Gogglebox sparks 210 Ofcom complaints over social distancing concerns

Katie Rosseinsky
Ellie and Izzi: Channel 4

Gogglebox has been hit with approximately 210 Ofcom complaints from concerned viewers, who fear the show’s stars did not comply with social distancing guidelines.

The much-loved Channel 4 show sees families and friends react to the week’s biggest television moments from the comfort of their own sofas.

A message at the start of recent episodes told viewers that the participants were complying with regulations to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

“Just in case you’re worried, they are all keeping to the guidelines of social distancing,” the continuity announcer explained.

However, this does not appear to have completely alleviated the concerns of fans, who continued to lodge complaints with the broadcasting watchdog.

Lee and Jenny have moved in together during the coronavirus crisis to continue filming (Channel 4)

This comes after the programme sparked criticism in April for allowing sisters Ellie and Izzi Warner to film together during lockdown, despite the fact that they do not live together.

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”

Standard Online has contacted Channel 4 for further comment.

In response to the concern over the Warner sisters filming together, Channel 4 previously said: “Most of the families live together but where they don’t, they are complying with PHE [Public Health England] social distancing guidelines.

"Gogglebox will only film with families where it's safe to do so. The health and safety of our cast and crew is paramount."

Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival in May, Channel 4’s director of programmes Ian Katz revealed that producers had installed stationary camera rigs in participants’ homes.

The crew then sit in vans parked outside the homes to operate the cameras remotely.

Toilet facilities have also been installed outside of the contributors’ homes for the crew.

He then explained how Gogglebox was staying on air with producers having installed stationary camera rigs in participants’ homes. The crew then sat in vans located outside the homes to operate the camera.

Show creator Tania Alexander recently explained that the show had stopped filming with nonagenarian participants Mary and Marina.

“We took the decision to tell Mary and Marina, who are in their 90s and live in a care home, that we didn’t want them put at any risk so we should stop filming with them altogether,” she wrote in The Telegraph.

“The ladies are safe and well looked after but often tell us they dearly miss the crews and the fun they have during filming each week.”

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