Steph and Dom Meet Nigel Farage, Channel 4: TV review - Farage plays the grinning gooseberry

The Gogglebox couple provide a bubbly-fuelled love-in

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The Independent Culture

Cocktail-hour strikes at roughly 10am in the Salutation, Kent. That’s the guesthouse run by Gogglebox’s boozy “posh couple” Steph and Dom Parker, and the setting of Channel 4’s latest innovation in the political interview format, Steph and Dom Meet Nigel Farage.

Some will question the propriety of giving Ukip this privileged platform, but even those who see no harm must have had low expectations for the quality of the debate. At first, Dom did very little to raise them. “I have to say, I didn’t vote purely and simply because I forgot,” he announced bluffly while lighting Farage’s cigarette. Ah, but wait; was it all a ploy to lull the Ukip leader into a false sense of security?

Soon the impertinent questions were flooding in like EU migrants at border control. On Europe: “But if there’s no point, why are you there?” On personal matters: “Was it the politics that screwed up the first marriage?” And on ambition: “Would you make a good prime minister?” It was like an episode of Newsnight, only one where everyone’s half-cut.

Nigel Farage enjoys one of 'five or six' glasses of wine with Steph and Dom Parker

So was poor Farage stitched up by the “biased liberal media” once again? There was undoubtedly some mischief-making on Steph and Dom’s part. When Nigel spilt a glass of champagne over himself (having already been liberally doused in lager by Dom), Steph insisted he change into a new pair of trousers. She then presented him with a choice of ripped denim, leather or tartan. Farage opted for the Bon Jovi look. Most unministerial.

More often, though, it was Farage who made himself look silly. The world’s tiniest violinist played a mournful solo when he whinged about not making enough money: “I don’t think I know anyone in parliament who’s as poor as we are.” His description of losing a testicle to cancer, if nonsequitous, elicited more sympathy; but his po-faced pronouncement on the comic potential of Fascist dictators was just odd: “I don’t think Hitler’s very funny. … Mussolini can be quite funny…”

So we didn’t learn much about politics or policies, but we did learn more about Steph and Dom’s lovely marriage. Dom’s affectionate nickname for Steph is “Sybil” (as in Fawlty Towers) since, as he told Farage: “My wife is at her best when she’s sort of grumpy”.

It was a love story, really, with Farage cast as the grinning gooseberry.

Read more: Gogglebox's Steph and Dom deny playing up to cameras