Gogglebox star June: 'I'd have paid money to see Leon on horseback like Poldark!'

Married couple Leon and June Bernicoff (opens in new tab) were an instant hit with Gogglebox (opens in new tab) viewers when they first appeared on our screens over two years ago and they’ll be returning to our screens for a new series on Friday (Channel 4).

We caught up with June to talk about Aidan Turner, Leon’s diet and their trips to the pub...

When you did the first series of Gogglebox in 2013 did you imagine it would last for six series?

"No definitely not, we thought we were doing four shows! We really enjoy doing it though."

How do people react to you when you’re out and about?

" When I’m on the bus people come up to me all the time and they’re often surprised that I’m on the bus or train. I think they forget that you’re just an ordinary person, which is the whole point of the show. They also love having pictures taken and that sort of thing. What’s really amazing is that it’s people of all ages. It’s quite surprising when you get younger ones enjoying watching us. Just the other day an 11-year-old said to Leon: ‘You’re better in real life than on TV!’ Another fan for Leon! "

Viewers love it when Leon is a bit rude, do you ever despair of him?

"Absolutely. He’s rude all the time. I’m afraid with Leon there is no filter at all. He’s renowned amongst our friends for speaking his mind. Many years ago his best friend brought his girlfriend, who would go on to become his wife, to our house. Apparently on their way to our house he told her: ‘This is one of my good friends, but he can be very tactless and outspoken so watch out!’"

How’s his diet going?

"Well he had a baked potato and cheese and a big bowl of trifle for his lunch today so not that well. He loves his desserts! "

What are you looking forward to most about the new series of Gogglebox?

" Leon can’t wait to get at David Cameron and he’s keeping a close eye on the Labour leadership race. He wants Andy Burnham to win because he’s an Everton supporter – although I’m not sure that’s a good quality for leading the country! "

Who do you think should be the new Labour leader?

" I’m not sure, but if Labour is ever going to come back they need someone who can stand up in the house and debate well with Cameron. He’s so persuasive and he has a lot of the press behind him so it will take a strong character… "

What are your favourite TV shows?

" We like quiz shows. Pointless is our current favourite, but we’re hopeless! We don’t ever get a pointless answer. If we do we celebrate like mad. I also like Countdown and Leon loves Rachel Riley! I’m also a big Stephen Fry fan. Anything he does is fantastic, he’s such a wonderful character. "

Has Gogglebox introduced you to any new shows?

" We started watching Poldark because the producers asked us to and it was wonderful. Aidan Turner is a great actor and also very handsome, he reminds me of Leon in his heyday. I’d have paid money to see Leon on horseback! "

Do you always watch TV together?

" Usually, but I just found out that Leon secretly watched Natalie Dormer’s racy new drama The Scandalous Lady W without me. He can be so sneaky! "

The city of Liverpool was mourning for Cilla Black last month, will you miss her?

" I really admired Cilla because she lived a real rags to riches story. When her singing career ended she found a new career in TV and she was a very good presenter. She was very loyal to her husband, very faithful and I liked her for that, but I wasn’t a great fan of her singing. Leon’s a big Sheridan Smith fan and he says she sang much better than Cilla in that ITV drama! "

How important is TV in your lives?

" When you get to our age it’s very important. We’re very lucky, we’ve just celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary, but a lot of our friends are widowed and living on their own. They say once the winter comes they close their doors at 6pm and the TV is their company – it’s their family almost! "

We hear you and Leon still go to the pub every Saturday, is that true?

" Kind of! We often go shopping in town on a Saturday and when Leon gets tired there’s a very nice wine bar that he manages to find his way to. He has a glass of wine while he’s waiting for me and then I join him! "  


Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.