In October 1966, Chi-Chi the giant panda hadn’t been as lucky as the England football team a few months earlier, as her introduction to An-An in Moscow Zoo was deemed a complete failure – even with extra time.
What people learned from this abortive attempt to increase the world’s declining panda population was: pandas clearly don’t all look the same.
It was halfway through the swinging sixties that the idea of Tinder was first thought up.
With the first series of Mr and Mrs being aired eighteen-months prior to the most public of unsuccessful dates, the respective Russian and English zoo-keepers might have learned the importance of being like-minded helps in searching for your BFF.
I watched the affable Derek Batey avidly as a nine-year-old in my Balham flat and cannot recall any successful panda (let alone two) being on the show, nor questions about your partner’s favourite bamboo flavour.
The average October temperature in Moscow is around two-degrees. So, An-An may not have been at his best, and female giant pandas are very shallow and are not attracted to pandas with a sense of humour.
I can imagine the scene at the introduction of the two animals at Moscow Zoo:
“Well, you don’t look much like your photo, do you?”
“Never mind that, have a suck on this bamboo.”
“Thanks, I might wait ‘til it’s warmer.”
Taxi for Miss Chi-Chi.