain mad?

Host Anna Richardson insists the contestants weren't just there to show off their gym-honed bodies or grab their 15 minutes of fame.

"We're not only making entertaining television, we're also changing lives," she adds.

"Everyone who came on the show was genuinely looking for a partner, having been disillusioned by online dating."

This series is "bigger and bolder" than the first instalment, explains Richardson, promising some "proper water-cooler moments".

"Meeting someone naked, it's going to be really interesting to see who I'm most attracted to. Because I'm pansexual, that's a lot of options really," says Izzy, who is presented with men, women, and transgender people in the pods.

Richardson was proud the show included trans contestants. "Identity is a huge conversation. It's good to be challenging this and our preconceptions - even making sure we were getting the pronoun right when describing them - it's not just he or she," she says.

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Anna Richardson with partner Sue Perkins

With her warmth and good humour, Richardson is the perfect host for the "dating in reverse" show.

The Shropshire-born vicar's daughter also has a track record in making no-holds-barred documentaries, including Secret Eaters and The Sex Education Show, when she had an STI screening on air.

"My role is to guide the singletons through the picking process. They really do go on a bit of a journey as I think we challenge and question their notion of what they find attractive."

At home, 46-year-old Richardson is happy to wander around nude, but wouldn't be up for baring all on the show.

Besides, she is happily coupled up with comedian and former Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins.

The pair have been dating since meeting at a party in 2013, and Richardson has described Perkins as an "extraordinary person" and "endlessly interesting".

Richardson reportedly turned down a presenting role on the newly revamped Bake Off out of loyalty to Perkins, who quit when the show moved from BBC One to Channel 4.

Would they ever present together on screen? Richardson isn't sure how it would work. "We both love the spotlight," she quips. "We're two middle-aged women who love to talk."

  • Naked Attraction returns to Channel 4 tomorrow at 10pm

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