Just Kidding around for the Gogglebox

Janet and Stuart Kidd with sons Michael (centre), daughter-in-law Elena and son Roger. The quirky Blue Mountains family are new reality TV stars who are expected to become famous from watching other TV stars.
Janet and Stuart Kidd with sons Michael (centre), daughter-in-law Elena and son Roger. The quirky Blue Mountains family are new reality TV stars who are expected to become famous from watching other TV stars.
Roger, Michael and Elena Kidd. Photo: Facebook.

Roger, Michael and Elena Kidd. Photo: Facebook.

Elena and Michael Kidd on their wedding day. Photo: Facebook.

Elena and Michael Kidd on their wedding day. Photo: Facebook.

From an early cult following to a runaway hit, Gogglebox, Britain's reality TV show about people watching TV, has come to Australia and one of the show's starring families on the couch hails from the Blue Mountains.

According to the show's promos, the "quirky, fun and intelligent" Kidd family from Mt Riverview will gather in their lounge room each week to discuss the most popular TV shows that have screened in the past seven days - everything from My Kitchen Rules to Dance Moms. The TV show started last week.

A show spokeswoman, Lucy Squire, said "the Kidd family got on Gogglebox through a friend who was approached by a casting agent and put the family's name forward".

"Janet and Stuart didn't think anything of the request at first, but saw it as a way to get the kids to come home more often," she said.

Those children, eldest son, Michael, a Katoomba bus driver and a fluent Russian and Mandarin speaker, and Michael's younger brother Roger, a uni student, take in the shows with Michael's multilingual wife, Elena, who delights with Michael in speaking in foreign languages around Roger.

"We're trying to reflect a different point of view from the houses," said the Australian executive producer, David McDonald ... they [the Kidds] bring a unique point of view. They're also funny, quite intelligent, all the sorts of thing we were looking for [and] their interests are different, if you have fans of Game of Thrones, that would be them."

The show is filmed by two small HD remote-control cameras operated by a small team in another room in the Kidd family's home.

Some social media fans likened the process to the film Inception, a sci fi thriller where the main character enters people's dreams and steals their secrets from their subconscious, tweeting: "I don't know how deep in Inception I've gone! Watching tweets about a show watching people watch TV."

And last week in a weird twist Blue Mountains viewers would have been watching another Blue Mountains family [the Kidds], watching another Blue Mountains family [on My Kitchen Rules] commenting on another show that they thought looked like it was filmed in the Blue Mountains, Mr McDonald said.

"Thinking I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here was filmed in the Blue Mountains ... this stuff is unprompted, it can be something random like that," he said.

"People hear the concept and go 'What ... how is that interesting?' but I think until you see the show and see that we're watching the shows that they're watching, it's not just cameras on people, we can see what it is."

Just before airing in Britain, one TV critic said the observational documentary was a "new low for television" and a "bad post-modern joke". The sleeper hit has since won a BAFTA award (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and gone on to sell as a franchise around the world.

The Australian version is trending globally, had 650,000 viewers on Pay TV and free-to-air screenings, and Mr McDonald said he feels "really positive".

"I really love the cast and in any show that's the big one."

The Kidds, like the other families, are being given a "rudimentary" fee for appearing on the show.

"It's practically a location fee for invading their house" but, for now, are continuing their normal life.

"They all have real lives to go to, jobs to get up and go to the next day," Mr McDonald said.

At the moment the show isn't making those stars available to the media for interview.

"We want to let the show bed in and not let them get too affected by media," Mr McDonald said.

And friends on Facebook, including former Blaxland reality TV star from the Big Brother show Tim Dormer, have warned them about reading online comments.

"You guys are so perfect for this! But don't read any comments online. Good or bad, take what people say with a grain of salt," he said.

The series airs on Foxtel's The LifeStyle Channel Wednesdays at 9.30pm and on Ten on Thursdays at 9pm.

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