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"By the end, I think we might have acted a little bit." Angie Kent on her time on Gogglebox.

When Yvie and I were first asked to do Gogglebox, we said, “Oh my god, that sounds like the biggest joke.”

Watching people watch television for a living – who even thought of that, number one, and number two, who would actually say yes to audition for that? But we did.

How it all started was that one of Yvie’s best friends was the post-producer for Blake Garvey’s season of The Bachelor. He got an internal email from Shine Endemol, the production company that makes Gogglebox because at the time Shine was producing The Bachelor franchise.

The email said, “Do you know anybody who loves to watch television and who has an opinion?” And he was, like, “Do I ever!”

Without even asking us first, he sent off a video of Yvie, Tom and me just doing our usual crazy thangs, carrying on like two-bob watches, probably singing some kind of song and being super inappropriate.

angie-and-yvie gogglebox
Angie, Yvie and Tom. Image: Instagram.

A week later we got a call from the Gogglebox casting director saying, "Do you want to audition for this show?" And we were like, "This is absolutely ludicrous. Probably not." But... Yvie and I are also massive believers that if things pop up, it’s a sign from the universe. So just give it a try and go from there.

So we decided to do the audition. It was via Skype and the person auditioning us showed us a picture of Barack Obama, who was then president of the United States, and showed us a picture of Tony Abbott because he was the current prime minister, and a picture of a reality star who was popular at that time, and we would just have to talk to each other and say what we thought and felt about that person.

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That was the audition. Wait – there were actually a couple of those.

I was booked to go travelling in the Philippines for three months with my best friend, Sarah.

Then Yvie and I got a call really close to when I was about to leave, saying, "You two are the first to be cast in the show and we’ve kind of cast it around you.

"You’re such strong characters for the show and we would love to have you be a part of it."

And we said, "Okay, well, that’s our sign – we’ll give it a go."

We watched the UK season of Gogglebox and then we heard it had won BAFTA awards and so many other awards, and that it was one of the highest-rating shows in the UK.

So we thought, 'You never know: Australia, even though it has massive tall poppy syndrome and usually shit-cans every new television show that comes on, may like this one.'

Let’s just do it. Seems like it’s done well in the UK.

Then the first episode aired and people just loved it. It picked up an audience so quickly.

We originally did it because we’d just started rescuing and fostering dogs, and we loved Paws and Recover. So we figured that we could just talk about rescue dogs for the reality part of the show when we weren’t watching TV.

So we would involve the dogs all the time. We always had a different dog on the couch and the audience went absolutely mad for it. They adored it.

They loved that we were two single girls with a 17-year age gap living together in the inner west of Sydney, rescuing all these dogs, always having a different dog on the couch. And we lived with a man with Down syndrome.

 

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We were the ultimate modern family. That’s what we called ourselves when we were down at the park.

When it was me, Yvie, Tom and a pack of rescue dogs, we’d say, "Are we not the ultimate modern family? Look at us go!"

We figured that if one episode could make one person rescue a dog, then we’d done our job – but then it just went up and beyond our wildest dreams.

Yvie and I stayed on Gogglebox for eight seasons – four years. I had my 24th birthday on there and I left just before my 29th birthday. We won three Logies, and we were up for other awards as well.

And without Gogglebox, I never would be doing what I’m doing right now. I probably wouldn’t be writing a book that people actually want to read. (Although I would still be writing anyway because I do love it.) I wouldn’t have been on I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! I wouldn’t have met half of the amazing people I’ve met.

I’m so grateful for Gogglebox and everything that the show has done for me, but it comes to a stage in anyone’s life, in any job, where you think, I’ve learnt all I can learn about myself and this job; there’s really nothing more I can gain from this experience.

We helped rehome and rescue that many dogs. We promoted #adoptdontshop. We got to be two women in Australia with such solid opinions speaking out to other women who probably thought, "You never see women allowed to carry on like that on television and get away with it."

