Channel 4 launches search for Scottish family to appear on Gogglebox
A search is on for a Scottish family to appear in Gogglebox after Channel 4 agreed to find new stars for the show north of the border.
The broadcaster is to fund a dedicated casting team to find a Scottish family before the end of the year.
The pledge was made after executives were grilled by MPs over the failure to have any Scottish families on the show for the past five years.
At the time, Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross said he and his wife Krystle were willing to go on the show every week.
Gogglebox, which was launched in 2013, is currently on its 18th series and has been honoured at the BAFTAs and the National Television Awards.
However, the last Scots on screen were the Manuel family, who lived in Croydon at the time, in 2016.
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon told the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster that it was a “goal” of the broadcaster to find a Scottish family for the reality show, which sees ordinary people become armchair TV critics.
She has now told the committee complaints about a lack of Scottish representation on Gogglebox made up around half of all the complaints from viewers in Scotland.
In a letter to chair Pete Wishart, Ms Mahon said: “Since I met with you we have agreed a separate budget with Studio Lambert for a dedicated casting team specifically tasked with finding a suitable Scottish family.
“The casting period is already underway and will run up to Christmas.
"The ambition is to identify at least one Scottish family who will become part of the Gogglebox cast for the next series which will air in the new year.
"Complaints relating to Scotland make up a very small proportion of our contact from viewers.
"To provide context, last year we had 144,340 viewer contacts, 14,987 of which were complaints. Of contacts in the last year, 99 related to Scotland with half (49) of those complaints about a lack of Scottish representation on Gogglebox.
"Many of those who contacted us to raise this were getting in touch to put themselves forward.”
Mr Wishart said: "A theme which came up in our evidence session was the lack of a Scottish family on Gogglebox.
"It’s clear some have approached the channel with similar concern, often offering themselves as an option.
"I’m therefore pleased to see a dedicated team tasked with this and look forward to seeing the successful family on our screens in the new series."
At the committee hearing in September, Mr Ross told Channel 4 executives: “I’m a big fan of Gogglebox and my wife and I watch it every week. We could be part of it.”
After laughter from fellow MPs, he added: “The response from my colleagues in the committee room suggests that is not a viable option.”
Channel 4 commissioning editor Deborah Dunnett explained part of the problem was related to the “really fast turn-around” on the show.
However, Mr Ross replied: “That sounds like complete rubbish. You’ve spent an hour today so far speaking about how great Channel 4 is because you get to all most remote parts of Scotland, yet we can’t get clips to a family in Glasgow or Edinburgh or Perth or Moray or anywhere like that."