Gogglebox: Channel 4 responds to claims of ‘inhumane’ staff treatment

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Channel 4 bosses say they satisfied that "appropriate action" is being taken to ensure the welfare of staff working on hit show Gogglebox, following claims of "inhumane" treatment.

Multiple production members – who work behind the scenes rather than on the screen – have alleged a toxic work environment with excessive working hours and no breaks.

An unnamed ex-member of staff told The Guardian: "People have had enough. You don't turn up to work to be screamed at for 12 hours a day.

"It was the worst job I ever did. The way that it's made is inhumane at times."

Some staff members also told the paper they had removed the NHS tracking app from their phones as they feared repercussions from possible disruption to the production of the show.

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The hit reality programme, which first aired in 2013, is made by independent production company Studio Lambert.

While Channel 4 say they "can't comment on anonymous allegations and rumours", a spokesperson for the broadcaster told Sky News: "We are satisfied Studio Lambert is taking appropriate action to ensure the welfare of its teams and to enforce appropriate standards of behaviour across the shows it makes for us."

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In response to the claims, a spokesperson for Studio Lambert told Sky News: "Studio Lambert takes the welfare of its teams extremely seriously across all its productions, and has a number of measures in place to encourage people to come forward with any concerns they may have, as well as support systems for a range of issues."

The production company went on: "All our shows since March last year have been produced with COVID-19 safe protocols."

Media and entertainment trade union BECTU also say they are currently looking into claims of poor working conditions on behalf of several of its members.

The union has recently launched a campaign called #UnseenOnScreen to highlight issues of bullying and harassment within the industry.

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With a largely freelance community of workers, TV and film production has been heavily hit by recent coronavirus restrictions, and industry creatives have struggled to support themselves throughout numerous lockdowns.

One of Channel 4's most successful shows, Gogglebox has won a BAFTA and numerous National Television awards over the last seven years, and the format has been copied in countries around the world. It's also spawned successful spin off show Celebrity Gogglebox.

However, co-creator of Gogglebox, Tania Alexander, abruptly left Studio Lambert mid-way through series 16 following 12years of service in November last year.

With a fast turnaround of content inspired by the most notable TV shows of the week, Gogglebox airs on Friday evenings at 9pm.

Using a series of rigged cameras set up in the participants' homes, the production crew don't have to be in the house itself to edit footage.

Household units and the use of support bubbles have meant that unlike many other formatted shows, Gogglebox has been able to continue filming around the UK despite strict social distancing restrictions.

Currently in between series, the 17th series of Gogglebox is due to start later this month.

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