Inside the new show that gets couples who found love online to meet for the first time - from a 38-year-old British virgin who flies thousands of miles to propose, to a Somerset teen and his 26-year-old Indian girlfriend

The Nevermets, which explores online relationships, is narrated by Dawn French READ MORE: What happened when we sent LIZ JONES on a blind date - with a man who had never heard of her! 

Matt was 38 years old and still a virgin when he found love with Maria, 28, on a dating app. Sarah, also 38, felt her chances of having a family were slipping away until she fell for Jgoy, 27, after spotting his photo on Instagram. And 17-year-old Jay met his long-term girlfriend Veena, 26, in an online Game Of Thrones role-play group.

Heartwarming stories yes, but there’s a catch. Although all of these people have fallen head over heels for each other, none of the couples has actually met.

Their relationships are so long-distance that they’ve not yet been able to kiss or even hold hands. Matt, Sarah and Jay are based here in Britain, while Maria and Jgoy live in the Philippines and Veena is in India.

They are just some of the couples in The Nevermets, Channel 4’s new six-part series narrated by Dawn French that explores the growing trend of online relationships.

Cameras follow the Brits as they travel to meet their partners for the very first time, and discover if their romance will survive a face-to-face meeting.

Matt, from the UK, and Maria, from the Philippines (pictured), met on Tinder two years and eight months ago

Matt, from the UK, and Maria, from the Philippines (pictured), met on Tinder two years and eight months ago

‘The trend started around 2020, when Tinder launched “global mode”,’ says the show’s executive producer Melissa Brown.

‘It meant rather than just look for someone within a three-mile radius, you could search around the world. Tinder said it was in response to demands from Gen Z daters.’ Generation Z encompasses those born between the late 1990s and the early Noughties.

It’s ironic that Matt, a factory supervisor from Warrington, Cheshire, who’d never travelled further than Manchester before, fell in love with a Filipina woman.

Maria is his first girlfriend. ‘I was very shy, very quiet, not good at speaking to girls, obviously,’ says Matt, 38, who lives with his parents. ‘I thought chatting to women online would be easier first, before meeting them.’

He forgot to set geographical limits on his dating app that would’ve restricted him to people close to home, and when Maria popped up on his screen the two started chatting.

‘She was just so genuine, and because I was so shy she seemed to accept me,’ says Matt. ‘I saw that I could develop myself and become more confident through this.’

Matt and Maria spent all their free time together on video chat, often keeping the camera rolling while sleeping. Two years and eight months on, Matt’s flying to the Philippines to meet Maria with an engagement ring in his pocket.

Their online relationship is typical of many. ‘They know what the other had for breakfast, what time they went to sleep,’ says Emily Smith, creative director at production company Wall To Wall.

Pictured: Brit Jay, 17, met his long-term girlfriend Veena, 26, who lives in India, in an online Game Of Thrones role-play group

Pictured: Brit Jay, 17, met his long-term girlfriend Veena, 26, who lives in India, in an online Game Of Thrones role-play group

Sarah, a catering assistant from Berkshire, had been dating Filipino Jgoy, a 27-year-old digital worker, for two-and-a-half years online, but when they meet in Jgoy's home country she doesn't feel any chemistry

Sarah, a catering assistant from Berkshire, had been dating Filipino Jgoy, a 27-year-old digital worker, for two-and-a-half years online, but when they meet in Jgoy's home country she doesn't feel any chemistry

‘It’s like they know each other better than people dating someone a few Tube stops away. But for some, whether to meet or not was a big question because it might change their relationship.’

When they do meet, the scenes are often very moving. Maria flings herself at Matt as he gets off the bus in her hometown.

‘When I first saw him I was stuck for a second because he’s so tall and handsome and I’m small,’ explains Maria. ‘I was crying tears of joy when I hugged him. On that day I knew he was the one for me.’

Other meetings are less successful. Sarah, a catering assistant from Berkshire, had been dating Jgoy, a 27-year-old digital worker, for two-and-a-half years online. But when they meet in the Philippines she doesn’t feel any chemistry. ‘I’m not really enjoying it,’ she says. ‘He seems to be different in real life.’

He’d never moved out of his parents’ house, never travelled – yet he did all this in one week. I felt he’s the one                                            - VEENA 

Experiencing a foreign culture can further strain a relationship. When Jay flies from Somerset to Kerala, India, he’s welcomed by Veena’s entire extended family, whose expectations that the pair will marry pile even more pressure on the teen. But it only deepened Veena’s love for Jay.

‘He’d never moved out of his parents’ house, he’d never travelled, yet he did all this in one week,’ she says. ‘That’s when I felt, “He’s the one.”’

The couples are committed and their stories treated with respect. ‘We had a duty of care that’s watertight,’ says Melissa Brown. ‘We got Jay’s parents on board.’ And because Jay is under India’s legal age of consent, which is 18, he and Veena were not allowed to explore the physical side of their relationship when they met.

Whether these relationships flourish or fizzle out remains to be seen. But for Matt at least, meeting Maria has jolted him out of his comfort zone.

‘I feel like I’ve woken up and I want to change my situation,’ he says. ‘But if that hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have met Maria. Everything has brought me to this point.’

  • The Nevermets, Friday, 10pm, Ch4.

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