The Gogglebox Phenomenon

Gogglebox has been back on our screens for a few weeks now, and with the start of the show’s sixth season, The Indiependent thought it fitting to explore what exactly it is that makes the Channel 4 show so enjoyable and interesting to watch.

For those unfamiliar with the format, watching Gogglebox essentially means sitting and watching other families, couples and friends watching different TV programmes, for an hour. However, watching other people watch TV is a lot more fun than it sounds. Here’s why…

  1. Human beings are nosy creatures

imageI’m sure you’ve caught yourself walking along the street in the evening, peeping into the front room of anyone who has forgotten to draw the curtains – I know I have! Whether you judge what they’ve got on telly, what they’re wearing, or whether or not their settee matches their wallpaper, we’ve all had a good old nosy into a total stranger’s front room.

Gogglebox makes it socially acceptable to invade a stranger’s living room for the evening – the fact there are so many different combinations of people on the show gives us an opportunity to see how people different from ourselves live and see the world. Whether it’s Jenny and Lee in a caravan in East Yorkshire, or Steph and Dom’s front room in Kent (which looks a lot like it’s been lifted right out of Cluedo), it’s eye opening to observe people in their “natural habitat”. It’s a tried and tested format – after all, Big Brother has been going on for years now, and that’s nothing more than glorified people watching.

  1. Phew, I’m glad it’s not just me that thinks that…


Watching other people watch telly in the comfort of their living room means they risk saying things on the spur of the moment which they might not say otherwise. Although the Gogglebox regulars are fully aware of the camera presence as they watch telly, and the show is edited, every now and again a controversial opinion gets aired and the viewer may be able to take some respite in knowing they’re not the only one who thinks that.

It might just be something silly that you find yourself laughing along with and saying “that’s soooo true”, but regardless of the triviality, it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone. The Moffatts in particular are no stranger to saying what they think – “I don’t give a monkeys who killed Lucy Beale!” – as are gay friends Stephen and Chris.

  1. It can make you feel better about your own life

GoggleboxWhether you realise that you don’t drink anywhere near as much alcohol as some of the stars of the show, or your snacking habits are put to shame by the Tappers, in London, the show can be useful in making you realise that your vices fall somewhere on a spectrum, and that maybe you can afford to have one more glass of red before bed.

  1. It forces you to confront stereotypes

rev-kate_2993788bWhilst gay friends, Chris and Stephen in Brighton are as flamboyant as could possibly be – with fake tan and garish clothing a staple in their slot on the program – some of the cast do force you to reconsider your perceptions of certain types of people. For instance, Reverend Kate’s appearance on the program makes viewers realise that individuals who lead religious lives have normal habits too. In particular, her comment to her husband, Graham, about marrying someone else if he died was particularly eye opening – it goes to show that you can’t tar everyone with the “one rule fits all” brush.  Furthermore, Liverpuddlian pensioner June proved that not all old people are racist in the new season’s first episode, airing her very liberal attitude to the current refugee crisis as the stars watched the news.

So there you have it – four reasons which aim to make sense of why Gogglebox is so popular with us Brits. If you weren’t convinced before that watching other people watch TV could be entertaining, then maybe this Friday you’ll give it a chance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s