Gogglebox is coming, but what is it all about?

Jan 29, 2015

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Gogglebox Australia - Teaser 0:20

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Based on the UK smash hit, Gogglebox is an observational series that captures the reactions of ordinary Australians as they watch the nightly news, argue over politics, cheer their favourite sporting teams and digest current affairs and documentaries.

  • news.com.au
  • 19 Jan 2015
  • Entertainment/TV
Gogglebox Australia is set to premiere on Foxtel's LifeStyle channel and Ten.

Gogglebox Australia is set to premiere on Foxtel's LifeStyle channel and Ten. Source: Channel 10

OUR televisions keep reminding us that Gogglebox is coming, but plenty of us are still scratching our heads as to what the heck a goggle box even is.

Given that we’re all rapidly approaching reality TV fatigue, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a show claiming to have “reinvented reality TV” wasn’t worth your time.

But it’s a show that has been a massive success in the UK since its debut in 2013, with millions tuning in each night, and it even won a BAFTA in 2014. Now Foxtel and Network Ten have combined to bring it to screens Down Under.

So what’s this Gogglebox business all about?

The Aussie version will feature 10 households rigged with cameras that will capture the reactions of family members, flatmates, kids and couples while they watch the box — everything from current affairs, docos, cooking programs, sport, the works.

So it’s a show about people watching other people on TV ... while we, er, watch them.

Sound about as intriguing as watching paint dry? A colleague in the news.com.au office who’s big on the British version promises me it’s “more hilarious than you can even imagine” and I’m told it’s oddly compelling (and a little bit disturbing) watching average punters say the first thing that pops into their head from the comfort of their own home.

Gogglebox is coming, but what the heck is it?

Introducing Angie and Yvie, from Stanmore, NSW. Picture: Foxtel/Ten/Nick Wilson Source: Channel 10

“It’s such a simple idea, it’s the kind of show that shouldn’t work but it does,” executive producer David McDonald tells news.com.au. “There are no airs and graces, but it works.”

Two cameras are fitted into each living room and filming commences for four hours a night. Producers then turn the content around weekly to deliver a wrap-up of what we’ve all been watching at home, from the perspective of the willing guinea pigs.

“What’s really interesting is the reality of some of the stuff they say. You honestly couldn’t script it,” McDonald adds.

“It’s one of those concepts that, even when you do know what it is, you go ‘what?’ It’s not till you actually see it that it becomes clear very quickly that it’s very funny and moving, as well as thought provoking.”

The Delpechitra Family, from Fairfield, NSW, have signed on. Picture: Nick Wilson

The Delpechitra Family, from Fairfield, NSW, have signed on. Picture: Foxtel/Ten/Nick Wilson Source: Channel 10

Of course, it will depend on the personalities chosen to appear on the local version, but the lure of the British program is the mixed bag of characters, many of whom have now gone on to become household names in the UK.

“It was just about the hardest cast on TV to pick because it isn’t anchored by any particular talent,” McDonald explained, adding that their extensive casting team actually roamed the streets to find personalities. “They would go to shopping centres and the beach and various clubs — basically everywhere and would just approach people and try to explain what the show actually is.”

Say hello to the Dalton Family, from Toorak, VIC. Picture: Gina Milica

Say hello to the Dalton Family, from Toorak, VIC. Picture: Foxtel/Ten/Gina Milica Source: Channel 10

McDonald said that the most common response from those they approached was, “But why would you want to put us on television?”

“We were just looking for interesting people who love their TV, who are opinionated, and hopefully funny to give us a broad spectrum ... a cross spectrum of average Aussies.”

Introducing Tom and Wayne, from Point Cook, VIC. Picture: Martin Philbey

Introducing Tom and Wayne, from Point Cook, VIC. Picture:Foxtel/Ten/Martin Philbey Source: Channel 10

Sceptical viewers, I hear you - just because it resonates with our British counterparts does NOT necessarily mean it will hit the right notes with Aussie viewers, and it’s certainly a risky move by Ten. But by the looks of the first sneak peek, Shine Australia — responsible for The Bachelor, The Voice and The Biggest Loser, among others — has managed to track down some real gems.

Gogglebox, you’ve certainly got our attention. Here’s what Aussie viewers are saying on social media about Foxtel and Ten’s latest gamble.

Oh DEAR!! Australia doing it's own version of the UK show #gogglebox ...cringeeeeee

— CH (@SpiffingFrocks) January 18, 2015

Of all the brilliant British shows that we could copy, Australia has to go and make versions of #Gogglebox and #ImACelebrity

— Emma (@severalmiles) January 15, 2015

Hope people watch Gogglebox in Australia... It's an absolute pisser in the UK!! #getaroundit

— Matthew Bremner (@mattbremner12) January 12, 2015

Got introduced to #gogglebox tonight by @ademcshane. Done properly in Australia in 2015, it could actually be good.

— Jason Murray (@JM77) December 30, 2014

Australia doesn't know what it's in for. The politically correct show that's not politically correct! Coming to Oz TV soon. #Gogglebox

— John M Knox (@johnmknox) January 13, 2015

Am I wrong to be excited by #Gogglebox Australia?

— Bobby (@goodge2) January 13, 2015

Gogglebox Australia will premiere on The LifeStyle Channel on Wednesday, February 11 at 9.30pm, and on Channel 10 on Thursday, February 12 at 9pm.

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