Behind the Gogglebox

LifestyleChannel_GoggleBox_AngieYvie_76399RT_FXTL_NickWilson2015_EMAIL

Only a show such as Gogglebox could turn ordinary viewers into TV talent, propelling them from their couches to our television screens.

Since the Foxtel / TEN series premiered in February it has become a cult hit, with its armchair critics saying what we’re all thinking about everything from Family Feud to Embarrassing Bodies.

“People in the street ask us if we’re acting,” says Sydney resident, Yvie. “But no, that shit really comes out of our mouths! I’m sorry to say nobody is writing that crap for us.

“That’s the show. It’s just normal people saying the shit they think of immediately!”

Housemates Yvie (pictured, right) and Angie (left), seen weekly with their many dogs, were cast after a friend who works as an editor put them forward on a video. Yvie was cynical the show would work.

“When I heard the concept it sounded stupid: people watching us watching TV,” she continues. “But I’ve had so many people say to me they thought it would be stupid and then I watched it. I was exactly the same. I watched the UK one on YouTube, just a few clips of the gay boys and the posh couple. I thought it was brilliant.”

But producer David McDonald convinced her the Shine series would aim to be authentic and unfiltered.

“He said it would be about heart, emotion, ‘We’re not here to make you look stupid.’ That was my big fear. It took me 2 episodes of watching it to trust him. I had been holding back wondering ‘Are they going to show me farting? Picking my nose? Just stupid things like yelling at the dogs.’ But he said, ‘It’s not what my show is about.’

“Now I can relax knowing they’re not going to paint me bad.

“We say the crap we say and they edit together as best they can. It looks good so I’m really happy.

“They’ve shown me and Angie and our dogs exactly as we are.”

Yvie has previously worked on the other side of the camera, supporting Seven Publicity in Melbourne back in 2008, but she met Angie working with a friend in promotions in a shopping centre.

“I was Mrs. Claus and she was my elf, and we did a dreadful promo gig at Westfield, Miranda,” she recalls.

“We were supposed to be handing out flyers, but I had a microphone. The people in the shopping centre didn’t pay any attention so I just started singing shit on the microphone. Angie and (friend) Tony were the only people listening to what I was saying.”

Now she is praised for giving her frank opinions. It’s the best of all possible worlds.

“It’s the easiest gig in the world. I’ve never been so happy to have my opinions broadcast on TV with my dogs in my own living room!”

Production teams visit the home three nights a week to show them back to back content in extended viewing sessions. There are two cameras in their living room with a small crew buried away in a bedroom. Otherwise the pair are left alone to give their own reactions.

“We are on our own and we’re not directed in any way. Sometimes they tell us to get it back on track because we just waffle on and on and go on rants.”

Yvie and Angie sometimes react to content that contrasts with the other Gogglebox families, whether it’s The Big Bang Theory or the movie Mamma Mia.

“Everyone was loving this shitty movie and I was like, ‘This is the worst piece of crap I’ve ever seen!’ Or when everyone was so excited when that guy won Million Dollar Minute and we were like ‘Whatever! People win this all the time.’

“They said we don’t have to be funny all the time. It’s ok to be upset. We didn’t know how much we were obliged to do. So if you’re in a bad mood, that’s ok.

“But when Angie and I are together it just happens that there is a lot more ‘funny’ than anything else.

“Angie and I perform for each others and we always have. I read on social media people saying ‘These girls are auditioning for something.’ But we laughed thinking, ‘Jeez this is nothing.’”

Judging by audience reactions, Gogglebox has also managed to create new awareness of TV titles, not all of it on Foxtel or TEN. Yvie says there hasn’t been any evident bias towards the two broadcasters sharing the show.

“I thought it would, but unless I’m completely mistaken it doesn’t feel like it has. Kardashians and Real Housewives are Foxtel, but we watched Cyberbully, Insight, Four Corners, The Big Bang Theory. I think the movies lean towards TEN, ELEVEN or ONE, but I don’t think the shows are leaning towards anyone.

