Amazing, surprising, Alice!
That’s how Milton Keynes resident Jon Twilley has explained his Take Me Out experience after being screened on the ITV1 show on the fifth of March.
The MK Dons fan hosted a private event in the players lounge at Stadium:MK to watch the show surrounded by friends and family.
However what many don’t realise is that the 24-year-old’s Take Me Out journey started all the way back in April 2015, when a friend suggested he’d be good on the show, a whole 11 months before his TV date with Paddy McGuiness.
He said: “A couple of my friends said I would be good on it, I only really applied for a laugh so I was completely surprised when they asked me to come on, I’ve always watched it so I was an amazing opportunity.
“It was April last year when I applied, then I had a phone interview and a face to face interview.
“After that, you play a fake Take Me Out with the producers and the next day they called me and said I’m on it!”
After a lengthy application process, the Great Holm resident chose to go on a date with Alice Hunt, from Swansea.
Despite not taking their relationship further, Milton Keynes’ new TV star said they’re still close.
He added: “Me and Alice still get on very well, we talk most days, she’s amazing, I wouldn’t change her for anyone.”
Mr Twilley’s family and friends were there to offer a friendly face, as well as offer their opinion on his final choice of girl.
“My mum, sister and four friends were there,” Mr Twilley explained.
“I thought it might make me feel more pressure but it helped having a friendly face to turn to when I was on stage, they were very vocal about me picking my date!
“When I had two left I turned round and all six of them were standing up shouting Alice, I’ve never seen my mum that passionate about anything!”
The key account manager’s day started at 7am when he got to the ITV studios, before a series of rehearsals.
“You have to be there by 7am, it’s really early,” he continued.
“Then you do a walk through on the stage and a dress rehearsal with Paddy.
“After that you have lunch and then the producers take you through some of the likely responses you will get from the girls just to give you a chance to think of some answers.
“Then you do one more rehearsal before dinner and it’s a two-hour wait before the show starts, you don’t get to watch the other lads so you have to wait and listen to music until it’s your turn, then they walk you to the lift ten minutes before you go down!”
As he was waiting to go down the lift, the home and away MK Dons supporter was predictably nervous.
“I was bricking it, I just kept thinking this only happens once so enjoy it,” he added.
“I was so sure I would get a black-out but I tried to just be myself and hope for the best, there’s so much pressure, the cameras, the audience, then you have to convince 30 girls to go on holiday with you!”
Mr Twilley was full of praise for the show’s charismatic presenter Paddy McGuiness too.
He said: “Paddy is brilliant, he always helps you out and he’s there to get you a date, he’s 100% the same face to face as he is on screen.
“He takes time to talk to all the boys and even came in before the show and started to have a chat with us to help us prepare.”
After choosing his date he and his date were whisked off to the isle of ‘Fernandos’ for their weekend in the sun.
He explained: “Everyone from the show flies out together the day after the show, then you have your date and that night you go to the villa for the gossip show, you film in the villa for a bit then head out to a club with Mark Wright.
“Then you go back to the villa at about 4am and the next day you film the breakfast.”
The Dons fan, who is also the club’s drummer, said his friends were rather quick to jump on the fact he pulled out two cans of cider for his date but thought it was rather smooth when he explained the move.
He said: “She said in the taxi to the hotel that she’s more of a cider girl so I thought I’d show her that I had listened and thought it would be a nice touch.
“At first, my friends laughed but when I told them why they all thought I was pretty smooth.”
Since he got back, it’s been rather full-on for the TV star as he has had a series of date requests.
He added: “I’ve been recognised a few times, I went to Centre:MK and got asked for my photo a few times, it’s been a bit crazy.
“Facebook and Twitter went crazy I had loads of people adding me and messaging me which was nice, I’ve had over 60 date requests and loads of kind messages saying how well I came across.”
Mr Twilley finished by recommending anyone thinking of going on the show to just go for it.
He finished with: “I’d definitely recommend it to others, it’s a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget”