How a family home has become the perfect location for TV producers

Imagine leaving the house in the morning knowing that a pair of celebrities would spend the day cosied up on your sofa watching television – but you had no idea who it would be.

By John Blow
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 7:00 am
The Clark family in their home in Scholes, near Cleckheaton
The Clark family in their home in Scholes, near Cleckheaton

Greg Clark and his family had just that experience when loaning their property to the makers of hit Channel 4 show Gogglebox.

They expected famous faces to be turning up with camera crews to film the show’s celebrity edition, but had to vacate the house and did not know the details until afterwards.

Lo and behold, a pair of footballers-turned-pundits spent the day bantering at the house in Scholes, near Cleckheaton, earlier this year.

Sign up to our daily Dewsbury Reporter Today newsletter

The house has featured on Channel 4 show Gogglebox

Greg, 51, says: “It’s all sort of very hush-hush. You don’t know which celebrities are coming in. We’ve got security cameras, so you can see stuff going on when all the crew arrives and you leave.

"They just shot between 8am to 8pm in the day and you’ve no idea who it is until goes on TV. It turned out to be Micah Richards and Jamie Carragher.”

Although Greg is not a football fan, he knew of ex-Liverpool defender Carragher, though not about Richards, who grew up in Leeds and went on to play for Manchester City.

In the show, which aired in June, the pair tried out their moves as they watched Dirty Dancing, laughed along to chef Gordon Ramsay laying into unsuspecting restaurant owners and took in the BBC News programme’s reports on coronavirus ahead of so-called "Freedom Day" on July 19 last year, when legal Covid restrictions were removed.

As a format where viewers watch people on TV in the act of watching TV, it’s quite a snapshot of the country at any point in time. Naturally, though, friends of the Clarks were more interested in finding out why the Sky Sports pundits were in their home.

Greg says: “We had a few people texting us saying ‘Have I just seen your house on Gogglebox?’ Yep! ‘Have you sold it to some footballers?’ Nope!”

He adds: “We’d seen the previous week’s (episode) and it had Anne-Marie and Tom Jones in a house that looked quite similar to ours. So we thought, oh it would be nice if it was them!

“I’ve been told they (Carragher and Richards) are both pretty big hitters in the football world but I’m not into football so I would have much rather had Tom Jones sat on my sofa to be fair,” jokes Greg.

Greg and his family – wife Kate and their daughters Ella and Cara, 10 and seven – got involved in lending their home out for television and photography shoots by listing it with UK Locations, the Leeds-based company offering the largest portfolio of locations for media use around the North of England.

Lauren York took over the firm after the death of her brother-in-law Nick Jones, who had set up the company in 2006.

Mrs York, of Leeds, had been PA to Sir Bruce Forsyth during The Price Is Right years and went on to work in the location department for Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends before a stint in marketing.

She then pulled UK Locations out of debt despite having never run a business before, and the company has grown ever since.

Greg runs Sheffield-based Uber advertising agency and Kate operates production company Rae and Eve in Cleckheaton, so had known about UK Locations after using it for his own projects.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship,” he says. “We book locations through them and they book us the other way round. We’ve never had any issues with them. They’ve got some great locations.

Greg bought the Victorian-era house about 10 years ago when he was single and with the help of his father, Dean, a former pattern maker, they designed and refurbished the property to its current standard.

Apart from the impressive lounge, which is why Greg decided to buy the property, other parts of the house felt dated, so they have installed new elements including a contemporary kitchen.

"There’s one-off stuff in this house that you can’t buy anywhere. And I think that’s why we love it so much because it’s got us in it and it’s got my dad’s DNA through the house. It’s special for that,” he said.

The result is that it has a homely feel that appeals to television companies, believes Greg.

He says that watching the show, seeing the family’s house in another way, was a “weird” experience.

“I think they want something that looks like it could be belong to the people that are in the house (on the episode).

“A lot of shoots we get in they show a lot more of the house, whether it be photography or whatever, they utilise in different angles, but with Gogglebox it’s literally one locked off (room) and they push the sofas together to get the two people very, very close.

"I don’t think anybody ever has their sofas that close together in the normal world.”

Letting camera crews into your home – though it can earn you hundreds or thousands of pounds, says Greg – might not be for people who are precious about having household perfection.

“At one end of the scale, you’ve glamorous footballers and Gogglebox and at the other end you’ve got somebody doing ‘100 Ways to Cook Broccoli’ in your house,” he says.

But Greg says: “We’ve done this house for us. We’ve spent a lot of time and money making it the best it can be for us and our family. We’ve lived here for 12 years now and we love it."

For more information about UK Locations, visit the company’s website: www.uklocations.co.uk