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Sarah Millican: Gogglebox is TV gold

"Like Big Brother used to be before it became a goldfish bowl full of tap-dancing children desperate for the love of a nation" logo
Published: Wednesday, 13th November 2013 at 2:54 pm

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I love watching telly. I write this column about it and have made three TV series about it, too. The telly’s almost always on. It’s how I wind down after a show. It’s how I relax on a rare night off. It educates me, entertains me and makes a hotel room feel a lot more cosy. One I was in the other day had a speaker in the shower so I could listen to This Morning’s Phil and Holly while hosing myself down. I also have a canny knack of positioning doors and mirrors so I can see the telly from the bath/toilet. I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels.


One thing I love and miss when I’m on the road is company when sitting in front of the box. I love watching telly with my fella. We currently have an episode of The Walking Dead, one of our favourite shows, waiting for us on the recordy box. That’s one of the shows that puts us literally on the edge of our seats. We watched it in the daylight the other day and it wasn’t the same. I love sharing the jumps together.

We do watch each other’s programmes sometimes, but often we keep things to watch when we’re alone. I watched the episode of Glee dedicated to the memory of Cory Monteith on my own as I knew I was going to wail from start to finish, and I did. I’m sure it’s the same reason my fella kept back the last series of Game of Thrones. Blub.

I made my friend (I’m quite the pusher) watch the Emma Thompson film of Sense and Sensibility the last time it was on the telly. She’d never seen it, so I refused to let her leave my house till it was over. Predictably, she loved it. How could you not? I filmed her reaction – with her knowledge, I’m not a creep – to the Elinor/ Edward scene at the end so I could show her later. Shock, joy and a few tears. Wonderful stuff.

Which is why I love Gogglebox. Channel 4 have struck gold with the cast and the idea. It’s human life. Like Big Brother used to be before it became a goldfish bowl full of tap-dancing children desperate for the love of a nation. There’s very little makes me happier on the telly at the moment than watching how a diverse group of people react to current television programmes. DVDs of this should go in those time capsules they do on Blue Peter, alongside (I was going to name some item of clothing that is currently fashionable, but have realised I don’t know any)... a onesie?

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My highlights so far include: Sandy and Sandra and the whip; Stephen and Chris discussing Britney; the son of the Michael family overhearing his parents’ views on foreplay; the posh man, Dom, pouring champagne into a glass held on his wife’s head; and the wonderful insight into the world of Leon and June.

It’s laugh-out-loud funny, but the emotions change depending on what people are watching. How amazing that what appears to be fluff has shown how a programme like Coronation Street has made families up and down the country discuss cancer and the “right to die”. How real and moving to glimpse others doing what we are also doing ourselves.



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