For those who don't know, Gogglebox is us watching people watching television. About ten families, covering the full Channel 4 demographic, are asked to watch television shows whilst the camera watches them. It's all in the editing of course, but if you're anything like me, you can't help but be drawn in, and will have your favourites. Mine, for the record, are the lady vicar, the old sweet Everton supporter and his wife, and the young bloke living with his girlfriend who to date has not said a single word but swivels his eyes furtively at everything her parents say. Anne and I believe he's actually an erudite Oxbridge scholar but his witty apercus and cross court volleys have been airbrushed out for comic effect.
Anyway, back to this lot watching the National. None of them had the faintest clue what was going on. They'd backed plenty of horses, but spotted not a one of them. They were entirely reliant on the commentary. I say this not to mock - only this afternoon I spent the first circuit of the Scottish National trying to pick out Merry King - but to show how those of you who know colours by owners (Magnier, Hemmings, Johnson, Wylie, Abdullah, Mohammed etc) are practically experts. And to suggest yet again that horse-race commentary is gobsmackingly difficult.
Back to the race. One of the girls from Brixton had backed Across the Bay and had whipped it to glorious victory long before the horse was taken out by the loose horse at the end of the first circuit. God knows what would have happened to her had he stayed in the race, my guess is at Bechers Brook second time round she'd have spontaneously combusted, taking out most of Railton Road.
None of them had backed the winner, not even my scouse hero who had backed 12 horses on the one betting slip and was shouting at his wife to bring in the second betting slip. Personally I watched the National in a Ladbrokes in Limehouse and the cashier came from round the counter, took several betting slips out of her pocket and, sat in front of me with her back to the race, listened to the commentary, crossing out horses as the commentator announced their fate. From Battle Group's refusal to race to the final fence it was a cavalcade of “Facking 'ells” until, reaching the last name mentioned she started screaming home Pinny De Row. At the time I thought to myself I was watching Gogglebox. Turns out I was.