When everyone is talking about a big new show, my instant reaction is to avoid it. If the trailer didn’t win me over, then the excited babble of Twitter hipsters or even my friends is unlikely to succeed. There have been a few exceptions – Community being one, after I got recommended by three friends who I knew had a very good barometer for TV. 30 Rock was another, after the same select few singled it out for rare praise. But mostly the chatter washes over me. Breaking Bad and The Wire may well be excellent, but I feel like sticking two fingers to everyone who has been swept up by them, so refuse to watch either.

Gogglebox though was a strange one. Most of my friends, TV educated or not, hate it despite never seeing it. It is the kind of show that gets the chuntering classes angry, like Big Brother and its ilk. Kirstie Allsop in particular deemed it reality TV at its most cruel, arguing that a private conversation should not be made public for entertainment, especially when said conversation is dull of judgement. Apparently it is fine for us to talk Joey Essex ‘thick’ in the comfort of our own homes, but not on TV. As Madame Allsop is one of my TV pet hates (somehow both too twee and too severe at the same time) I felt naturally inclined to see what had riled her up. On the flip side, my personal literary heroes Grace Dent and Caitlin Moran loved it, so that too became an encouragement.

I wasn’t disappointed. The show, though ridiculous in concept, is genius. The cross-section of participants is brilliant – from the traditional nuclear family in The Wirral to the gay friends in Brighton, the poshest people in the universe (or at least Kent) to the more modest environment of Brixton, there is a feel that this is Britain.

Of course everyone has their favourites. I find it hard to choose between the mum in Clacton (who reminds me so much of my own I actually got a little scared), the heavily bejeweled Sandy and Sandra, and the brilliantly offensive pensioner Leon. The choice of programmes is canny as well: a mixture of reality TV, news stories and with the occasional complex documentary thrown in just to put the cat among the pigeons. My personal highlights these past few weeks have included Sandra’s shock at home much it costs to get in cinema in Streatham these days, Clacton mum’s insistence that Steve McQueen is white, and Leon demanding a new smart phone, despite him having no concept of how even a basic mobile works. Oh, and of course the heavy metal kid who has apparently not said a word for 3 entire series yet expresses his opinions perfectly through a brief glance.

So you naysayers can bleat on all you like whilst you paint chairs and make wicker baskets. I’m enjoying the company I have found myself in. Now just to wait for inevitable moment when one of the programmes featured on Gogglebox is, well, Gogglebox.

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