Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

What on earth is Gog­gle­box? It might sound a stupid idea for a TV show — even ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer David McDon­ald ad­mits he made a face and went “What???” when it was first ex­plained — but film­ing or­di­nary peo­ple watch­ing TV has been a big suc­cess in Bri­tain. The UK ver­sion is of­ten hi­lar­i­ous and touch­ing, as peo­ple re­act with laugh­ter and jokes, scorn or tears. The best bit is see­ing peo­ple from very dif­fer­ent walks of life shar­ing the same re­ac­tion, such as winc­ing in uni­son at an off key singer on The X-Fac­tor and gasp­ing in shock when the con­tes­tant some­how gets through to the next round.

But surely the “or­di­nary view­ers” are just wannabes af­ter 15 min­utes of fame? The mak­ers tried to find “real peo­ple” for the show. Coun­cil worker Keith and his re­tired wife Lee (above) were dis­cov­ered hav­ing an ar­gu­ment in a shop­ping cen­tre food court. Phys­io­ther­apy stu­dents Adam and Sy­mon were found hav­ing a beer in a Mel­bourne pub.

How does it work? Film­ing be­gan last Wed­nes­day for tonight’s de­but episode. Two cam­eras are set up in each living room, with a pro­ducer in a “con­trol room” (usu­ally a bed­room) log­ging the in­ter­est­ing bits. House­holds watch their favourite shows but are also given things to watch.

Surely they’ll just play it up for the cam­eras? Pos­si­bly. “What I know anec­do­tally is that within two to three min­utes they for­get the cam­eras are there and drop their guard,” McDon­ald says. “The stuff that comes out you couldn’t script and that’s what’s so en­gag­ing and re­veal­ing.”

What can we ex­pect? Depend­ing on the ma­te­rial they get, tonight’s episode is likely to touch on Gal­lipoli, MKR, Shark Tank, I’m a Celebrity and House of Han­cock: “Th­ese are the shows ev­ery­one is go­ing to be talk­ing about,” McDon­ald says. And, quite pos­si­bly, the fra­cas over who will be our PM.


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