As the work week draws to a close on a Friday evening, it’s become a bit of a household tradition around the country to tune into Gogglebox to see what our favorite TV armchair critics have to say about the week’s telly.
But have you ever wondered what it’s like to be part of Channel 4’s smash hit series and what goes on when the cameras aren’t rolling?
Since taking the TV world by storm in 2013, the iconic show has introduced us to a whole wealth of families from around the country as they react to emotional, hilarious, or sometimes just downright weird shows that have graced our screens.
Throughout the show’s run, the makers of Gogglebox have teased lots of behind the scenes secrets, from the camera set up to how the families were found and propelled to stardom. Here, we take a look at some of the biggest revelations…
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How long does a typical episode take to film?
Contrary to popular belief, most of the filming for Gogglebox takes place across two days rather than an entire week, with the production company fitting in the work around the families’ busy schedules to cater for any work or childcare commitments.
In total, each episode requires around eight to twelve hours filming, with this normally split into two six hour shifts for the ultimate telly binge.
Once the filming is completed, the raw footage is sent across to the editing team, who work to piece it all together to make the show we’ve all come to know and love each week.
Where are the cameras placed during filming?
During the filming of each episode, only two cameras are actually used, one for a wide angle shot and one for any close ups. This minimal setup means that the families taking part don’t have to turn their front room into an obstacle course of wires and gadgets.
In addition to the cameras however, the producers also set up a mini gallery elsewhere in the home, which may be a bedroom or a kitchen, and from there they are able to control the filming of the show.
So every week, in addition to the families you see on screen, there is also a small four person team present to film each family.
The show’s co-creator Tania Alexander previously revealed in an interview with Vice : “We rig a mini gallery, which is set up in a kitchen or bedroom.”
She continued: “There’s a small team in the field – a producer, a camera person, and a sound person and a logger – and those four people are squashed in whatever room is available for the entire shoot.”
“It’s like a mini TV studio. There’s nobody ever in the room with the families. For the show we mainly stay on the wide angle but the close-up shot is often used to capture an eye-roll or facial expression that we’ll use in the edit for comedy punctuation.”
How does the audition process work?
Up until recently, the entire Gogglebox casting process had been shrouded in mystery, with the show famously scouting for its own on screen personalities rather than inviting people to apply.
In an interview with Radio Times back in 2015, Stephen Lambert, the show’s creator said: “We are not currently casting and there is no way to apply to be on Gogglebox”.
He continued: “Everybody on Gogglebox has been found and persuaded to be on the show.”
“I think that’s the key to why they are likeable and why the show works, because we get to know these people. We’ve never advertised for people on Gogglebox.”
However, in an unexpected twist, earlier this year Gogglebox producer Erica Von Stein shared a casting call for the show on Instagram, with the team hoping to recruit more Northern families for the series.
She wrote: “Looking for funny families in the NORTH of England for new series of C4’s Gogglebox.
“Leave a comment below if this sounds like you and feel free to tag anyone who would be perfect.”
How much do the contributors earn to take part in the show?
Every family that takes part in Gogglebox is compensated for their time, with the latest estimates for what they earn thought to be around £1500 a month, although this has not been officially confirmed.
This fee is per household, with the family members themselves left to decide how to divide it up.
In addition, every week the families are able to treat themselves to a takeaway of their choice to enjoy alongside filming.
Is it a full time commitment?
While a daily grind of watching telly does seem like the ultimate dream for many, it isn’t the case for Gogglebox. With filming only usually taking place across two days, many Gogglebox stars also hold down full time jobs outside of their roles on screen.
Some memorable participants include Ellie Warner, who works as a hairdresser in Leeds, while her sister Izzi swapped her role as a nail technician to become a Mortgage Broker just last year.
Tom Malone is another memorable contributor who also works as a lorry driver when not on the show, while his wife Julie also works as a receptionist.
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