by Thinus Ferreira
A second season of the original local reality show, The Longest Date starts tonight on S3 at 21:00 after it was recently filmed as a Covid-19 safe so-called "bubble production" with a group of 16 new singles all looking for love in unlikely - and dangerous - places.
The 16 new contestants who were grouped into 8 couples according to their possible compatibility on paper, have to compete in various challenges for the chance at winning the R100 000 cash prize.
The local format show that was created by Samantha and Graeme Moon for SABC3 is being produced by Brandgen Productions and for the second season headed to the scenic Oribi Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal with Christopher Jaftha back as the host.
In every episode of the new season, the couples attempt to complete extreme tasks ranging from shark diving to mud-rallying that are all designed to take them out of their comfort zone, with the lowest-scoring couple that is constantly getting eliminated until there's only one couple left.
Chris Jaftha says "we have something really special on our hands with the second season". "There is a lot we learnt from the first season and for the second season we've upped the stakes and the challenges are more grueling."
"I'm the stuntman of the show, I do some of the pre-viz, your pre-visualisations. While I'm explaining the challenges to the contestants, the audience gets to see what the challenge is supposed to look like. I can tell you for certain, that if I think that I nearly died on one of the challenges ..."
"The safety crew and my producers got a little concerned because in one of the challenges, the river crossings in particular - I'm not going to mention too much about it so we have something to look forward to - I didn't come up for about a minute and people thought I had drowned. Until I eventually came up."
"I was just trying to hold my breath, to be honest to get through the challenge but I have the scars on my neck from the rope burn to prove it. So the show is hard, it's exceptionally hard, it's dangerous."
Samantha Moon says "we have some incredible challenges on The Longest Date - not only do we have the elements but we shot an episode a day which is unheard of to do an episode a day and if we did not have Christopher who is not only the host but also our stuntman who is a one-take wonder and who remained engaged and is the most talented host I've ever worked with, I don't know that we can get it done the way we do".
"He literally does every challenge - every physical challenge we throw at him without a complain and he's kind enough to never renegotiate his rates."
She describes the 16 contestants as "the most diverse, interesting, engaging, vulnerable and relatable cast that is on television today."
"SABC3 took a risk on this original format and they continue to work with us as we push further to showcase this incredible cast - there wasn't any pushback, instead they constantly push us further to show the contestants' journey in the most authentic, natural format possible."
"When you shoot 12 hours a day to film a reality show, the only thing that's scripted is Chris. For the rest - it's their story, it's their journey, we don't create stories in post-production," Samantha says.
"Yes, the second season was filmed in a Covid-19 safe bubble in a beautiful part of KwaZulu-Natal," Samantha explains when TVwithThinus asked how the coronavirus impacted the production of the show.
"Crew and cast tested negative for Covid prior to arriving. All cast were housed in their own housing and so all crew, so we did create a Covid-safe bubble."
"We also are fortunate in that we filmed exclusively outdoors and maintained all protocols to sanitising and mask-wearing. We didn't have any cases of Covid-19 while on-location. Unfortunately, there's been a few in post-production but that is what it is - third wave."
Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC3 acting programme manager, says "what we wanted to improve for the second season was to just make it as representative and as diverse as possible in terms of exploring all kinds of relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. That was really, really big for us."
"The new S3 slogan is 'Open Up' and it's about opening up to new worlds, to new experiences, to new conversations, to new relationships, making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there and getting out of the comfort zone."
"The Longest Date is a very unique concept because it's about finding love in an unlikely space where you yourself are being tested to your limits. The Longest Date is pushing the boundaries and having the conversations and representing everybody."
The contestants in the second season of The Longest Date are:
A 29-year-old model and influencer from Durban, whose life ambition is to be wealthy, she is passionate about helping people. Her ideal partner needs to be ambitious, fun and have a great sense of humour. Not be threatened by her but support her and push her to be the best version of herself.
Gareth is 32 years old and a custom leatherwork craftsman from Pretoria. His life ambition is to travel the world with the love of his life. His ideal partner is a smart, beautiful, and independent woman with a strong sense of adventure and a great sense of humour, someone who's willing to stick by him through life and experience all it has to offer.
