This autumn, the nation is welcoming a new family into its living rooms, as the Malones, from Manchester, join the TV phenomenon that is Gogglebox. Here, mum Julie reveals a little more about the family, their TV-watching habits, and what it’s like to be recognised in Asda.
Why did you decide to take part in Gogglebox?
The boys wanted to do it, actually, more than me and Tom. It seemed like pretty good fun once they came round and told us about it. They found us through the dance studio where my son was teaching – they called the studio to see if Sue, who runs the place, knew anyone who would be good on Gogglebox and she said ‘Yeah, Julie’s mad!’
And it was to help Shaun regain some confidence – we nearly lost Shaun when he was about 15 years old. It was a really rare condition when sinusitis back-tracked into his brain and he was given a 10% chance of survival. He had surgery 7 times and was in a coma for weeks. He lost a lot of confidence and it’s left him with seizures and we thought the show would help get out of his shell.
Why do you think they chose your family?
I don’t know, I think it’s because we’re not the ones that want to be thrust into the limelight. We’re not looking to be famous, we’re just normal people.
Who’s your favourite Gogglebox individual or family?
Personally I like Stephen & Chris. I love their off cuff remarks and sense of humour.
Do you behave any differently watching TV in front of the cameras from how you normally would?
No, we still talk all over each other and go off on tangents. We forget the camera’s there. It was weird at first but we’re getting used to it.
Do you think the experience is bringing you closer as a family, having to all watch TV together?
Not really, we’re already a pretty tight family. So it’s just more of a nice excuse to spend time together.
Have you found yourself watching things you wouldn’t normally watch? Have you enjoyed any of it?
Yes! We don’t usually watch historical things. Tom Snr and Tom Jnr do but I don’t and we had to watch a thing about Hitler this weekend, and I actually found it fascinating.
How many dogs do you have? Where are they during filming?
We’ve got 5 dogs. Dave, Lucy, Frankie & Izzie – they usually just roam around. The crew adore them and give them treats. Joe is 11 and he’s got cancer so we tend to keep him out of the way in my bedroom because he’s like a grumpy old man – we call him Victor Meldrew.
What kind of TV shows do you like?
I love all the soaps, Downton Abbey and Casualty. Shaun loved sports – he coaches and plays for Man U mixed ability team, but he does love Corrie as well. Tom Jnr likes things like Criminal Minds and Tom Snr likes war programmes, Ice Road Truckers, factual programmes and Top Gear! I hate that programme, It’s obscene when they blow cars up.
What’s your idea of TV hell?
Jeremy Clarkson! He so pompous and condescending – he makes my blood boil!
What’s the most annoying thing about having to watch TV with the rest of the family?
Tom Snr asking for a brew every ten minutes.
Have you started being recognised in the street yet? If so, what’s that like?
I’ve been recognised in Asda and that was really weird. I had my Grandson with me and I could hear two of the workers there saying ‘It’s her, I’m sure it’s her’. I was looking round to see who the famous person was they were talking about and it was me!
Shaun gets recognised at football training by all the younger kids coming up saying ‘Sir are you on Gogglebox?’