I Kissed a Girl on BBC Three review: a refreshing spin on the straight shows we've seen a billion times before

 (BBC/Twofour/Corrine Cumming)
(BBC/Twofour/Corrine Cumming)

Aside from the odd queer couple appearing on First Dates or Married at First Sight every now and again, the UK has dined out on the dregs for a long time when it comes to gay dating shows.

Despite Paddy McGuinness’ half-hearted call for a gay version of Take Me Out which never materialised – not to mention widespread mockery of Love Island’s makers after they suggested that including LGBTQ+ contestants in such formats presents “logistical difficulties” – the first ever UK all-gay dating series only aired here last summer.

And what a load of fun it was too. All-too-short at just eight episodes long, I Kissed A Boy whisked 10 lovely lads off to an Italian Massaria (which bears an entirely coincidental, and not-at-all intentional resemblance to the Love Island villa) for a summer of snogging, scandal, and one now-legendary shower scene courtesy of Ollie and Dan.

Now it’s back for another round: this time, with a cast of queer women. The cast are mostly in their early twenties (I Kissed A Boy generally skewed a little older) and so bandy around pieces of Gen-Z slang (“golden retriever lesbian,” anyone?) that made me feel like a haggard old battle veteran watching on.

Otherwise, the formula is much the same as I Kissed A Boy. Once again, starting couples are selected by the show’s producers, and must seal their initial pairings with a kiss.


From here, the girls – which include fire-eater Meg, pro footballer Georgia, drummer Fiorenza, and self-confessed “baby-gay” Demi – are let loose to wreak their own chaos, with the most climatic action revolving around occasional, amusingly clunky “kiss-offs” in which they are given the chance to recouple, and the arrival of new bombshells thrown in to spice things up.

All the while, unwaveringly enthusiastic third wheel Dannii Minogue lords over proceedings once again like a fairy godmother with a better stylist, melodramatically howling with sheer guttural pain every time one of her beloved girls is tragically left “un-kissed”, and whooping like a drunk aunt at a hen-do each time a flirtatious gamble pays off.

Though it’s still early days, things are already heating up after two episodes. I particularly enjoyed London engineer Naee proudly declaring that she’s an expert in smoothly stringing along multiple girls at once without them being any the wiser... and immediately forgetting that, here, both of her crushes live in the same house and are regularly comparing notes. One new couple spent so much time pawing at each other that I felt a sudden impulse to go and purchase a hat for their wedding.

Naturally, within days, everyone’s already had a nice big cathartic cry together; this time, it’s about the baggage that some of the Massaria’s residents feel around the word “lesbian” and wanting to reclaim it from their school bullies.

Between putting moves on each other, stirring up drama, and indulging in the kind of easy-watching chatter that these sorts of shows thrive on, the cast also discuss subjects such as feeling invisible within the queer community as a femme person, or the false expectation that butch-presenting women are always “players”.

As with I Kissed A Boy, its spin-off is adept at gently bringing in these kinds of queer-specific talking points without making the whole thing feel like watching a reel of sob-stories, or treating LGBTQ+ experiences like a novel curiosity at any point.

The format itself may not be anything radical – we’ve seen a million dating shows with this kind of structure before with a straight cast – but the simplicity and lack of extra “logistics” in sight feels quietly refreshing anyway.

I Kissed a Girl airs on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 5th May