CONTINUING my theme from last week - these are strange times.

And while everything else seems to be changing on a minute by minute basis - my one constant has been being able to control what I do and don’t watch.

I need escapism right now - laughs and optimism and a chance to think about something else.

Dating shows are just the ticket.

Blind Date might have been considered ground-breaking, yet cringeworthy, viewing when it arrived in the ‘80s but it ignited a love of watching would-be couples travelling the rocky path to potential romance which is yet to be dampened.

Chaps choosing from a whole host of beauties tasked with deciding whether to leave their light on or off, celebs looking for true love, couples who spend days in a darkened room before getting engaged having never set eyes on each other are just the tip of the iceberg.

Add to this my current obsession - Channel 4’s Five Guys a Week.

A lucky lady chooses five dates who come and spend a few nights in their home.

Despite the scheduling time this is all pretty chaste, I hasten to add.

At various points she has to send one of them home until just two remain, enjoying an awkward dinner for three before her final decision is made.

Cue muscular chaps squeezed into bunk beds or perched precariously on blow up beds which don’t look like they can take their bulky frames, all desperate to catch the eye of the lady of the house.

When they want to reveal their true motives and feelings, the blokes all head off to a specially built shed which must be part of the production since on each of the episodes I have been privy to, it is exactly the same.

Why you would actually put yourself through this, and whether this is actually an effective way of finding your happy-ever-after are currently unanswered musings.

However, each of the eventual pairings so far seemed very pleased with their ultimate choice - but it all got a bit intense at times.

You could tell Lee, for example, would be given his cards first as soon as he bravely, but perhaps ill-advisedly, admitted he had been to anger management.

And crying about his divorce during dinner on the first night might not have been the best move for Glen - although he did, unfathomably, make it down to the last two battling for the hand of smiley divorcee Amy.

His unexpected appearance so late in the day may have been down to wannabe country music star Chris boring everyone with his guitar.

But all this makes for cracking television.

And has made me realise there really is no end to the number of dating shows we can accommodate.

Come to think of it I also missed out First Dates which I have made many attempts to watch but find consistently embarrassing.

I can’t bear it when the feelings aren’t reciprocated although we at least find out if they saw each other again.

Much as I have enjoyed the first few episodes of Five Guys.. not being told, so far, if it all worked out has left me feeling a bit cheated.

While some may think television is trivial, for others it’s a lifeline.

So next week I will mainly go on about shows you may as well catch up on while spending a bit more time than usual indoors.