Gogglebox’s Lee updates fans on Jenny as she misses Baftas

'She's in hospital... she's not very well'

Gogglebox Jenny Lee

by Nathan Katnoria |
Updated on

It's hard to believe but besties Jenny Newby and Lee Riley have been on our screens as Gogglebox's most hilarious duo for eight years now. The pair joined the show when Jenny was approached by producers at Beverley Races Ladies’ Day and the rest is history.

Fans of the duo were worried when they didn't appear in last week's episode of the show and Jenny didn't make an appearance at last night's BAFTA ceremony. When asked about her absence on the red carpet Lee gave an update on her condition saying she needed a 'mini' operation and "wasn't very well."

Speaking to the Daily Star on the red carpet, Lee said, "She is not very well, she is having an operation, a mini one, but she is recovering well though."

He added, "She was invited but the appointment was in BAFTA week. You can't turn down an NHS operation down can you? But she is doing well."

We're glad to hear she's doing well and we wish her and Lee all the best and hope she makes a speedy recovery and is able to return to the show soon.

While we eagerly await her and Lee's return to the show we thought we'd take a deep dive into the lives of Jenny and Lee and find out everything there is to know about the Gogglebox faves...

Where are Gogglebox's Jenny and Lee from?

Jenny and Lee are from Hull, England. They film their Gogglebox scenes at Lee's caravan, which is located in Patrington Haven caravan park.

How old are Jenny and Lee from Gogglebox?

Jenny is currently 65 years old, while Lee is 52 years old.

Gogglebox Jenny Lee
©Channel 4

Are Gogglebox's Jenny and Lee a couple?

No, Jenny and Lee are not a couple. They're best friends and have been for over 20 years - in fact, Lee describes Jenny as family rather than a friend. Both Jenny and Lee are in long-term relationships. Jenny has a husband, Ray, who usually stays out of the public eye and Lee has been with his partner Steve, who lives in Cyprus, for over 26 years.

How did Gogglebox's Jenny and Lee meet?

Jenny and Lee met when she was the landlady of a pub called The Crown Inn in Paull and he was a regular. They've been inseparable ever since then and regularly go on holiday together. Jenny and Lee also isolated together in his caravan during lockdown so that they could continue to film Gogglebox.

CHECK OUT 20 things you didn't know about Gogglebox


Gogglebox: 20 things you didn't know about the hit show - SLIDER

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1) The Gogglebox cast had to be persuaded to star on the show

Gogglebox creator Stephen Lambert has revealed that they DIDN'T have anyone audition to be on Gogglebox; in fact, they had to persuade the majority of their families to be on the show."Everybody on Gogglebox has been found and persuaded to be on the show and I think that's the key to why they are likeable and why the show works, because we get to know these people," he explained to Radio Times."We've never advertised for people on Gogglebox."

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2) Only two families have starred in all 15 series

…and they are: Stephen Webb (who originally appeared alongside Chris Butland-Steed) and the Siddiquis. The Tappers (pictured) made it up to 11 series, but were temporarily axed when Amy joined the cast of Celebs Go Dating, due to producer's 'no celeb' rules (Scarlett Moffatt, George Gilbey and Sandra Martin also lost their spots due to their star status).

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3) Gogglebox creators found Leon and June in a bridge club

Gogglebox creators Stephen Lambert and Tania Alexander went to a bridge club to do a "street casting" for the show, and that's where they found two opinionated retired teachers aka our beloved Leon (who passed away 2017) and June.Speaking about being selected for the show, Leon said: "We were among the first to sign up for it. Two pretty girls from the production company came into the bridge club and it started there."I've enjoyed all the coverage. It is fantastic how it has taken off. We cannot move in Liverpool for people taking photos."

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4) And they found Stephen and Chris at work

Yup, producers also popped into a hairdressers and asked if anyone would like to be on telly. Unsurprisingly, Chris - who worked at the salon - was up for it, and up until series 10 we were treated to his and Stephen's witty observations.After series 10 finished in 2017, Chris revealed that he had quit the show to "pursue other opportunities".

