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How Gogglebox cast members were chosen for the show

From sibling duo Pete and Sophie, to besties Jenny and Lee

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 3, 2024
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We love tuning into new episodes of Gogglebox every Friday night. While there's no doubt that the clever format makes the Channel 4 show a big hit with Britain's TV lovers, it's the likeable cast of armchair experts that keep us coming back each season. 

But how did they come to be on our TV screens? According to the show's creator Stephen Lambert, every participant was "found and persuaded" to take part. "I think that's the key to why they are likeable and why the show works, because we get to know these people," he told

So, how did the producers find our favourite TV watchers? Here's what we know…

The Malones are a fan favourite family on Gogglebox© Channel 4

The Malones

We love watching Tom, his wife Julie and their son Shaun giving their take on the week's TV from their cul-de-sac home in Manchester. 

The family have been on the show since 2014, with Shaun's siblings Tom Jr. and Vanessa previously making appearances. 

It was Tom Jr who was first approached by producers whilst teaching dance at Studio 25, where his mum worked on the reception desk. 

While Tom Sr was initially hesitant, the production team eventually won him over. "Tom Senior said no," Julie explained to Manchester Evening News.

"We explained about the rottweilers and the staffie but they still wanted us. They came over and had a chat, and took a video of us chatting. Three weeks later someone rang and said we like you, and Tom changed his mind."

gogglebox chris  steed stephen webb© Photo: Getty Images

Stephen and Chris

While neither Stephen nor Chris now feature on the show, they were first scouted by producers at work.

According to Closer, the pair signed up after producers came into their hair salon asking if anyone would like to be on the TV. 

Chris left the programme in 2018, making room for Stephen's mum Pat, who was eventually replaced by his partner Daniel. Both Stephen and Daniel stepped away from the show in 2023. 

june and leon gogglebox© Photo: Channel 4

Leon and June

Beloved married couple Leon and June, who sadly passed away in 2017 and 2020 respectively, were spotted by producers during a "street casting" at their bridge club. 

Leon previously explained: "We were among the first to sign up for it. Two pretty girls from the production company came into the bridge club and it started there. I've enjoyed all the coverage. It is fantastic how it has taken off. We cannot move in Liverpool for people taking photos."

Giles and Mary in Wiltshire© Channel 4

Giles and Mary

Giles and Mary first appeared on our screens in 2015. The fan-favourite pairing, who affectionately refer to each other as 'nutty'', were approached by "a friend of a friend". 

Co-creator Tania Alexander told Radio Times: "I think I got [producer] Lucy Whelan to call to see if they were interested. Lucy came off the phone and said Giles is quite keen, Mary's not a pushover – we've got a bit of a battle on our hands there." 

gogglebox siddiquis

The Siddiquis

Siddiqui patriarch Sid appears on our screens most Friday evenings alongside his sons Umar, Baasit, and sometimes Raza. 

The Derby-based family came to be on the show after youngest son Baasit was recommended by an old friend working on the pilot episode. 

"We did a bit of an audition, where people came round with a camera and some flash cards – images of Boris Johnson, Simon Cowell… and they said, 'Right, just say the first thing that comes into your mind,'" Umar told

"Whatever dynamic we had seemed to suit the show, because they asked us if we wanted to be part of it. And they’ve kept on asking us."

moffatt© Photo: Getty Images

The Moffatts

The Moffatts became popular members of the cast when they joined the show in 2014. 

The family, who left in 2016, have breakout star Scarlett to thank for the gig as she was approached by her friend Tommy, who worked on Gogglebox. 

"He worked on the show and couldn't find anyone to audition in the north east so asked if I'd do it, to help him out," Scarlett, who was 23 at the time, told Grazia. "I went down to the auditions and my mum came during her lunch hour, too. The next day they said they wanted us on the show and we had two days to decide. 'It's £50 and a free takeaway, what's the worst that can happen?' I remember thinking."

Gogglebox stars Jenny Newby and Lee Riley© Jenny Newby and Lee Riley/Instagram

Jenny and Lee

Gogglebox just wouldn't be the same without besties Jenny and Lee, who landed a place on the show after Jenny was approached by producers at Beverley Races Ladies' Day. 

While Jenny was already a "big fan" of the show, Lee took a bit more convincing. "I'd never heard of Gogglebox to be honest and I didn't want to do it," he told the Hull Daily Mail

"I'd say it took her about an hour and a half to talk me into it – about as long as it took me to get me out of bed."

Ellie and Izzi Warner with cups of tea on the sofa© Instagram

Ellie and Izzi

Sister duo Ellie and Izzie made their debut back in series six and have been beloved members of the cast ever since. 

The duo were reportedly cast after Ellie was approached by an old friend working for the show. 

Izzi told Heat: "We thought 'who'd want to watch us' and then we got picked and couldn't believe it!"

WATCH: Gogglebox star Ellie Warner introduces her newborn son
Gogglebox's Pete and Sophie Sandiford© Instagram

Sophie and Pete

Brother-sister pairing Sophie and Pete were scouted for the show after appearing in two adverts for Talk Talk's This Stuff Matters campaign.

Their mum Julie, dad Paul, and siblings Lucy and Harry also took part in the campaign, which saw the family chatting and watching telly - which sounds a lot like Gogglebox!

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