But we did for four years, twice a year for ten weeks in a row. That was just something so magical for me, knowing that I was a woman and I could say my opinions and people actually tuned in to watch me talk about something.

The Australian public got to grow with us over those four years, and we experienced a lot of loss over those four years. Yvie lost her mum. I lost my Poppy and my Nanny all while I was on that show. We lost a lot of rescue dogs. And because it’s such a family show, people get really attached to you and they go through that process with you.

So leaving Gogglebox was not an easy decision, but when all signs are pointing to getting the hell out of Sydney and to being with your family, you’ve got to listen and you’ve got to trust your gut. Bad things kept happening because I kept ignoring my gut.

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But I’m very, very grateful for Gogglebox and everything that I experienced with it throughout the four years, and everything that’s come after it, and it has just been absolutely mind-blowing.

Listen to Angie sit down and chat with Mia Freedman on her podcast, No Filter. She discusses love, The Bachelorette and Gogglebox. Post continues below.

We originally thought the show was a bit of a laugh, but we wanted to give it a red-hot go. And it was never hard to come up with things to say because Yvie and I bounced off each other so swimmingly at the beginning. By the end, I think we might have acted a little bit, but it was still us.

We were forcing ourselves to be the same people over the last four years but really we had loved, lost, grown and felt we needed a change.

It could feel invasive, too, because the cameras and the audience were in our house. We had that many dogs. We lived with Tom. We were constantly stopping to check Tom’s blood levels with him being a diabetic or to clean up one of the dog’s spews. So it did get quite overwhelming in the sense that it wasn’t a normal house. It was a full-on hectic lifestyle home where we were caring for many things and people other than ourselves.

By the end, I think we lost our spark a little bit. We became a little bit too comfortable – and what more can you really say after four years of watching similar shows over and over? I think we had given it our all and we’d run out of our tank of gas and it was time for them to bring new people in.

Change is good. You don’t want to watch the same people watching TV forever if they aren’t fully invested anymore. It’s nice to spice things up; keep the old faithfuls in because everybody loves them and can relate to them, and then bring in some new spice. What’s more exciting than spice in your life?

I know we definitely changed from the first episode of season one to the last of season eight. In the beginning, it was probably a creative exercise because Yvie and I are creative people, but over the years it became almost like breathing. It was just so familiar to us. I think we got lazier and we just got more comfortable, so we probably got more inappropriate as time went on.

At the start, I was probably a little bit more polite and trying not to offend anyone. And by the end, I’m pretty sure I said I wanted to sleep with the Prime Minister of Australia at the time!

Which is pretty hardcore and not something you really want your friends and family to hear you say. But I said it and they showed it. So what are you going to do? Verbal diarrhoea is something I suffer from.

We loved the way people responded to the show – everybody felt like they were our friends. But it did become more like a job. We’d lost the zest and passion for it, and that show deserves to have people with zest and passion because it’s such an amazing show.

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When we started realising that we saw it as more of a chore because things had started to change in our personal lives – we were a little bit more out of control – we didn’t want to become a burden, so it was a good time for us to leave.

There were some days when we would watch shows and I would actually not say anything. I would sit down on the couch and think, I’m not putting on a show today. I’m not in a good mood and I don’t care for this television program at all.

And Angie watching television would never watch this program. So, really, if I’d said anything it would just be me being fake. And I’m very adamant about staying true to myself and being real. But that meant sometimes I would just sit there and be a massive baby and not say anything at all.

Nonetheless, we had so many good times on that couch. So many good times with our dogs, being able to be ourselves, talking about the big issues of the world and talking absolute dross. What better job to have, really, with your best mate.

I’m very blessed for my time on Gogglebox. I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is an edited extract from Angie Kent's book If You Don't Laugh You'll Cry: Life and love from either side of the TV screen. RRP$29.99.

angie kent

You can purchase If You Don't Laugh You'll Cry: Life and love from either side of the TV screen here.

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