Love On The Spectrum

Love On The Spectrum

Relationships and the dating game are exciting but sometimes overwhelming for everyone – particularly for those on the autism spectrum.

Just like neurotypical people, those on the spectrum have the same desire for intimacy and companionship as the rest of the population, but difficulties in social interaction are a key feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which makes finding a partner an often daunting and difficult experience. This affectionate and revealing series draws on relationship coaching to help young neuro-diverse people have a better chance of finding true love. In the fast paced and often confusing world of modern dating, Love On The Spectrum sets out to teach us all new lessons on love, intimacy and acceptance.

4 x 60-minute episodes

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Great concept. I wish commercial television networks would see the value in making content with disabled people at the centre of it.

Applications are now open to everyone over 18 who live in NSW, Victoria or Queensland.

From Tuesday 19 November at 8:30pm

LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM is a four-part documentary series following young adults on the autism spectrum as they explore the unpredictable world of love, dating and relationships.

Most people on the spectrum have the same desire for intimacy and companionship as the rest of the population, yet difficulties in social interaction and communication are a key feature of autism, which makes finding a partner an often daunting and difficult experience.

Far too many people on the autism spectrum want love and want to find someone special but haven’t had the opportunity. Many haven’t been on a date, ever.

Love on the Spectrum follows seven singles as they take their first steps into the world of dating. As well as help from their families, experts provide our love-seekers with practical skills to help them navigate what can be a confusing experience, giving them the confidence to begin their journey on the road to finding love.

We also follow couples who have found their match. Ruth and Thomas have been engaged for a year and a half, and Jimmy and Sharnae met each other three years ago. Their love stories are an inspiration to others.

This uplifting and insightful series celebrates diversity and difference, with participants who are warm, funny and generously open. It sets out to teach us all lessons of love, romance, intimacy and acceptance.


The ABC has advised the series premiere has been pushed back to November 19, after signing a new FTA broadcast deal with Football Federation Australia. The ABC will show the friendly between the Matildas and Chile on November 12.

Here’s an observation about this series which may or may not be of interest to Media Spy: The concept seems to have been inspired by and perhaps has even been spun off from a Lateline (RIP) report about autistics on the quest for love which aired on August 4, 2016.

As far as this observant viewer can tell, the very same Brisbane couple of business card-collecting Ruth and train/bus enthusiast Thomas who will be seen on Tuesday night’s first episode of Love On The Spectrum (going by the TV Tonight review anyway) also featured in the 2016 Lateline report:

With that out of the way, I personally hope that Love On The Spectrum does recieve good ratings on Tuesday night. Although as much as the ABC are to be praised for comissioning the series, it’s really our commercial networks who need to be producing and airing programs which more realistically reflect dating and relationships. But instead, we’ve seen numerous completely manufactured and potentially damaging programs in the dating, relationship & wedding “reality” genres saturate the primetime lineups of Seven, Nine and Ten for most of this year.


The series will stream on Netflix from July 22.

It seems there’ll be a second season of the show as well:

Screen Australia has helped to fund a second series.

Love on the Spectrum Season 2

A second season of this acclaimed documentary series for the ABC, which explores relationships and dating for people on the Autism Spectrum. This four-part series will draw on relationship coaching to help a new group of young neuro-diverse people find love. The creative team features director/producer Cian O’Clery, producer Jenni Wilks and executive producer Karina Holden who all worked on Season 1. This project has also received principal production investment from the ABC.

Update: 28/10/2020 The second season of Love on the Spectrum for the ABC is currently in production in New South Wales.

Season 2

Love on the Spectrum will continue to entertain, educate, and inspire audiences, telling the stories of people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships. With a few familiar faces, and some unexpected new ones, in Season 2, Love on the Spectrum will expand out to represent an even wider range of people and personalities, helping audiences understand just how diverse the autism spectrum really is.

With a warm-hearted and insightful tone, the series will once again feature stories of singles looking for love, and couples who have found their match. While Season 1 saw participants stepping out on dates for the very first time, this season will see relationships form and develop.

4 x 60


Produced by Northern Pictures with principal production investment from the ABC, in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Supervising Producer and Series Director: Cian O’Clery. Series Producer: Jenni Wilks. Executive Producer: Karina Holden. ABC Manager Documentaries: Stephen Oliver.

Probably the only dating, relationship or wedding-themed series worth watching on Australian TV this year!

Still it’ll be rather interesting to see if any of the commercial networks decide to schedule one of their tacky programs up against LOTS: Season 2. Either way, as much as they deserve to I’m not expecting the ABC to receive MAFS-like ratings for this.

Love on the Spectrum - Season 2


From Tuesday May 18

Love is in the air this May when the award-winning Love on the Spectrum returns to the ABC for a second season. Narrated by Brooke Satchwell, this much loved 5-part Australian original concept series screens from Tuesday 18 May at 8.30pm on ABC TV and iview.

Warm-hearted and uplifting, Love on the Spectrum continues to tell the stories of people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships. With a few familiar faces, and some delightful new ones, this new season represents an even wider range of people and personalities, showing just how diverse the autism spectrum really is.

In the first series, Australia fell in love with Michael and his search for true love. Michael is still a single man, but ever determined, he’s back to continue his quest and hopefully this time he will fulfil his dream. Also returning are dinosaur loving Mark and engaged couple Jimmy and Sharnae. Joining them on the search for love are singles Kassandra and Jayden, who represent both experienced and first-time daters, and Ronan and Teo, two young singles who are bursting with nerves and excitement at the prospect of starting their dating journeys. Helping them navigate their way is relationship expert Jodi Rogers who continues to provide support and tips in her refreshingly down to earth way.

