AN OUTSPOKEN pensioner from Gwynedd is returning in a new season of the popular Welsh language version of Gogglebox, it’s been revealed.
Retired electrician John Williams, 80, who lives in Porthmadog, gained celebrity status with his hilarious, unvarnished views during the first series of Gogglebocs Cymru on S4C.
He’ll be teaming up once again with 25 year old grandson Cian who’s expecting his grandad to get lion’s share of the attention from the viewing public this time too.
For the second series, the run has been extended from 11 to 15 episodes which will be broadcast in two blocks.
In addition there are five more groups – families and friends – this year, giving producers an ever greater spread of opinion across a wide range of programmes.
Starting at 9pm on Wednesday, October 18, the first six shows will be broadcast in October and November before taking a break and returning for a celebrity Christmas version on December 27 and a further eight episodes from February 14 next year, with the programmes being once again narrated by comedian and broadcaster Tudur Owen.
By the time the new series begins, Gogglebocs Cymru could also be an award winning programme as it has been nominated for a BAFTA Cymru award, with the ceremony taking place the previous weekend.
The show is being made by two Gwynedd-based television production companies, Cwmni Da, in Caernarfon, and Chwarel, from Cricieth.
It is the first time Studio Lambert and Channel 4 have licensed the Gogglebox franchise to another UK-based broadcaster.
TV location manager Cian said: “My grandad’s a local character and well-known around Porthmadog for his humour and it’s nice to share a bit of it because I always think he’s a wasted talent.”
John has a reputation for saying what he thinks which left his grandson sitting on the edge of his seat at times.
“With the nature of his age, sometimes he has a different view of the world than I do – I’m so glad it’s not live!
“Wherever you are, it’s nice to look through people’s windows. The show’s not scripted and so people get to know you and when they do like you, it’s because of who you are.
“There’s a real mix from people learning Welsh to those who use it as a first language. It’s a great confidence boost for the people learning Welsh and for the people learning and watching this back home – I’ve seen lots of people on Twitter saying they’ve been watching Gogglebocs because they feel it makes it easier to learn the Welsh language.”
Also delighted to be returning is Huw Williams, 63, from Mynydd Isa, near Mold, who will once again be appearing alongside his brothers, Stephen, 58, and Mike, 65.
The brothers, who were brought up in Brynaman, in Carmarthenshire, described taking part as one of the best experience of their lives.
Former British Coal engineer Huw Williams, who has performed regularly in panto with Northop Presents appeared on Emmerdale as a vicar, was happy that audiences had warmed to the trio’s brotherly banter.
He said: “To be honest, it’s a dream come true that people are prepared to pay for me to go down and sit with my brothers and watch the TV with a cup of coffee. It’s great!
“We have a great rapport and are very close. Because of the dynamic we have between us, as soon as we are all together, we revert to Welsh – we feel comfortable with each other, there’s no nerves it’s all natural.”
Series Producer Huw Maredudd, of Cwmni Da, said: “There were some wonderful moments during the first series and some great comments were made about it on social media.
“The viewing figures were great and there were clear signs that the programmes we featured enjoyed a boost to their viewing figures as well.
“That the first series was so popular was thanks in no small part to the cast and the hard work of the crews and we are hoping the new series will be just as successful.
“We’ll have more families and groups of friends but they won’t all appear in every programme. We’ll be giving them some time off.
Chwarel director and co-Executive Producer Sioned Wyn said: “Our aim was clear: we wanted to reflect modern Wales. For us, that meant introducing viewers to different types of families and friends and presenting a mixture of regional accents, fluent Welsh speakers and people learning the language.
“The basic idea of Gogglebocs Cymru is for people to sit down in front of the television and to watch programmes with family or friends and pass comments on what they’re seeing. It’ll be a chance for us laugh, cry and enjoy the programmes with them.”
She added: “Cast members range in age from 15 right up to 80 and span across Wales from Caernarfon to Wrexham, down to Cardiff and the Valleys and across to west Wales. We also have Mike and Carwyn and Mark, originally from Gwynedd but now living in Greater Manchester taking part in the programme.”
S4C’s head of entertainment, Elen Rhys, added: “Following the huge success of series one on S4C, it’s a great pleasure to announce the second series of Gogglebocs Cymru.
“Once again we’re welcomed to homes across Wales and beyond, with many familiar faces to us, as well as some new additions to the cast – all giving us their unique slice of life and insight to all things telly.”
The new series of Gogglebocs Cymru will begin its run on S4C on Wednesday, October 18 at 9pm. English subtitles will be available and the programme can also be viewed on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and other streaming platforms.
The secrets of how Gogglebocs Cymru is made
Gogglebocs Cymru is filmed as the cast of characters view the week’s chosen programmes.
Producer Huw Maredudd, from Cwmni Da, explained: “A team of researchers comb through the schedules and choose the programmes to be viewed and discussed in that week’s programme.
“There will be a broad spectrum of programmes all the way from gripping drama series to quiz shows which hopefully will have the cast members shouting the answers at the screen.
“The footage is then edited ready for broadcast on the Wednesday evening. Condensing more than 40 hours of armchair chatter into television gold in three days is no easy feat but it seems to have worked because the programme has been nominated for a BAFTA Cymru award in the best entertainment category,”