“They make us watch Better Homes a lot, which is a Seven show. And The Block, which was another one we absolutely hated.”

Despite plenty of red wine, alcohol is not -strictly speaking- encouraged whilst viewing, but it is ‘supported’ especially for breaks during content sessions. Yvie’s two pomeranians are also part of the shoot, along with two other dogs that are part of their foster home for dogs.

But a third housemate, Tom, who is special needs, is not part of the filming. In hindsight, Yvie agrees it was the right decision, especially with the real world of social media.

“It could have gone bad and I think hey made a really good choice because if we ever go to a second season and they wanted Tom in they would be totally prepared because the crew all know him now,” she says.

“But I think they definitely made the right decision in not including him because it would have been quite difficult. Sometimes the shoots are long and he wouldn’t sit through that.”

Despite this, 99% of the online comments have been positive, she says. In public, it’s universally supportive, especially with women in their 40s and 50s.

“They hold our hands and say ‘I love you girls. You make me laugh so much and you remind me of me when I’m having a wine. I’d love to come and have a wine with you girls.’ That’s what we get the most of.

“And the gay boys love us,” she insists.

“There were these boys at the shopping centre waiting for us at the bottom of the travelator who said, ‘You girls make me laugh!’

“Only gay men and women know how fabulous we are. Straight men don’t get us at all.”

But the production is cautiously guarding its cast from becoming “stars” and doesn’t want them to interact with other cast members.

“It’s not encouraged,” she explains.

“But we definitely talk on Twitter. Even though it’s not rivalry, they want us to maintain (our lives) as normal as possible, so there are very few interviews. They don’t want us to really know that side of the industry.”

That also means no red carpets, in order to keep the cast grounded.

“We’re not even allowed to go to the Logies. I’m going to protest!” she laughs.

“The English series won a BAFTA and they didn’t get to go. They watched it and that’s how they found out they won.”

To her knowledge there are also no plans to include the cast in a Logie segment, making wry comments about the nominees. Seriously?

“That would be good. Or really bad. You know how the Logies can get it so wrong, sometimes! You’ll have to talk to them.

“We would love there to be. We’d love to have a sunny holiday somewhere and do a season 2. But it’s not up to us.”

Something tells me there’s nothing to worry about on that front.

Gogglebox finale airs 9:30pm Wednesday on LifeStyle and is repeated 8:30pm Thursday on TEN.

31 Comments:

  1. I’ve actually watched every episode on LifeStyle, a channel I would normally never touch. But Foxtel have been running a competition during the show: “Film yourself reacting to this clip and you could win a trip to LA” but unfortunately my reaction to every clip they’ve played in the promotion has been “I wouldn’t watch this shit if you paid me!” – Which is a pity because they could be showing us such good clips!

  2. I want season 2 now! I wish the replays were available on tenplay for longer than a day though. I thought I would be able to go back later and binge but alas. I will be catching the last episode with keen interest though!
    I was at a friends house and we werent sure what to watch, and someone mentioned gogglebox, and I was like “um, yes!!!” so we all ended up watching and it was so much fun to watch! It’s a show that you want to be on, but it’s something that’s just purely organic and relatable and flipping hilarious. Sah good!

  3. Love this show and I tell people as a lot still haven’t watched it as they assume it will be crap.

    10 have had some really good shows this year. Kinda back to the old days of channel 10 around the early 2000s with Big Brother, Australian Idol etc.

  4. I never bother commenting on something I dislike, but because I love Gogglebox I need to vent that I cannot stand these two. I love all the others on the show, except the two young guys who are also putting it on, but not as bad as these girls. They need to be told again by producers to stop acting, stop doing little improv ‘(un)funny’ bits and just shut up and watch the TV and react naturally. I also wish they’d stop doing the current trend of commenting on race issues on TV and stop commenting about the fact there ‘are only white people there’, which they’ve said a few times. I want them gone. They aren’t genuine, they stick out like a sore thumb because of it and are ruining the show.

