'To us, family means love, security and laughter...' Gogglebox sofa stars Sid Siddiqui, 70, and sons Umar, 38, and Baasit, 31, talk family and Father's Day.
Of course we're talking about Gogglebox.
A show so random on paper it had us all thinking, 'But who would watch this?' Fast-forward three years and guess what - we all do. All four million of us every week. The Siddiqui family (well, three of them, there's a mum, two wives, two sisters and another brother behind the scenes) have welcomed us into their humble abode in Derby. Dad Sid and his sons, lab technician Umar and IT teacher Baasit (complete with his daughter Amelia, one) have melted our hearts with their honest, cute, witty comments. They're a Twitter favourite too, with their 'To hate Ant and Dec is to hate life' quote earning them the now-weekly hashtag #SiddiquiWisdom.
They might be wise owls, but the boys aren't necessarily that switched on. When we arrive in Derby, we get slightly lost and ring head of the family Sid for directions. But he hasn't a clue what Umar's address is, despite them sitting in his living room to film the show one night a week for six hours straight. And once we're plonked down on the famous sofa, Umar admits he's forgotten to tell Baasit and Sid to come over for the shoot.
But they all make it in the end, and there's lots of cuddles and cooing over cutie-pie Amelia. In fact, they're all so pleased to see one another, you'd think they hadn't seen each other in weeks. But once they'd caught up, we settled down into the famous living room, and Sid and his boys talked daddy duties, dumps and DIY...
Sid, how does it feel to be superdad?
Sid: It's quite a nice thing to be appreciated for being a dad. It isn't very hard work, is it? And is it nice spending time with your boys for filming? Sid: We've always been close, but filming together has made us much closer. I love it, but I don't know if they think, 'Oh, not him again' Umar: It's like we've been forced together to do Gogglebox, but it's nice.
So it's all harmony and no bickering?
Baasit: We film the show late in the evening, so we do get a little bit ratty with each other. Dad gets awful when they show us quiz shows. He gets very angry when he doesn't get the answers. Sid: I do get upset, and the smart-ar*ed comments from you don't help either. Baasit: I'm not smart-ar*ed!
Umar: You are. But Dad blames his language barrier, because English isn't his first language. He says he can't speak quickly enough. What kind of dad was he growing up? Baasit: If I grow up to be half the man Dad is, I'll be chuffed. It's cheesy, but he's done great work with us.
Umar: He was a stylish dad too. We didn't mind him dropping us off at school, because he looked so slick. Baasit: He used to have a moustache and wear suits. He looked a bit like Saddam Hussein.
Sid: Looking like Saddam Hussein isn't really a compliment, Baasit...
Was he strict?
Umar: No, he was a big softie. Baasit: Firm but fair. He's always trusted us, for some strange reason.
Who was the naughtiest child?
Umar: I'm the good son. I'm strait-laced. Sid: Baasit has a more relaxed attitude. Umar is a lot more cautious.
Funniest memory of Dad?
Baasit: Dad's funniest when he's angry and he gets the most angry when he's doing DIY. He was helping with some central heating at my house and he kept saying, 'Pass me the thing.' I obviously didn't know what the thing was, but he was infuriated at me for not knowing the thing.
Sid: Well, I was pointing at it. I knew what I meant and that's the end of it.
Will you all be together this Father's Day?
Umar: Oh yes, we'll get together and eat lots of fatherly foods.
Sid: We will be cooking and entertaining, everyone will be together.
You're a dad too now, Baasit. How will your Father's Day be?
Baasit: Amelia was born close to Father's Day, so it takes a back seat to her birthday. I shouldn't resent that, but I do. Is that bad? But my wife always makes an effort. For Mother's Day I got told off for not getting her a card. She got loads of presents off Amelia and she isn't my mum. I wasn't going to get her a card from me.
Did your dad give you parenting tips?
Baasit: No, but I've learnt by seeing how he is with Amelia. He's really good with her. He's very patient.
Sid: Would you say I'm a better grandad than I am a dad?
Umar: This isn't your interview, Dad, you don't get to ask the questions.
Baasit: Well, grandads are always better than dads! He has the fun, crazy side. He riles her up and then gives her back to me. Sid: Oh, it's so nice having a baby around. I adore her to bits. If I don't see her for a few days I miss her.
Umar: Me too. It's fun being naughty with her and not having to do the dad role.
Would you like children one day, Umar?
Umar: Oh, I'd love one. I'd love that one [points to Amelia].
Baasit: You can't have that one. But you'd be a great dad.
Sid, we hear you're trying to set Umar up with a nice lady? Sid: Look, I just give him the occasional reminder to put himself out there. Baasit: Dad has a box to tick each month, he has to ask Umar if he's met anyone. Umar: I've actually seen him ask me, then cross it off his to-do list.
You're a heart-throb yourself, Sid...
Sid: That's very kind...Umar: We get comments from fans about Dad, but they're only ever nice. The term they use more than any other is 'lovely'. Baasit: His head is getting big now. You're all right, Dad. You'll do.
Sid: But people say to me, you have wonderful boys.
Picture The Getty/ Calton/ The brothers, in unison: Awww.
How are you handling fame?
Umar: We get recognised more if we're together...But a homeless man spotted me first. I don't know how he'd been watching TV. Baasit: I was going into town to buy a flapjack and I got dragged into a hen do for pictures, it was horrible! I just wanted to Emma Gary Pictures: Jones.
Sid: And I always get spotted Words: The guys with Gogglebox's National TV Award I got at the tip. I do a lot of DIY, so I am there a lot. They all start cheering when I pull up.
Baasit: What a place to get spotted when you're covered in dust and soot. Umar: Dad probably dresses smart when he goes. Sid: I do now! I must be the only man to wear a suit to the dump.
Were you proud of Dad's speech at the National TV Awards?
Baasit: Oh yes. I was thinking at points, 'Erm, be quiet, Dad,' but he was trying to finish with this joke. Sid: I fluffed the joke a little bit.
Umar: It did feel like dragged into it dragged, Dad...
Do you watch yourselves on telly?
I wanted to the they run Umar: I don't sit down and watch us. I do sometimes watch the other families. Sid: I don't like it. I notice I'm very fidgety.
flapjacks Baasit: I always have a cushion over my lap, which looks dodgy. Sid: It's nice to see a normal dad on TV, I think. Sometimes fathers are portrayed as the underdog on TV shows, and I think people see us and see a different, real side to families that they're not used to seeing.
What does family mean?
Sid: It means love, security, and the fact someone is always there for you. With family, you never feel alone. Umar: It's a constant source of worry, but a constant source of happiness too.
Baasit: For me it's laughter. I am never not laughing when we're all together.
Sid: For the Siddiquis, family is absolutely everything.
I got dragged into a hen do. I wanted to get to the bakery as they run out of flapjacks quickly Baasit
From left: Brothers Baasit and Umar with dad Sid - and baby Amelia
The guys with Gogglebox's National TV Award
Words: Emma Jones. Pictures: Gary Calton/Getty/The Picture Library.
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 19, 2016|
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