Channel 4 responds to claims of Gogglebox toxic work environment

The Michael Family. (Channel 4)
Gogglebox's The Michael Family. (Channel 4)

Channel 4 have said it is satisfied “appropriate action” is being taken to ensure the welfare of Gogglebox staff, following claims of “inhumane” working conditions.

Multiple former productions workers on the reality show – which features people watching recent TV broadcasts and commenting on what they see have – made anonymous accusations of a toxic work environment that included excessive working hours with no breaks.

One unnamed former member of Gogglebox staff told The Guardian: “People have had enough. You don’t turn up to work to be screamed at for 12 hours a day. It was the worst job I ever did. The way that it’s made is inhumane at times.”

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A spokesperson for Channel 4 said they "can't comment on anonymous allegations and rumours", but added: "We are satisfied Studio Lambert is taking appropriate action to ensure the welfare of its teams and to enforce appropriate standards of behaviour across the shows it makes for us."

Jenny and Lee. (Channel 4)
Gogglebox stars Jenny and Lee. (Channel 4)

Gogglebox, which is about to begin filming its 17th series, has been made my independent production company Studio Lambert since 2013.

A spokesperson for Studio Lambert said: "Studio Lambert takes the welfare of its teams extremely seriously across all its productions, and has a number of measures in place to encourage people to come forward with any concerns they may have, as well as support systems for a range of issues.

"All our shows since March last year have been produced with COVID-19 safe protocols."

Media and entertainment trade union Bectu is currently investigating claims of poor working conditions on the reality TV show.

Bectu said it is seeking a meeting with Channel 4 after Studio Lambert refused to enter into talks with them.

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A spokesperson for the union said: “Bullying and harassment are big problems in the TV industry, particularly for freelance workers. That is why we recently launched the #unseenonscreen campaign.”

Gogglebox is due to return with a new series later this month.

Ellie and Izzi. (Channel 4)
Gogglebox stars Ellie and Izzi are sisters but do not live together. (Channel 4)

The programme has been able to continue filming during the coronavirus pandemic as crew members are not required to be in the same house as its stars. Cameras are already set up in contributing families’ homes.

Some viewers have queried how Gogglebox stars who do not live together are still able to appear on the show amid lockdown restrictions, but Channel 4 has said it adheres to all COVID-19 guidelines.

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