The familiar faces are back in our living rooms – but what do we really know abbout the stars of TV hit Gogglebox?
Gogglebox stars made their return to TV on Friday night and they didn’t disappoint as the start of the new Channel 4 series – the 16th – saw them all on fine form.
Viewers by now feel they know the cast well – save for some new arrivals, the Walkers and the Baggs, who made their small screen debut this week that is – but in reality they have only gleaned revealing snippets from their chat in front of the box and seen nothing beyond their living rooms, save for occasional shots of their house exteriors.
The show has made stars of the cast, past and present, including our own Scarlett Moffatt who went on to increase her profile still further by winning I’m A Celebrity and presenting on TV alongside Ant and Dec.
It’s believed that the show pays the cast only a small allowance – and provides takeaways – to take part while there are spin-off benefits too.
But what do they actually do for jobs and what do their lives involve when they’re not watching TV?
Always introduced as ‘best friends Jenny and Lee’ the pair from Hull are Jenny Newby and Lee Riley who have been on the show since 2014.
They became pals 21 years ago when Jenny was a landlady at a Yorkshire pub where Lee was a regular.
Jenny is married to husband Ray, who has never appeared on the show, while Lee has been with partner Steve Mail for 26 years.
The best friends, who film from inside Lee’s caravan in Hull – which Jenny moved into during lockdown – share a Twitter account which has nearly 140,000 Twitter followers.
Ahead of the new series of Gogglebox, Lee fly back from Cyprus where he spent time with his partner and told on the show about the cost of hotel qarantine.
The family, part of the show since 2014, are known for watching TV with their Rottweiler dogs, incuding big Dave, and having a plate of goodies on the table in front of the TV.
Tom Jnr is a freelance model and streetdance choreographer who has performed with a load of big name artists including the Black Eyed Peas.
Shaun, who used to be a stage actor in Billy Elliott, now coaches Manchester United’s Under-16s Ability Counts football team, reports The Mirror, and became a first time dad in July when he announced the birth of son Louis with his girlfriend.
During lockdown the family shared a TikTok dance, celebrating weight loss, with a routine to Nightcrawlers track Push The Feeling On.
Pete and younger sister Sophie, from Blackpool, joined the show in 2017 and have become renowned for their sharp wit and cutting remarks.
The pair live together and members of the family, including a brother called Harry and sister Lucy, have never appeared on the show.
During lockdown, Sophie has switched to blonde then jet black but more of a talking point with viewers is the recent revelation that the pair are related to the Chuckle Brothers, being the great niece and nephew of Paul and the late Barry Chuckle.
Sisters Ellie and Izzi Warner, Gogglebox regulars since 2015, are from Leeds and don’t live together which is why Channel 4 was forced to explain that the pair are adhering to social distancing guideline,s following viewers’ concerns over their proximity in the same room.
Nail technician Izzi lives with boyfriend Grant and is mother to five-year-old son Bobby and Bessie Rose, who was born in February this year.
In a major change last month, Izzi was briefly replaced for an episode by Ellie’s boyfriend after the country went into lockdown but all has since returned to normal.
In the first episode of the new series, Ellie was seen with a dramatic half lilac and half pink hairstyle while Izzi recently told fans that she « felt like Beyonce » after she shared a slimmed-down picture of herself.
Show veterans since series five, Giles and Mary having been keeping viewers with their clashing personalities.
Outside their cottage in Wiltshire, Giles is known as an artist and Mary, a former model, is ajournalist.
The pair met at 21, when Mary was working as a model and Giles was studying at Wimbledon Art School. They have two grown-up daughters.
One of the original Gogglebox families, the Siqqiquis from Derby comprise dad Side and sons Baasit and Umar, although another son, Raza, has also made an appearance.
Retired engineer Sid, who moved from Pakistan aged 16, has been married for 37 years and also has two daughters.
While dad Sid stopped appearing on the show at the start of lockdown, Baasit and Umar moved households to appear together.
Sid tweeted that he was sorry to be missing from sofa because of the two-metre social distancing rule but he’s now delighted to be back, tweeting: « It feels so good and exciting to be visiting your living rooms again, at your invitations of course. »
Another of the original families, the Michaels have been a staple on Gogglebox save for a one-series absence in 2015, due to dad Andrew running as a UKIP MP.
Andrew is always joined by wife Carolyne – both of them now retired – and most often by son Louis.
Daughter Alex also reappeared on Friday night, while in the past her lookalike sister Catheryne confused viewers due to their similarities. And there is an older brother Pascal.
One of the remaining original Gogglebox stars, Stephen Webb has been on the show with different people over the last seven years.
He made the first series with-then boyfriend Chris and they did one more together following their split before Chris left after an apparent series of off-screen rows.
He was replaced by Stephen’s mother Pat for a while then since 2019 he has been joined on the sofa by his husband Daniel.
Welsh couple Dave and Shirley, who have been married for 40 years, have been part of the show since 2015.
Keen baker Dave is a cleaner in a factory and Shirley works in retail in Caerphilly.
The pair have children Gemma and Simon and also introduced a new pet dog on Friday night.
Football is a big part of their lives outside of the show, with Tristan a winger for Hereford Football Club and Twaine playing for Bradford Town as well as presenting a breakfast radio show.
Mary, 90 and Marina, 88, met while living together at the St Monica Trust retirement village in Bristol nine years ago.
During lockdown they could not take part in the show that they’ve been part of since 2016 so were missing for the final few weeks of the last series but worried viewers are now delighted to see them back.
Mother Mica, boyfriend Marcus and her two daughters Sachelle and Shuggy, who joined in 2018, are from south London.
Outside of the show, Mica is a hairdresser specialising in natural hair and displays her work on Instagram.
The family, from Manchester, joined in 2017 when viewers met Alison, her husband George and their daughter Helena.
They then got to meet a new member of the family when Helena gave birth to baby boy Erwin in 2019 and brought him onto the show.
Local pair Abbie and Georgia, who are from Durham, are friends who went viral in 2018, the year they joined, when a moment was caught as they watched that year’s John Lewis Christmas advert.
Appearing to have no idea that the featured Your Song was originally sung by Elton John, Georgia said: « I know this is Ellie Goulding who sang this but God knows whose it was first. »
Starting on series 12, John and Beryl are married and are known for their calm manner and gentle bickering.
Amira, from London, was just a schoolgirl when she first appeared on Gogglebox in 2010 – initially with her friend who was then replaced by Amira’s little sister Iqra.
Husband and wife Sue and Steve joined in 2019 and are often seen in their South London home with Sue, who is semi-retired, enjoying a glass of wine and a joke.
The couple from County Durham have been married for 50 years and in a loving gesture Ken gave his wife 50 roses to mark the occasion.
Mother and daughter duo Paige and Sally are also relative newcomers, joining the series in 2019, and viewers were very amused by one of their blunders, when they appeared to think Nice was in Italy, not France.
Sally works as a carer for the disabled and elderly in Birmingham and Paige has a job as a business development manager.
But they were booted off the show in 2014 when George defied the rules about going on other TV shows and went into the Celebrity Big Brother house.
They did make a return without him in 2016 and George, who now has a child with girlfriend Emma, was jailed for three months last October after being found guilty of drink-driving.
Pete works as an electrician and Linda is a carer and they having fostered over 60 children together over the years.
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