Rachel is 24 years old, and she is a former South African national long-distance runner, bio kineticist and children's development coach and masters student at the University of Johannesburg Gauteng.
Her life ambition is to start her own practice one day and focus on children's motor development skills.
Her ideal partner is matured, honest, who has integrity, is independent and respectful, someone who is not afraid to be themselves and who she can be herself around and go on adventures with, train with and have fun with. It is someone who calls her out when she is wrong, a person who loves animals and has empathy and loves nature and the outdoors and who is not afraid to try new things.
A 26-year-old entrepreneur and private pilot from Krugersdorp whose life ambition is to travel every continent and have a picnic on each. His ideal partner must be caring and loving.
Lethabo is 27 years old, and he is a model and actor from Gauteng and recently starred in Netflix's How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding. His life ambition is to live, to feel, process every emotion, feeling and experience and make it part of his DNA.
His ideal partner is someone who is emphatic and knows that life is meant to be felt, someone who understands that other beings ate not meant to be understood or tamed, but to be loved. He should know that no matter what our gender or expression, building a safer world for queer bodies is a responsibility all of us should share.
A 26-year-old actor, singer and dancer who recently travelled internationally as part of the cast for Chicago. Originally from the Eastern Cape he currently resides in Johannesburg and his life ambition is to be sharing his art with the world. His ideal partner is someone grounded and easy-going, someone who loves to travel.
Kaelin is a 25-year-old sales representative and brand ambassador from Kwa-Zulu Natal. His life ambition is to be free, kind and to be left with no what ifs. His ideal partner is someone with a gorgeous smile, lovely hair, and kind eyes, definitely with a fit body and with great legs.
Melo is a24 years old broadcaster from Midvaal whose life ambition is to become a successful broadcaster and winning the lottery. Her ideal partner is someone supportive, tall, driven, does not smoke or have children but would want to have kids one day.
A 28-year-old exotic dancer from Cape Town, his life ambition is to achieve success in all areas of his life mentally, spiritually, physically, and materialistically. His ideal partner is someone who is an intellectual, open-minded person and who knows her path, seeking elevation of consciousness, who is fit and strong-willed.
She is 28 years old and runs an NGO and lives in Gauteng, but is from Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her life ambition is to become successful and her ideal partner must be at least her height as she is tall, and must be fit and hot. But most importantly he must have a beautiful heart.
Malwandla is 26 years old and he is a sportscaster by profession and an educated, qualified sports performance coach from Gauteng. His life ambition is to be a God-fearing millionaire with a monthly personal passive income of $50 000. pany, be a billion-pound asset. His ideal partner is a beautiful woman who has an intelligent head on her shoulders.
The 24-year Sunshine is an architect and travel blogger from Johannesburg whose life ambition is to travel the world and design awe-inspiring modern African architecture. Her ideal partner is someone who is romantic, ambitious, adventurous, God-fearing and tall, someone she is always laughing with.
Angelo is 25 years old, and he is a personal trainer based in Cape Town. His life ambition is to help people achieve mental and fiscal health. His ideal partner must be an intelligent, young, independent individual - someone that is willing to make it work and compromise and someone that is active and loves the outdoors.
She is a 28-year-old fitness Instructor from Gauteng with a life ambition of leaving a legacy. Her ideal partner is someone who is family-oriented, adventurous, an entrepreneur and also romantic.
A 34-year-old full-time law student and call-centre agent from Pretoria. His life ambition is to make his mom proud to call him her son, his sisters proud to call him their brother and one day his husband proud to call him his husband and his kids proud to call him dad.
His ideal partner must be a genuinely good human being, must care about the environment, social justice issues and the welfare of others.
He is a 31-year-old professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, content creator and entrepreneur from Western Cape. His life ambition is to live life to the fullest, with nothing but happiness. His ideal partner is someone who has a sense of humour, is funny, kind, honest and authentic who is not afraid to speak his mind.