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5) Reverend Kate Bottley was found via a viral wedding video

Oh yes.Kate was officiating a wedding back in 2013 when she led a Flash mob in the aisles to the strains of Nineties hit "Everybody Dance Now".The video went viral - and it wasn't long before the Gogglebox creators were knocking on Kate's door.Speaking about her decision to appear in the show, Kate told The Telegraph: "I thought it was an opportunity to show that vicars are just normal people."

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6) Giles and Mary were APPROACHED by Gogglebox producers

"A friend of a friend recommended [them] and then I think I got [producer] Lucy Whelan to call to see if they were interested," Tania Alexander explained to Radio Times. "Lucy came off the phone and said Giles is quite keen, Mary's not a pushover – we've got a bit of a battle on our hands there."The couple were eventually persuaded to join the cast after taking part in a fun 'taster' session.

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7) The Siddiquis were recommended to producers

Giles and Mary aren't the only contributors who came recommended; the Siddiqui family were also suggested to the show's creators - and they obviously impressed them, as they've starred in each and every single series of the show!

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8) It takes just a few days to make each episode

Gogglebox creators start shooting on a Friday and film throughout the week, but they spend the first four days assessing and cutting material; in fact, about 99.9% of what is recorded is cut from the final product.After working out which material they're going to use, the show's creators begin piecing the episode together just three days before the show airs, working through Tuesday afternoon, all day Wednesday, and throughout Wednesday night.On Thursday afternoon, they finalise the episode and have Craig Cash do the voiceover - and boom, the episode is made.

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9) Filming is planned around the contributors

The majority of filming is planned around the people you see in the show, as a lot of them have full-time jobs and families to look after.They usually are expected to do at least eight hours of filming - split across two days.

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10) The sofas are filmed from another room

It keeps things feeling more authentic to have the cameramen in another room during filming. That's why Gogglebox is filmed using two remote cameras known as "hot heads", with the TV crew controlling them from somewhere else in the house (such as the spare room or kitchen).

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11) How much are Gogglebox stars paid?

Yes, Gogglebox stars ARE paid to appear on the show - nobody knows how much they get, as it's one of the show's best-kept secrets. Some sites have reported that cast members receive "a small contribution to their expenses" of about £15, while The Sun has said they're given a £1,500 monthly family allowance - which explains why they always have such good telly snacks!

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12) There’s a secret member of the Moffatt family (kind of)

That's right; the Moffatt family also have a younger daughter, Ava, who rarely appeared on the show because filming usually took place after her bedtime.

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13) The Siddiqui family also have a few hidden members…

That's eight; Sid has a wife and two daughters, but they didn't want to appear on the show. Instead we just have him and his two sons - but, every so often, one of his grandchildren will pop up for a special appearance.

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14) Steph and Dom’s disabled son changed their lives

Speaking with Times Magazine, the pair explained that, when their eldest son, Max (now 18), was four months old, they noticed that he was making "little jerky movements".Steph recalled: "We took a video of him and showed it to the GP, who immediately referred us to the paediatric consultant at the local hospital who said, 'I think we have a problem and I need you to come in first thing Monday morning. Bring a bag.'"It soon transpired that Max has autism and epilepsy, changing the family's lives forever.The teenager now spends term time in a special residential school, but, in the holidays, he spends his time with his doting mum and dad, as well as his younger sister, Honor.Steph said: "We drink socially to enjoy ourselves, but when the kids are at home, it is family time."They are the most important people to us in the world."

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15) Scarlett Moffatt had a job alongside her role on Gogglebox

The no-nonsense Durham lass was a disability advisor for students - and, as if that weren't impressive enough, she's also a trained ballroom dancer. Since leaving Gogglebox, Scarlett has gone on to star in I'm A Celebrity and has presented on Streetmate, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and Radio 1.So take that Twitter trolls!

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16) The Tapper family were originally considered for another TV show

Channel 4 had initially considered Nikki for another programme, Jewish Mum Of The Year."I'd just recovered from breast cancer and my mum nominated me," Nikki explained to The Sunday Post."But I ended up not going on it – actually Jonathan didn't want me to do it."The researcher, who came round and met the kids, must have kept my number and phoned out of the blue saying she was helping out with this small four-week programme."Yup, Gogglebox.However they almost didn't appear, as she explained: "I didn't understand how it would be done and I didn't think Jonathan would have any interest in being on TV."

