Every so often, along comes a television series that simply defies logic. Realizing that I’m a day late and a dollar short when it comes to hearing about this series, I am rapidly becoming a huge fan of the Channel 4 ‘documentary’ series, Gogglebox. I used to religiously watch The Royle Family because I knew, at some point, Jim Royle (Ricky Tomlinson) was going to get up out of that chair and I didn’t want to blink and miss it. If you thought the Manchester-set series centered around a family fixated on television was a show about nothing, Gogglebox is The Royle Family on steroids.
Gogglebox is a British observational documentary that has aired on Channel 4 since March 2013. The show features recurring couples, families and friends from around Britain sitting in their telly-centric living rooms watching weekly British television shows. The show won a BAFTA award in 2014 and a National Television Award in 2015.
The show is filmed in the viewers homes by two small HD remote-control cameras known as “hot heads” operated by a small team elsewhere in the home that have set up a temporary production control room; the team consisted of a producer/director, gallery operator, assistant, audio engineer, researcher (for live logging) and a runner.
Rapidly becoming the UK’s favorite armchair critics, each family share their opinions on what they have been watching during the week. In the most recent episode that just aired on Channel 4, the families “review” Experimental, Patagonia: Earth’s Secret Paradise, DIY SOS, River, Strictly Come Dancing, Bridget Jones’s Diary and the week’s news. You have to see them watch Daniel O’Donnell doing his “best” John Travolta as Danny Zuko imitation in Grease on Strictly Come Dancing. The MST3K-style family commentary is priceless.
Narrated by The Royle Family co-creator/writer, Caroline Aherne, Gogglebox is great flat out brilliant telly that, while it’s about nothing, I can’t turn away from.