This season we see romantic sparks between singles who date both neurodiverse and neurotypical partners. We explore heterosexuality, bisexuality, and pansexuality. And we watch the blossoming of love grow between young adults with intellectual disabilities. The one thing they all have in common: they all wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Chloe (who appeared in the first season) appears to be with Michael, Mark and the new subjects in the publicity image above, yet she wasn’t mentioned during the press release? Wonder what the go is there…

The whitewashing is so frustrating and depressingly amusing, like I don’t want to … but the cast already appears overwhelmingly white, and this goes for the first season too (not all, but very significant).

(I’m an autistic person of colour )

this new season represents an even wider range of people and personalities, showing just how diverse the autism spectrum really is.

Yeah totally how diverse it is(!!) Somehow they are happy to leave out cultural and linguistic diversity. The Australian autistic community, in general, suffers from the same, though. There are sites I’ve been linked to, from mental health professionals, with advice on social interactions that is specifically tailored to white culture. But I don’t know if the people who set up those sites thought about this, but ahem, guess what — different cultures might have differing social norms and expectations. So these sites and this show are kind of incredibly useless to me.

Though the bigger problem is that this bleeds in from attitudes in the general Australian population. For example, this country has leaders who are very happy to move heaven and earth to make the tennis happen, and has leaders who clearly will not move heaven and earth to bring their own citizens home, even over the past year.

And this bleeds elsewhere, like into the Olympics

And in Plate of Origin:

A major issue with the way the show is constructed is the presence of a “Team Australia”. This is comprised of two white Australians —Ethan and Stew — who are “just two regular guys who like to cook”. Considering the show is about the teams cooking food from their heritage, then why not have a “Team United Kingdom” instead?

Having a “Team Australia” frames whiteness as normal and invisible, implying the other teams aren’t “real” Australians.

The program also makes assumptions about food from a white, European perspective.

As Team Cameroon noted in the lead up to a dessert challenge, “Africa, we don’t really do desserts”. This is similar to criticisms recently levelled at MasterChef, when it failed to understand Asian cuisine. For example, celebrity chef judge Jock Zonfrillo suggested Asian ingredients did not “automatically lend themselves to a fine dining dish”.

I mainly just wish Australia was not so much in denial about this problem. Like Stan Grant said,

Where the Americans appear consumed by race, we prefer silence.

There is a history in Australia of not wanting to talk about the darker parts of our shared past.

I sometimes wonder if having the SBS in Australia has made the other networks a bit slack in caring about cultural diversity (Australia overall underperforms in this regard compared to similar countries like the UK, US and NZ)

We lag significantly behind comparable Western democracies when it comes to collecting data on cultural diversity, actively promoting culturally diverse and inclusive media workplaces and implementing measures to recruit, mentor and promote people from culturally diverse backgrounds. — Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?

To me, the SBS’s biggest strength is in its offering of programs in other languages. To me, this shouldn’t be an excuse for other networks to segregate “real Australians” in their stories.

But in the meantime, Australia is just going to get more programs like this one, where it’s not representative of Australian people on the autism spectrum – it’s only a specific subset.

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In all fairness I don’t recall the casts of Love Me As I Am, Employable Me (granted that neither were strictly autistic shows, but people on the spectrum were featured during both) or the autism spectrum episode of You Can’t Ask That being much different from a cultural diversity point of view.

Welcome to the forums! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure whether the producers of Love On The Spectrum would’ve deliberately gone for an all-white cast, but I think one of the main problems with the Australian media’s representation of people on the autism spectrum is that…well, it’s historically been very poor.

Only in the last few years have we started to see something vaguely resembling positive representations of any autistics on TV and even then, I’m still waiting for something on Seven, Nine or Ten. You know, the networks where about 70-80% of Australian FTA TV viewers get their ideas of the world from!

Broadly I think efforts should be made to ensure that the Australian autistic community is represented as accurately as possible, to the point of including people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. However I suspect one of the main problems is finding autistics who are comfortable to share their stories with the media, since quite a lot aren’t.

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Season 2 finishes next Tuesday (June 8) with a double episode.

Now the season has concluded, it’s time for a Love On The Spectrum verdict from a Media Spy member who is on the spectrum. But just on this:

As it turns out, Chloe was Mark’s date during last night’s Season Finale.

Overall Season 2 was OK…and it was certainly fun to see on there a certain Twitter follower who’d I’d known for quite some time! :wink:

But in the end it seems like most relationships on LOTS have ended amicably with the participants deciding to just be friends. Fair enough I suppose, because not all relationships amongst people on the spectrum are going to turn into true love let alone marriage as the case has been with Jimmy & Sharnae/Ruth & Thomas.

However this viewer couldn’t ​help but feel somewhat disheartened to hear that Michael (regarded by many as the star of LOTS in both seasons) has decided to put his quest for love on hold for now, especially since finding a girlfriend if not wife is something he’d been really wanting for most of the series. If by some chance Michael is out there reading this, I really hope you’ll one day find the woman of your dreams - with or without the assistance of a television program!

With moderate TV ratings and good figures on iView so far, I do think LOTS: Season 2 is likely to eventually make its way to Netflix like the first one did. I’m also reasonably confident that we’ll see Gogglebox review parts of Season 2 at some point - segments with Michael in particular.

If it’s decided that Love On The Spectrum should return for a third season though, I think I’d like to see a completely new cast for something different. Perhaps it’d also be a good idea to move on from Jodi Rogers ​in favour of a new relationship coach/expert who’s even better at understanding people on the autism spectrum and can more effectively guide clients into a romantic relationship.

Having said all that, it’s now over to you…

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