Remember that time it took you and your entire extended family four hours to assemble a lamp? Or when your grandma tried to use her telephone to turn on her TV? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Well, in ITV’s Big Box Little Box, we watch other families struggle to use new gadgets – and it’s surprisingly entertaining.
It’s not just the ridiculous gizmos that make you laugh – bluetooth gloves, pop-up saunas, self-heating food – it’s the people trying them. They’re as watchable as the families on Gogglebox, and their honest reactions to the often pointless gadgets are hilarious.
So here’s the lowdown on the families who’ll be unwrapping those boxes…
The Newark Lads
Tom, 25, Lewis, 23, Luke, 24, Alex, 23, met at the call centre where they all once worked, and now they share a terraced house in Nottingham. Alex and Luke are both working to be personal trainers and spend a lot of time in the gym. Luke is the ‘Dad’ of the house and calls the shots in terms of bills and rent, whilst Tom acts as mother hen. Lewis is happier to go with the flow and Alex, the youngest, still takes his washing to his gran’s. So when the boys get to try out an electric car in the first episode, they just shove a basket of dirty laundry into the back and off they go to visit grandma…
Jane, 78, and Ford, 75, give hilarious onest reviews of the show’s gizmos. They’ve been married for 52 years and live in a house they designed themselves on a Suffolk farm. They spend lots of time cycling, travelling and seeing their grandchildren. In the first episode they grapple with some Bluetooth gloves, which they initially reckon could be the perfect way to chat to their grandchildren when working outdoors on the farm. Cue lots of laughing from Jane as she simply can’t figure out how the gloves work. “I think we’ll call it a day,” says Ford. “The pub’s open now so that’s a good excuse.”
The Chances, Enfield
Jamaican born Neville, 60, is dad to five girls, with an 11-year-old granddaughter further strengthening the female contingent. Neville thinks he’s really young and cool, but the girls sometimes complain he’s an embarrassing dad. The Chance family are pretty outspoken, but Neville’s always on hand to calm things down when the girls get into a ‘debate’ (argument). The girls are Leah, 27, Naomi, 33, Rachel, 31, Rebekah, 29, Abi, 26, and Antonia, 11.
The Titler Household
Barry is a full time window cleaner, part time radio host and lifelong drummer from Wigan. Barry has an, erm, tricky relationship with technology in that he doesn’t really like it. He longs for a time when people wrote to each other and sent things “strapped to the leg of a pigeon”. Barry’s favourite inventions of all time? The ballpoint pen and his beloved slow cooker.
Mobile phones have ruined us as a society, says Barry, and people were more reliable when you couldn’t just text someone to change plans. However, he’s recently had something of a technological epiphany by discovering YouTube. He now spends loads of time putting up video reviews of local pies. In fact, Barry was chosen for Big Box Little Box after the producer saw a viral video of him eating and reviewing a pie…
The Roach household
Joan lives is South East London and is obsessed with gadgets, especially anything time-saving like her hand-held hoover or Nutribullet. Joan spends a lot of time with fellow South East London friend Ingrid – they’ve been good friends for ten years and often help out at the local polling station. They are brilliantly honest when trying to get to grips with some of the stupider gadgets they’re asked to try out. Another fact you should definitely know? Joan makes an excellent cocktail called the Nasty Banana.
The Selant Family
The Selant family, who live in Ilford, Essex, have all the latest gadgets but mum Shabina, 41, isn’t very good with technology. As in, she’s really, really bad. She’s been been banned by her family from using iPhones because she keeps dropping them in the toilet, and she also has issues pausing the TV. On the other hand, the Selant kids are maybe a bit too tech-savvy. Dad Sid, 43, has a few reservations about the amount they look at screens and although he’s password protected all his devices, the kids always manage to crack the code. The children, who understand how the gadgets work far better than the adults, are Safwan, 16, Zayd, 11, and Rayhan, 8.
The Lloyd Family
This lot are from Bollington, Cheshire and they’re pretty into their gadgets. Dad Matt, 44, and Jacob, 15, play X-Box while musical Poppy, 10, uses Apple TV to transmit YouTube videos of new guitar demonstrations onto the TV. Nicola, 45, is into her automatic bin lid…
The Smarts are retired teachers who live in an old converted pub in Norfolk. John, 69, and Sue, 63, are writers. Sue is the ‘tech-head’ of the household, with lots of love for her bread maker, cordless vacuum cleaner, hair straighteners and the Aga. John finds the Aga useful too, using it to warm up his socks and shoes instead of cooking meals…