As Celebrity Gogglebox Returns, How The Show Became Vital Lockdown Television

The Goggleboxers have sustained us, calmed us and made us feel that we are in it together.


by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

There hasn't been a lot of catharsis available during the last 10 weeks, has there? Confined to our homes by a vicious virus, there’s been irony in millions finding weekly relief by sitting at home, watching others in their homes, on Gogglebox.

Watching the Siddiquis, Malones and Sandifords pick apart Boris Johnson’s now infamous Sunday night ‘Stay alert’ address felt like a religious experience, where we laughed and shouted ‘YES!’ It feels so good, after news reports have left us screaming in fury or flat with grief, to be agreed with on a national stage. Log on to social media and everyone is, for once, agreeing with each other – it’s unprecedented.

It’s no surprise, then, that Gogglebox has become event television since lockdown. Executive producer Tania Alexander understood the importance of keeping the show going where soaps and dramas have fallen. Crew clothed in PPE entered the cast’s homes for two hours while they were out and rigged up cameras that have remained in place for 10 weeks to prevent contact. Crew and editors of the show have had to set up similarly complicated arrangements in edit vans and their homes, with narrator Craig Cash swapping a studio for his coat cupboard to record voiceovers.

‘People tell me the show has made them feel normal during abnormal times and when so much in our lives has changed,’ says Tania. ‘The cast offer a sense of familiarity and the opportunity to laugh out loud at the events we’ve all lived through, however absurd or harrowing. They manage to say the things we’re all thinking and, somehow, that makes us all then feel OK. I really can’t thank them enough for that.’

While the series might have officially ended, there’s now a celebrity run to fill the Gogglebox-shaped hole in our screens. Tania says they will be filmed in exactly the same way, but are up for the disruption because they have nothing but ‘joyful enthusiasm for joining the gang’.

One of those returning for the second celebrity series is Denise Van Outen, who says, ‘The fact that there’s no camera crew in the room probably makes it easier.’ Others joining or returning include Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash, Zoe Ball and son Woody, Laura Whitmore and Iain Sterling, and Nick Grimshaw and niece Liv. Denise’s advice for them? Forget the filter. ‘This is why the show’s so good, because it’s real. I’d say just enjoy it and, if you’ve got a thought in your head, say it.’

On a basic level too, it’s a place for much-needed TV recommendations – how many of us have caught up on a series after seeing it on Gogglebox? And the importance of just enjoying some telly chat – now we’re starved of co-workers and friends – shouldn’t be underestimated.

The Goggleboxers feel what we’re feeling – from complaints about housework to poorly judged internet shopping orders to Lee and Jenny’s sweet exchange about how she’ll miss him when she vacates his caravan. Thanks to Covid-19 halting all production, no other show (aside from the news) is really reflecting the lives we’re living right now.

From front rooms like ours, the Goggleboxers have sustained us, calmed us and made us feel for an hour a week that we are in it together. Now let’s see how the celebrities do...

Celebrity Gogglebox starts on Friday 5 June, 9pm, Channel 4.

READ MORE: The Best Things Coming To Netflix In June


What To Watch on Netflix June 2020 - Grazia

Netflix June 20201 of 14

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

One word: iconic. Follow Hollywood's First Family in their first two seasons as we go all the way back to 2007 when Kylie was 10 and Kendall was 12. 1 June

Netflix June 20202 of 14

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

The first two seasons of the iconic Real Housewives of Beverley Hills (and the first two seasons of the Real Housewives of Atlanta) are coming to Netflix this June. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances by Gigi and Bella Hadid before they were household names. 1 June

Netflix June 20203 of 14

Queer Eye, series 5

The Fab Five are back! The fifth series sees the boys travel to Philadelphia to help transform the lives of 10 (yes, 10!) different people, who they call 'heroes.' This is just what we need to get through the rest of lockdown. 5 June

Netflix June 20204 of 14

Lenox Hill

Fans of One Born Every Minute and 24 Hours in A&E will love this docu-series following four doctors (two brain surgeons, an emergency room physician and a Chief Resident OBGYN ) at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital as they balance their personal lives and their dedication to their patients. 10 June

Netflix June 20205 of 14

The Order

After watching Harlen Coben's The Stranger and Safe, now try his latest series, The Woods. Set in two different time spans, 1994 and 2019, this drama tells the story of a Warsaw prosecutor who is still grieving the loss of his sister who went missing at summer camp 25 years ago. Now, as new evidence is brought to life, there is hope that his sister could still be alive. 12 June

Netflix June 20206 of 14


Starring Grazia-favourite Toni Collette, this horror film sees the Graham family haunted (literally) by their ancestry following the death of their matriarch. 15 June

Netflix June 20207 of 14

The Politician, series 2

In the second series of Ryan Murphy's political drama, Payton (Ben Platt) fights to unseat Dede Standish (Judith Light) in the New York State Senate race, but actions by his mother Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow) threaten to upstage him. 19 June

Netflix June 20208 of 14

Father Soldier Son

Following the family of Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, this documentary shows the effect military life can have on a family over a 10 year period. 17 July.

Netflix June 20209 of 14

The Sinner, series 3

Fans of the mysterious drama The Sinner will be pleased to see that Detective Harry Ambrose returns to trying to figure out why normal people commit heinous crimes. This series begins with a car crash that leaves only one survivor, but was it really an accident? 19 June

Netflix June 202010 of 14

Athlete A

Follow the reporters from The Indianapolis Star, who exposed Dr. Larry Nassar's history of sexual abuse in the US, in this documentary about the abuse of young women on the USA Gymnastic's team. June 24

Netflix June 202011 of 14

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

See Cher, Meryl Streep and Lily James starin this sequel to everyone's favourite ABBA sing-a-long. 26 June

Netflix June 202012 of 14

Dolly Parton: Here I Am

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about superstar Dolly Parton in this documentary celebrating her extraordinary life, career and music. TBD

Netflix June 202013 of 14

Dream Girls

Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson sing their way to the top in this incredible film with an even more incredible wardrobe. TBD

Netflix June 202014 of 14

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Travel across the globe with chef Anthony Bourdain as he uncovers little-known areas of the world and celebrates diverse cultures by exploring food and dining rituals. TBD

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