Channel 4 is planning a new show that will pair off and marry long-time singletons then follow the first six weeks of their marriage.

Roughly 200 people applied to the show, called Married at First Sight, with experts pairing up the singletons based on "scientific and sociological criteria", according to a Channel 4 press release.

In the show, the couples will meet for the first time at the altar, get married in front of their family and friends and then have their wedded lives documented by Channel 4 for the duration of the six-week show.

The show is based on the format of a similar show in Denmark which was criticised by political and religious groups for undermining the notion of marriage.

Among those critics is Harry Benson, of the non-religious Marriage Foundation, who expressed reservations about the idea but who wished the couples his best. "Instead of getting married with clarity and intent about their future," Benson told The Evening Standard, "these couples will still be in a relationship that is riddled with ambiguity.

"Nobody gets married with an easy opt-out clause a few weeks later. It simply undermines commitment from the very beginning."

In Denmark, none of the three couples that were set up lasted more than a year, with one splitting up immediately after the show had finished filming.

The show's announcement came as part of a slew of new programming that also includes Dementiaville, about the treatment of dementia, and The Police Commissioner, which follows Kent's first elected Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes.

For Channel 4, Married At First Sight is another controversial show in line with – but not necessarily as controversial as – Benefits Street and Drugs Live.

Married At First Sight is coming soon on Channel 4.