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Giles Wood and Mary Killen: Watching TV got us talking to each other

Features | By Harry Mount | November issue


Giles Wood and Mary Killen only shared an hour together each day. And then Channel 4’s Gogglebox talent-spotted the painter and the agony aunt. Harry Mount discovers how late-onset fame saved their marriage 

‘Have you got the brick?’ Mary Killen asks her husband, Giles Wood, as we leave their thatched Victorian cottage for lunch in Marlborough. The brick is kept in reserve, to knock a hole through the windscreen of their Volvo if the crack in the windscreen gets any bigger. ‘Would you like these?’ says Mary, handing over a pair of lady’s sunglasses, as I settle in the front seat, staring at the crack, ‘In case it smashes.’ Giles has just shown me round his charming garden, a shelter belt of wilderness he has planted to hide the flat Wiltshire prairies that lie beyond. He points out two deep, lethal incisions he has incised, fifteen feet up, into a tree. ‘The wind will do the rest,’ he says, ‘I haven’t got a chainsaw.’ In my namby-pamby, metropolitan way, I worry about it falling on passing toddlers. ‘There aren’t many people around –...

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