Gogglebox secrets from stars’ tasty takeaway perks to the ‘secret control rooms’ set up in families’ homes

GOGGLEBOX is now in its sixteenth series and we've gotten to know the stars of the show – and their living rooms – pretty well by this point.

But there's a lot you might not know that goes on behind the scenes of the hit Channel 4 series – from film crews hiding out of shot to the show's surprising recruitment process.

Rachel Warwick recently took to TikTok to deliver a string of revelations about her experience filming on ITV's The Chase.

She gave up the goods about how she got on the show, when she found out who she'd be competing against, and a whole host of other nuggets about what you don't see on screen.

And it turns out Gogglebox also has a lot going on behind the scenes that makes the deceptively simple show the joy it is.

Here are some of the best Gogglebox secrets from families' pay to the truth about seemingly scripted moments.

Free takeaways and £1,500-a-month

Getting to star in one of the biggest TV shows in the country isn't as glamorous as you might think.

The best perk stars reportedly get throughout filming is free takeaways while watching the shows, which are a mixture of live broadcasts and recorded programmes.

And that food has to keep contributors going for two six-hour shifts a week which each family is required to take part in.

The pay for going on the programme isn't life-changing either, with each household handed £1,500 a month.

It's up to the families to decide how the fee is split between them.

Breathless production schedule

Part of Gogglebox's appeal is that the people on the programme are talking about TV that took place in the last week.

And in order to do that, the whole production has to rattle along at a rollocking pace to get ready for broadcast in time.

They start filming with the households on Friday before it's time to start cutting together all the best bits the following Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Thursday, Craig Cash's voiceover is added and the final cut is sent to Channel 4.

Makeshift control rooms

While it might look like a pared down production with a single camera stuck in each family's living room, there's actually a bit more to it.

There are two remote-controlled cameras called "hot heads", one filming wide shots and the other capturing close-ups.

And while it might look like it's just the family alone in their home, there's actually a whole host of people in another room controlling the shoot.

"We rig a mini gallery, which is set up in a kitchen or bedroom," producer Tania Alexander told Vice.

"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.”

For Lee and Jenny's static caravan, the temporary control room is set up in a van outside.

This is the system they temporarily used for every house in order to keep filming going throughout the pandemic to avoid breaking social distancing rules.

Channel 4 bosses even revealed that production crews have their own loos outside so there's no need to enter the house.

Talent spotting at bridge club

Another of the programme's quirks is the way in which its stars are cast.

Rather than applying to go on the show, the families were scouted, and some of them even initially said they didn't want to do it.

Fan favourites Leon and June Bernicoff were approached at their local bridge club by "two rather attractive, blonde assistant producers".

Leon said: "Whatever you're selling, I'll buy it!" But June took a lot more talking round from showrunners.

Leon passed away in 2017 and June died after a short illness unrelated to the coronavirus earlier this year – they were married for 63 years.

But June wasn't the only reluctant star.

They promised not to film me in my underpants.

The Malones also initially told producers they didn't want to take part, citing their pet dogs as a potential problem.

“Tom Senior said no,” Julie told the Manchester Evening News.

“We explained about the rottweilers and the staffie but they still wanted us. They came over and had a chat, and took a video of us chatting.

"Three weeks later someone rang and said we like you, and Tom changed his mind.”

"And they promised not to film me in my underpants,” Tom also told the paper.

Rule-breakers booted off the show

Although Gogglebox isn't scripted, there are rules the cast have to follow.

And breaking the rules has led to stars being booted off the show in the past.

The Michaels were one of the first families on the series when it debuted in 2013.

But they had to leave Gogglebox in December 2014 because dad Andrew Michael stood as a Ukip candidate in the 2015 General Election.

A spokesperson clarified at the time that any cast member who became a candidate for a political party couldn't take part in the show.

After Andrew attracted just 13.3 per cent of the vote in Hastings and Rye, his Westminster ambitions went begging and the family returned to Gogglebox in September 2015.

And the Gilbey family, who quickly became one of the show's most popular households when they first appeared in series two, also fell foul of the rules.

They were all kicked off the show when son George Gilbey entered the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2014.

He finished fourth on Big Brother and the Gilbeys returned to Gogglebox in 2016.

It's not just rival TV shows that want a piece of Gogglebox's success.

Other countries have too, creating their own versions of the series.

In the US and Canada, their versions are called The People's Couch, with a celeb version launching earlier this year called Celebrity Watch Party.

Norway's version is simply called Sofa, whereas the Spanish show is Aquí mando yo which literally translates to "I rule here".

The Finnish programme is slightly derogatory in naming itself "Couch potatoes".

But perhaps even stranger is the Slovenian show's title: "God forbid the TV dies".

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