Blind date dating show
The man's aim is to convince the ladies – through the sheer force of his poise and charm - to keep their lights on for the duration of the game.
Striding in Cilla’s place at the helm of this pheromonal Armageddon is Paddy Mc Guinness, a catchphrase-spouting, pathologically winsome creature who was surely created in a special lad-boratory somewhere on the outskirts of Wigan by splicing together the DNA of a Butlins redcoat and the entire canon of Nuts Magazine.
He's basically a living, breathing Club 18-30 holiday.
During Cilla's reign as Queen of Saturday night light entertainment she managed to capture the essence of that bygone, buttoned-down Britain of saucy postcards and bus-trips to Blackpool.
Take Me Out, with its shrieking cavalcade of bouncing boobs and barely decipherable neck tattoos, offers instead the promise of a lorra, lorra chlamydia, and a quick reminder from our God of why we don’t deserve to endure as a species. Thirty immaculately-coiffed nightclub banshees stand behind specially designed ‘sex lecterns’, passing judgement on a single male who descends into the studio on a small platform known as ‘The Love Lift’ (which I’m certain must be street slang for ‘Viagra’).
This introductory dance marks the first point at which the assembled ladies can thump the buzzer on their podium to turn off their light and remove themselves from the ensuing sexual negotiations.
The buzzer makes a horrible, heart-breaking sound, which evokes a dying robot, a comically wilting erection in a Carry On film, or Piers Morgan climaxing.
These men - like those who appear on The Jeremy Kyle Show to flunk their lie detector tests in a flurry of toothlessness and swearing, or those who appear on Embarrassing Bodies brandishing an alarmingly green penis – actually volunteer to flagellate themselves in this way, for the wicked amusement of unseen millions.
There's a certain schadenfreude in watching men being made to feel, for even a short fraction of time, how most women have been made to feel for the past 60,000 years at the hands of men, but it's probably wrong to extrapolate the idea that Take Me Out is somehow Germaine Greer's favourite TV show.
At this point the chooser usually tried - and failed - to disguise a powerful wave of disgust and regret, spending the next few minutes smiling like a chimp being held at gunpoint.
The couple would return the following week to recount a holiday filled with such existential angst and dread that it was almost a Jean-Paul Satre novel.
Just before my mother left our house to enjoy a lorra lorra laughs with her friends she always came into the sitting room to give me a quick reminder of her maternal affection: a peck on the cheek.