Elderly friends Mary and Marina are among the best-loved characters on the Channel 4 show Gogglebox.
Viewers were concerned when the two care home residents from Bristol disappeared off our TV screens back in April.
A senior member of the Gogglebox team has now admitted that show bosses were forced to stop working with the pair due to the risk of them catching the coronavirus.
Since they first appeared on Gogglebox in September 2017, Mary and Marina have become firm favourites among fans of the show.
Despite being in their 90s, the two best friends make for compelling TV with their wine-drinking and wise-cracking banter.
The ladies are safe and well looked-after, but often tell us they dearly miss the crews and the fun they have during filming each week.
However, due to their age, they are more vulnerable to becoming ill with the coronavirus – and the show's bosses weren't prepared to take any chances.
Writing for the Telegraph, executive producer Tania Alexander said: "Unfortunately, it was not possible to film with the full cast.
"For example, we took the decision to tell Mary and Marina, who are in their 90s and live in a care home, that we didn't want them put at any risk, so we should stop filming with them altogether."
Happily, both ladies are currently in good health – and Tania revealed that they are missing being on the show.
Viewers show concern
She said: "The ladies are safe and well looked-after, but often tell us they dearly miss the crews and the fun they have during filming each week."
The fact that Mary and Marina are OK will come as a relief to viewers, many of whom expressed their concern when they vanished off the screen back in April.
One fan tweeted: "I know it's because they're probably isolating but are Mary and Marina okay?? Can any of the producers or their family let us know? I miss them."
Another wrote: "Hope Mary and Marina are well, miss seeing them."
And a third said: "Missing Mary and Marina on @C4Gogglebox. Hope they are both OK and can't wait for Covid to be over and it's safe for them to return to the show."
Mary and Marina's comments on Gogglebox have become legendary. Mary once said about wine: "I Like Blue Nun, Black Tower, Liebfraumilch – they're near enough the same and they're not expensive.
"Victoria Beckham – that's what she drinks, Liebfraumilch. I read that once."
And while watching former Labour MP Ed Balls dancing on Strictly, Marina commented: "What the heck's he wearing? Crikey. Bit loud. He's like a dancing chicken."
It will be great to have them back soon.
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