A CONTROVERSIAL new Channel 4 programme starring an ‘undateable’ Rugby man looking for love will be aired this week.
Justin Coling, 39, is one of a group of people starring in the show Undateables, billed by Channel 4 as an uplifting three-part series following the journeys of extraordinary singeltons as they enter the dating circuit in pursuit of love.
Justin, a stock assistant at a printing firm, has neurofibromatosis type 1 - a rare condition which means tumours grow on nerve tissue on his body - and in Justin’s case, on his face.
He’s had 100 operations but in the meantime has missed out on love. Described as an outgoing, lively guy, Justin has many friends, both male and female, but has never been on a date.
Justin, who lives alone with his cat Leo, said: “Do I flirt? Is the Pope Catholic?!” - but all he really wants is to be “someone’s Christmas present”, and thinks “you never see the facially disfigured guy get the girl.”
As part of Undateables viewers will see him being signed up by a dating agency to see if he can be proved wrong.
Other participants in the series including a stand-up comedian with Tourette’s syndrome, a trapeze artist with brittle bones, a media student with Down’s Syndrome, an amateur poet with a learning disability and a skateboarder with a facial disfigurement.
Speaking to a national newspaper Justin said: “When I was told the show was called the Undateables, I did take a deep breath in.
“I wasn’t sure about it. But the whole point of it is so that people with disabilities can date. I don’t suppose anybody is easy to find a date for, but mine went really well.
“I heard she wasn’t found through the dating agency, but from another source. I didn’t mind that, but I did ask for someone local and she lives 179 miles away.
“The female population has never really shown any affection towards me and I’ve never really pushed it or pursued it. I’m not looking for sympathy – there have just been extra challenges.
“I’ve learnt if I’m going to meet someone, I need to get up and go out. I’ve registered on another dating site and I am on the lookout. She has got to be kind, considerate, thoughtful and understanding.”
Despite the show having not even aired yet, it is already causing a stir on the internet due to its controversial title.
On a Channel 4 internet forum Justin said: “This has been a fun and interesting experience and I am pleased I was asked to take part.
“The whole idea behind the show is to prove that the disfigured can date and can have fun. I hope that people just will look past looks and see me...a person.
The first episode will air on Tuesday at 9pm.