Gogglebox is back on our screens for a fourth series and we caught up with Andrew Michael – who has appeared on the show with his wife, Caroline, and two children, Alex and Louis, since the show began in 2013 – to find out what it’s like to be famous for watching TV!
Your family are often involved in some heated debates during the show, do you sometimes forget the cameras are there?
“Yes. It’s not that I forget, it’s that I don’t give a damn that they’re there. That’s the more honest answer!”
Is it true that Louis is responsible for the family going on the show?
“Yeah it is in a way. After the first screen test we had a stream of C4 people come to our house and they all said they liked the dynamic we had. In the end I said we didn’t want to be part of the show, at which point the big producer came down to speak to us and said he really wanted to us to do it.
“I said no because I thought they would make us look bad, but the more I turned it down, the more they wouldn’t take no for an answer!
“I got the family together in the kitchen and they all said they were happy to do it, but I wasn’t sure, so I turned to Louis – who was 16 at the time – and told him I was going to leave the decision to him, because I didn’t care one way or the other. He looked my in the eye and said ‘You know what dad, let’s do it!'”
Have you ever regretted handing Louis that decision?
“I have wondered what we’re doing sometimes – when they’ve kept us up late at night until two or three o’clock in the morning – but I’ve never blamed Louis! The feedback I get from people who watch the show has been so overwhelmingly positive. You feel it’s a privilege to be a part of something that so many people genuinely enjoy.”
What kind of things to do people say to you when they see you in the street?
“People come up to me and talk about the warmth they’ve felt when they’ve been watching the programme. It’s amazing because when I see the show I think I’m a bit grumpy, but people seem to enjoy that!”
What’s the strangest thing anyone’s ever said to you about the programme?
“Someone came up to me the other day and said she’d noticed that it was only the men who put their feet up!”
…we’ve also noticed that you always seem to have your feet up. What would happen if someone sat in your chair?
“No one ever sits in my chair – they wouldn’t dream of it!”
Do you sit down to watch the show when it’s on TV?
“I do because I enjoy watching all the other participants…”
Who are your favourites?
“Sandy and Sandra, particularly Sandy! I think she’s highly intelligent and really witty. If I could meet any of them then it would be her…”
Have the producers ever asked you to watch something that you don’t like?
“Yes because they always make me watch X Factor, which I really don’t like, but the worst was when they asked us to watch Sex Box. I actually walked out of the room! I thought the premise was ridiculous! I couldn’t believe what I was watching!
“I know we live in a promiscuous society to say the least, but the way they were rubbing it in our faces, I found that personally offensive and I had to walk out. I actually got up and switched it off, but the producers said they needed it for the programme, so I said the rest of them could watch it but I wasn’t. They said that was fine, but that’s probably the angriest I’ve been on the show…”
Do your friends and family watch the show?
“Most of my friends watch it – although some don’t, which is a puzzle to me. I always say ‘How many people do you know on television!’ – and they love it. One of them said to me ‘Louis swears a lot doesn’t he?'”
Do you ever get angry with Louis over his swearing?
“Yes I do. What I always say to my children is that swearing is like alcohol… I’ve got nothing against it in principle, but absolute moderation is important!”
Have you ever considered getting him a swearjar?
“It wouldn’t work! Getting him to put money in a swearjar would be more trouble than it’s worth!”
George Gilbey recently went on Celebrity Big Brother, would you be tempted to follow in his footsteps?
“I don’t think they’d have me, but it would depend on who was in there. If the other housemates were Kate Bush, Debbie Harry, Suzanne Vega and Nigella Lawson then it would be different!”
We forgot about your love of Nigella Lawson…
“Yeah when you’re as gorgeous as that you can get away with anything. I don’t watch her programme because I find her so attractive I have to switch it off. It sounds crazy doesn’t it? But I’m a married man!”
Gogglebox continues on Friday nights on C4