Bosses have demanded a review of how contestants are chosen for ITV1 dating show Take Me Out (opens in new tab) after it emerged its latest star had worked as a male escort. Aaron Withers did not mention his past when he appeared in front of millions of viewers at the weekend as he tried to win a date with one of 30 women on the show, hosted by Paddy McGuinness. His description on the online escort site claims he works as a model, lifeguard and 'semi-pro surfer'. It adds that he has 'an awesome personality and will never struggle to hold conversation', charges £50 an hour and is willing to entertain 'mature clients'. It was also reported today (Tuesday) that the 32-year-old, originally from Frome in Somerset, pleaded guilty to an assault charge last year. Television bosses were embarrassed last year when it emerged that Nathan Hageman, the first winner of the £1 million game show Red Or Black?, had a violent past. TV bosses then axed three more contestants after finding 'inconsistencies' during a background check and promised to bring in tighter checks on criminal convictions. An ITV spokesman said: "We are disappointed that this contestant's record was not picked up as part of the background checks carried out by talkbackThames, the producers of Take Me Out. We have asked talkbackThames to carry out an immediate review of their procedures on this show." A talkbackThames spokeswoman said: "During the application process we ask contestants to declare any convictions, and background checks are carried out on each individual, in line with industry practice. "Aaron's criminal record did not come to light. We will be reviewing procedures going forward."
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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