  5. Gogglebox is a little gem. I have been a fan of the UK version for a while and was dubious about the Australian version but it’s on a par, if not superior. The editing really adds to the laughs ie last week when Di was commenting about a cruise only appealing to a bogan slob and next minute Anastasia raving about cruises.
    Mick & Di, Wayne & Tom, Angie & Yvie, Anastasia & Faye, Symon & Adam are all fabulous. Culling the rest would actually add to the show, providing more time for the others comments and adding extra shows.
    Interesting Yvie said they’re shown a lot of Better Homes. There hasn’t been a single episode featuring Better Homes.

    • Yes loved that edit from Di to Anastasia about the cruise. Hilarious!

      I think all participants bring something good to the show, even the less outrageous and less drunk ones. Loving the mum and dad with the two teenage daughters, some of the comments from the dad are hilarious ( watching Gordon Ramsey – he said to one of his daughters being a chef would suit her because it’s just food and swearing. lol.) Though how that dad can sit and watch tv in a tie and shoes is bewildering.

      Also credit goes to the family with all the young kids, poor little kids do a very good job of sitting still and watching something they probably hate, I hope the kids are well compensated.

      • Also, It’s cute how so many of them watch tv with their dogs, but why no cats? I’d like to see a few stuck up cats passing judgment.lol.

  6. I love it. I thought it would be crap but it’s great fun. It’s a show you don’t have to commit to so that is good also. Yvie and the old lady crack me up.

  7. I watched the first episode with my housemate who said he’ll never watch that crap again. Now he laughs out loud on every episode. It’s a good little show.

  8. harrypotter1994

    Found this article really interesting thanks David.

    First 2 eps were like what the hell is this show? but it has improved considerably – there is always laugh out loud moments every week.

    One of my faves in 2015

  9. I love Angie. She is absolutely stunning. Her personality is marvellous too. Hope she and the show come back for season two. If they air a second season later this year I would definitely watch

  10. They make us watch Better Homes and The Block a lot.Not exactly what they love to watch then.Notice a lot of movies popping up as well on the show can’t see how they were popular choices.Now it makes sense in a way.Great show though.If i was involved i certainly wouldn’t be watching stuff i don’t watch

  11. I only watched the first episode and I just could not take to it.

    I wonder if they will be made to watch a show called Gogglebox!!! I’d like to see that. LOL

  12. Really love this show – was hooked from the first ep.
    Yvie and Ange are good value because they tell it like it is.
    Some of their comments are hilarious.
    All the other Googlebox participants are also really entertaining, especially the two Greek ladies with their “Malaka this and Malaka that”, and the gay guys.

    Really hope it returns back again for a second season later in the year.

  13. I enjoyed the show very much and Yive and Angie are among my faves.

    What are the chances on Season 2? The Foxtel rattings are amazing (#2 entertainment show for the week behind Selling Houses Au which airs before Googlebox) but the 10 rattings have been less then stella.

  14. jezza the first original one

    “Only gay men and women know how fabulous we are. Straight men don’t get us at all.”

    I disagree with this comment, I get you and think you’re naturally funny and Angie is well err..y’know easy on the eye (for me anyway) and the dogs are great. Yep you both have much broader appeal than you think…..

  15. how do they film it? are all the shows on a dvd and they watch all in one night? do they watch it live?
    thats the kinda stuff id like to know
    the couple of eps i watched i did find very bias towards foxtel and ten shows. havent watched the whole series tho so cant really comment on all of it

  16. bettestreep2008

    I recall posting a comment here predicting this would be a huge failure – and then I watched an episode – laughed my head off and have watched it ever since.

    Its the sort of show you can watch – while having a wine or two and giving your brain a rest.

    Loved the comments about our current government. Never thought those two posh antique dealers would have used the F word about Abbort – but they did.

    Hilarious.

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