Channel 4’s Gogglebox has responded to claims that some of its participants are flouting coronavirus guidelines, with a continuity announcer telling viewers on-air on Friday 1st May: “just in case you’re worried, they are all keeping to the guidelines of social distancing.”
Last week, Ofcom revealed that it had received 134 complaints about the public TV-watching series, particularly focused on how sisters Ellie and Izzi Warner had reunited on the show despite not living together (briefly, Ellie’s boyfriend Nat had replaced Izzi on the sofa).
— Sammy Price (@89Littlemiss) May 1, 2020
Generally speaking, the government guidelines to stop the spread of coronavirus prohibit social gatherings and discourage people from visiting their families, and many viewers have felt that the reunion of Ellie and Izzi flouted these provisions.
Fgs Ellie and Izzy mixing in one house is NOT following the guidelines of social distancing. It's really pissing me off. My son is putting his life at risk as a nurse in A&E day in & day out yet @Channel4 think they're above the bloody rules. ???????? #Gogglebox
— Sara (@Mabel_Mouse_) May 1, 2020
And despite the new comment from Channel 4 many viewers remained upset by the decision, which they felt was unfair given how many people watching at home were unable to rejoin their own families.
— LindaH246 ???? (@lindibea) May 1, 2020
However, given how other TV series – including ITV shows like This Morning and Good Morning Britain – have continued filming by observing social distancing in the studio, it may be that Channel 4 decided to apply those guidelines to Gogglebox’s production instead.
— Sarah Peto (@SarahPeto1) May 1, 2020
Previously, the Gogglebox team revealed that they had rigged cameras in the participants’ homes to limit interaction with crew members, while also benching cast who were in the at-risk categories for coronavirus (as well as many who don’t live together).
In the latest episode the cast watched programmes including Killing Eve and Beat The Chasers, while also (slightly ironically) reacting to news coverage of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gogglebox airs on Channel 4 on Fridays at 9:00pm