Reverend Kate Bottley joined 'Gogglebox' to change perception of people of faith

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: BBC Radio 2 presenters Kate Bottley on stage during BBC2 Radio Live 2019 at Hyde Park on September 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Kate Bottley on stage during BBC2 Radio Live 2019 at Hyde Park. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Former Gogglebox star Rev Kate Bottley says she joined the hit show to change the public perception of people of faith.

The Church of England vicar appeared on Gogglebox from 2014 to 2016, and was approached for the show after she appeared in a viral wedding flash mob.

Talking to Kate Thornton on the White Wine Question Time podcast, Bottley said: "I'm not saying that I'm not weird. I am weird. I believe in a man raised from the dead, that's pretty damn weird!

"But I also just wanted to go: 'You can have a faith and be a relatively normal person.' I mean, obviously we use that we use that normal word quite lightly. That's why we said 'yes' to Gogglebox."

WATCH: Kate Bottley on being stopped in the street, talking openly about death, and the viral wedding dance that started it all.

Bottley says that when you saw people of faith on TV, it was only ever 'really bad news stories' or 'it was like, look at these weirdos'.

Bottley also drew similarities between her work as a vicar and her work on radio and TV — including regular appearances on Radio 2's Pause For Thought — explaining that she would sometimes get a call from higher up in the church asking for the number of people who had been in her church on a weekend.

Programme Name: Radio 2 Presenters 2018 - TX: n/a - Episode: Radio 2 Presenters 2018 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  The Reverend Kate Bottley - (C) BBC - Photographer: Leigh Keily
The Reverend Kate Bottley, presenter on Radio 2 (BBC/Leigh Keily (BBC/Leigh Keily)

She said: "And I go, do you really want my numbers? Do you really want Pause For Thought, 8 million people? Radio 2... It's a weird thing.

"I don't see any massive separation between what you might call my day job, and all the other telly and media stuff.

"It's just a different sort of pulpit and a different sort of parish. That's all it is.

Listen to the full episode to hear about how Kate is inspired by comedians like Bill Bailey in her sermons, and how she sobbed all the way through Harry and Meghan's wedding!

"One of the reasons we said yes to Gogglebox way back when was because the kind of people of faith I was seeing portrayed on TV were either really bad news stories, something horrible that had happened in the news with someone of faith, or it was like, look at these weirdos.

"People thought I was in fancy dress for a long time. People were like: 'She's not really [a vicar] she can't be. She can string a sentence together and she's a bit rude."

Programme Name: Sunday Morning Live 2021 - TX: 13/06/2021 - Episode: Sunday Morning Live 2021 - Ep1 Rev Kate Bottley (No. Ep1 - Rev Kate Bottley) - Picture Shows: Ep1, Ep3, Ep4, Ep16 & Ep18 Sean Fletcher, Rev. Kate Bottley - (C) BBC Studios - Photographer: James Sharrock
Sean Fletcher and Rev Kate Bottley on Sunday Morning Live in 2021 (BBC Studios/James Sharrock) (BBC Studios/James Sharrock)

Bottley, who has also taken part in Celebrity Masterchef and Celebrity Mastermind, said she thinks the 'cultural memory' of what a vicar is is very long, which means assumptions are slow to change.

She said: "We have this almost Dad's Army image of what a vicar is: male, pale and stale. All the vicars I hang out with are kind of like me, just normal people trying to hold it together, who happen to have faith."

She did accept that some parts of her personality probably do live up to expectations, and said she often forgets that 'death chat is not a normal thing'. She said it is 'an absolute privilege' to work at funerals and to support people at that time.

She said funeral were:"A glorious thing to do. It's an absolute privilege to be there. And often these are people that we've known. I've buried friends and I've buried relatives.

Songs of Praise: L-R - Rev. Kate Bottley, Katherine Jenkins, Aled Jones, JB Gill, Laura Wright (Avanti/Nine Lives Media/Jay Brooks)
Songs of Praise: L-R - Rev. Kate Bottley, Katherine Jenkins, Aled Jones, JB Gill, Laura Wright (Avanti/Nine Lives Media/Jay Brooks) (BBC/Avanti/Nine Lives Media/Jay Brooks)

"And it's just such an honour to be able to walk with people at that point. Death and taxes are the only two certain things we've got. So you might want to have a little think, and you can't you can avoid them for as long as you want, they will get you in the end.

"As a vicar I forget that death chat is not a normal thing. I forget that this is not a polite topic of conversation, so I will sit around the dinner table, and I'll talk about who's died.

"And you can see, like, people, are like: 'Are we already talking about death? She's only been here two minutes!'"

WATCH: Kate Bottley on how skinny dipping helped her become more body positive.