Channel 4’s hit show Gogglebox has been providing the nation with plenty of light-hearted laughs and emotional moments since it first aired in 2013, but the show’s history has not been without its controversies.
From complaints about lockdown rules being incorrectly followed to controversies surrounding comments on the Royals the show has been in the midst of several scandals.
The cast, who review television shows from the comfort of their sofas, has changed over the years. And alongside complaints made against opinions shared on the show , there have also been some from the cast members themselves – who have quit or left the show.
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The candid insight into the living rooms of sofa critics from across the country has created some memorable and hilarious moment but some of the most loved cast members such as Jenny and Lee and siblings Pete and Sophie have been embroiled in controversies.
The show just won a TV BAFTA and, on the whole, has remained a popular staple of fans’ Friday night plans but there have been points when viewers have turned off the show for different reasons.
OK! have taken a look into some of the show’s most controversial moments in its successful nine year history.
Fans once called for Leeds sisters Ellie and Izzi to be removed from the show
Sisters Ellie and Izzi Warner have been in the news recently following a tragic accident which saw Ellie’s boyfriend Nat hospitalised after he was hit by a car on a night out.
The Leeds-based ladies have been a firm favorite of fans since they joined the show back in 2015 and though they have kept fans entertained on the whole they found themselves in the center of a #MeToo controversy in 2019.
In a segment of the show Ellie admitted to her sister that she and her friends had restyled the classic game of ‘tag’ whereby players would grab each other’s ‘boobs or bums’.
Ellie said, “I played Tag not so long ago… but we called it #MeToo and basically we had to chase each other and either grab somebody’s boob or bum.
“And they were then it.”
Izzi did point out to her sister that it might not have been the best choice, saying: “I don’t think you are supposed to make a game out of the #MeToo.”
The game was branded ‘disgusting’ by fans of the show and there were even calls for the sister duo to be removed from the show entirely.
One viewer of the Channel 4 show wrote at the time: “Those sisters are disgusting. One… makes a grab a boob game out of the Me Too Movement.
“They should be pulled off-air. I don’t offend easily to those two are vile.”
The sisters were not removed from the show and they continued to keep fans entertained on the show until recently when it was announced Ellie would be taking an indefinite break from the show to care for her boyfriend Nat.
Confusion over whether cast members were breaking lockdown rules
Throughout the pandemic many of our favorite TV shows had to put filming on hold and the box office all but closed for new films to make any movement.
Gogglebox, whose format is already reliant on their cast being at home, were able to continue filming the popular show and sharing their opinions on all the updates over the UK lockdowns.
Though, some viewers were confused whether the strict lockdown rules were being broken by some of the cast members who were watching TV together that do not usually live together, including Hull-based favorites Jenny and Lee.
By August of 2020 the cast were hit with Ofcom complaints as some people were concerned they had breached lockdown rules in order to film the popular show.
At the time of the complaints rules surrounding Covid-19 meant that people were unable to visit their loved ones in their homes and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital battling the virus.
Speaking to the Mail Online at the time, a Celebrity Gogglebox spokesperson said: “All those involved in filming Celebrity Gogglebox are doing so safely following industry production guidelines.”
Harrowing TV scenes aired showing a young girl attempting to commit suicide
Gogglebox is used to provide an insight into different people’s opinions on the biggest and most-talked-about shows of the week but in one episode their choice to air a scene including an attempted suicide was a step too far for some viewers.
More than 90 people wrote to Ofcom to complain after the scene showing suicide from HBO’s drama The Third Day was aired.
The scene involved a young girl attempting to kill herself before being saved by the character played by star Jude Law.
One person at the time commented: “Enjoying the new series but would have liked a trigger warning for the depiction of suicide in the episode tonight.”
Whilst another added: “So I’ve just done my first ever Ofcom complaint about Gogglebox last night. Suicide is such a massive issue and Channel 4 were completely wrong to show that clip. Shame on you.”
‘Bullying’ claims and fiery exits from cast members themselves
Over the years several stars of the show have either taken the decision to leave the show, quit in a dramatic fashion or sadly passed away as the cast has continuously changed.
One ex-Gogglebox star, Chris Ashby-Steed, who appeared alongside long-standing cast member Stephen Webb was caught up in claims that he had been ‘bullied’ off the show.
Following the dramatic exit of Paige Deville last year after a family fall-out with her mum, Chris’ partner Tony took to Twitter in response to Paige’s experience as she left the show.
In a tweet, Tony wrote: “Our hearts go out to you @Paige_deville. The studio stood by and watched Stephen bully my husband Chris off the show and did nothing to stop him. The helped him get his mum on the show behind Chris’s back without even telling him….
“@Paige_deville, they don’t seem to give a damn about the people below the superficial, it’s all about ratings and awards, not people.
“Even when it came out that being forced off the show made Chris suicidal, they didn’t contact him once!”
During the controversial backlash over the claims, a Gogglebox spokesperson said: “Support is available to all previous and current cast members as the welfare of the families – past and present – is of utmost importance.”
Though Chris no longer appears on the show, his former co-star Stephen is still a firm favorite as he now comments on the hottest TV of the week alongside his husband Daniel.
Backlash from fans after choice comments on Royal family
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Gogglebox’s stars provided comment on what was probably one of the biggest TV moments of 2021 as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The much anticipated interview was the first time the couple had opened up on their decision to leave the UK and the topic was a very divisive component of that time.
So it’s no wonder that there was such a reaction to the comments made by the Gogglebox cast, the episode sparked 51 complaints to Ofcom.
Stephen Webb quipped: “What did they want her to do? Get her a part in EastEnders?”
Whilst Blackpool based Sophie Sandiford said: “Stick her in the gift shop while you’re at it.
“You know, 30 hours a week in the gift shop should cover her funds.”
A spokesperson for the show said at the time said: “We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”
Viewers call for Giles and Mary to be axed from show after defending Boris Johnson
Gogglebox’s controversies are not completely in the past as its a show based on opinions and naturally not everyone is going to be able to agree.
Some fans took so social media during the most recent episode to call for Giles Wood and Mary Killen to be axed from the show after Mary made some comments defending the PM amid the cost of living crisis.
During a segment where the cast were watching Susanna Reid’s GMB interview with the PM, Mary rushed to the defense of Boris Johnson.
Discussion in the interview came onto 77-year-old Elsie who had dropped to one meal a day and traveled on buses to keep warm amid the rising costs of living.
Mary said: “I’m very sorry for Elsie, but Susanna is making out it is Boris’s fault, and Boris doesn’t care.” Her husband Giles replied: “Whose fault is it?” to which Mary added: “The global situation.”
Fans took to social media to share their thoughts and one viewer wrote: “Mary and Giles….Get rid of #Gogglebox,” whilst another added “#Gogglebox get rid of Mary.”
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