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17) The Malones originally turned Gogglebox producers down

The family were approached at a dance school called Studio 25 to appear on the Channel 4 programme, where Tom Jr teaches and Julie helps out on reception."Tom Senior said no," the mum explained to Manchester Evening News. "We explained about the rottweilers and the staffie but they still wanted us."They came over and had a chat, and took a video of us chatting. Three weeks later someone rang and said we like you, and Tom changed his mind."We're so glad they changed their minds, because it's not just the human members of the Malone family we love; the family had FIVE dogs who often appear on the show, named Dave, Lucy, Frankie, Izzie and Joe. In May 2018, the Malone family posted a heartbreaking tribute after their beloved dog Frank passed away.

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18) The show isn’t scripted

A whistleblower came out in 2014 to claim that the show was a "fix", with producers passing jokes to the sofa stars and reshooting scenes to make them funnier.They told The Star: "Sometimes we are told: 'Louis Walsh is going to say something shocking on X Factor so we want you to react to that.'"If you can't think of anything, the producers come up with a joke. If you fluff it they film it again."However the banter is REAL, a Channel 4 spokesman later revealed, saying: "The Gogglebox cast are filmed for two to three nights per week. We film them watching live television and some that has been recorded."The production team do not influence the comments. The reactions are genuine."

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19) There's an American version of Gogglebox

Yes, the USA does have its own version of Gogglebox - and they're not the only other country to get in on the action. In fact, there have been a whopping FIFTEEN international versions of Gogglebox - think the USA, Australia, Canada, China, Ukraine, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Israel, Germany, Finland, Norway, Belgium, and France.

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20) You can’t apply to be on Gogglebox

That's right; there are no application forms or auditions - it's all been organised so that the show only has ordinary, no-nonsense people on their screens.But, you know, there's no harm in trying.

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Are Jenny and Lee leaving Gogglebox?

Rumours Jenny and Lee were leaving Gogglebox were sparked in the most unlikely of places back in December 2021 when Coldplay's Chris Martin revealed the pair were his favourite Gogglebox stars during an appearance on Jo Whiley's show on Radio 2, however the DJ then let slip that they had quit the show.

Taking to Twitter to clarify the speculation, one fan tweeted Jenny and Lee, "Firstly, Chris Martin of @coldplay has just said on @jowhiley on @BBCRadio2 in concert that you guys are his fave on #Gogglebox. However, Jo then said you guys were leaving?? What the??!"

But Jenny and Lee quickly set the record straight as they replied, "Well Jo is totally wrong 🤣😂🤣😂."

PHEW, thank goodness for that.

Jo then responded, ""I am SOOOO Sorry!!! I completely thought I’d read you were leaving, I’m sure I did! Maybe I dreamt it. 😬. I’m really happy to hear that though. Love you two, just like Chris."

What did Gogglebox's Jenny and Lee look like when they were younger?

Jenny and Lee are major fans of a throwback snap and often share pictures from their two-decade long friendship on social media. Most famously, in May 2020, they posted a 16-year-old photo as they enjoyed a cruise back in 2004.

Jenny can be seen holding a bunch of flowers in the lovely photo, whilst Lee wears a suit and grins to the camera, leading the pair to joke it was a wedding photo. Lee wrote in the caption, "Old photo 16 years ago of me and Jenny on a cruise taking the p--s and no before you ask we didn’t get married 😂😂😂😂😂😂."

Fans were quick to comment on the cute throwback photo, one user wrote, "You two should have a show of your own! Bloody hilarious 🤣🤣🤣🤣," with another jokingly saying, "And yet you act like you've been married for years 😆😆."

A third commented, "😂 Love watching you both on Gogglebox by far the favourites especially in our house x."

WATCH Scarlett Moffatt talks mental health

How can I follow Jenny and Lee on social media?

Jenny and Lee have a joint Twitter account @leegogglebox and they also share an Instagram account @jennyandlee_gogglebox.

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