'I'd join you always': how Gogglebox's Leon and June captured our hearts

Everything from the nightly news to emails from an online store we ordered an appliance from five years ago is desperate to tell us about the “unprecedented times” we are living in. There is little to calm the simmering sense of chaos we are faced with. But one of the best and perhaps most unexpected salves has been Gogglebox.

In the absence of friends and family with whom to digest the news (or the latest Netflix drama), we can instead turn to the nation’s televised viewers for a dose of common sense, and watch friends and families watching TV together. Favourites like caravanning best friends Jenny and Lee with their forever-shocked faces at whatever it is they are viewing, kindly father and sons the Siddiquis, caustically witty siblings Pete and Sophie, or the dog-loving Mancunian Malone family.

Watching this bunch make sense of the week’s events increasingly feels like the only way we can come to terms with them too. They are becoming the nation’s irascible and comforting conscience – with their prescient takedown of Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic recently going viral – and they owe much of their identity to the original Gogglebox duo: June and Leon Bernicoff. No wonder then that the news of June’s death last week felt like a hammer blow to so many.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 11/05/20]