Before They Were Famous

(Members of the public)
(Music: Knew the voice was familiar...)
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==Introduction==
==Introduction==
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Fame. It's a fickle mistress. One minute you're the host of a popular ITV game show and the next you're doing amateur theatre in Godalming. But this ''Good Game Guide'' takes a view of the opposite side of the mountain. The North Face. The way up. For many wannabees, being a contestant on a high profile game show is a chance to be noticed by an agent, the newspapers or just have an extra 15 minutes of fame.
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Fame. It's a fickle mistress. One minute you're the host of a popular ITV game show and the next you're doing amateur theatre in Godalming. But this ''Good Game Guide'' takes a view of the opposite side of the mountain. The North Face. The way up. For many wannabes, being a contestant on a high profile game show is a chance to be noticed by an agent, the newspapers or just have an extra 15 minutes of fame.
So we bring you our guide to celebrities who were on game shows before they were famous:
So we bring you our guide to celebrities who were on game shows before they were famous:
==Actors/Presenters/Broadcasters==
==Actors/Presenters/Broadcasters==
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<div class="image"><IMG src="/atoz/programmes/u/university_challenge/uc_fry.jpg" alt="uc_fry.jpg" width="320" height="240"></div>
*'''[[Stephen Fry]]''' was on [[University Challenge]].
*'''[[Stephen Fry]]''' was on [[University Challenge]].
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<div class="image">[[Image:Blinddate_amandaholden.jpg]]</div>
<div class="image">[[Image:Blinddate_amandaholden.jpg]]</div>
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*'''Amanda Holden''' (actress and former wife of [[Les Dennis]]) appeared on [[Blind Date]] in 1991, as did future GMTV reporter and [[Only Fools On Horses]] champion '''[[Jenni Falconer]]''' in 1994.
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*Actor, presenter and [[The X Factor]] judge '''[[Amanda Holden]]''' appeared on [[Blind Date]] in 1991, as did future GMTV reporter and [[Only Fools On Horses]] champion '''[[Jenni Falconer]]''' in 1994.
*Model and later [[It's a Knockout]] scorer '''[[Nell McAndrew]]''' was a hostess on the original [[Man O Man]] in 1996.
*Model and later [[It's a Knockout]] scorer '''[[Nell McAndrew]]''' was a hostess on the original [[Man O Man]] in 1996.
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*On a somewhat similar note, '''[[Claire Sweeney]]''' belted out 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in BBC North West's brief 1987 revival of [[Top Town]] and later finished as runner-up on the first [[Big Brother|Celebrity Big Brother]] (which was also tied in with Comic Relief).
*On a somewhat similar note, '''[[Claire Sweeney]]''' belted out 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in BBC North West's brief 1987 revival of [[Top Town]] and later finished as runner-up on the first [[Big Brother|Celebrity Big Brother]] (which was also tied in with Comic Relief).
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*Future Radio 3 and Classic FM presenter '''Natalie Wheen''' represented the Royal College of Music on [[It Strikes a Chord]] in 1967.
*'''[[Konnie Huq]]''' was a contestant on [[Blockbusters]] in 1992, five years before she took up residence at [[Blue Peter]]. Her successor on the sofa, '''Radzi Chinyanganya''', had made his television debut on the 2008 revival of [[Gladiators]].
*'''[[Konnie Huq]]''' was a contestant on [[Blockbusters]] in 1992, five years before she took up residence at [[Blue Peter]]. Her successor on the sofa, '''Radzi Chinyanganya''', had made his television debut on the 2008 revival of [[Gladiators]].
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*'''Ed Byrne''' appeared as one of the three singles on [[Blind Date]] in 1993. His answers were a bit rubbish and he was beaten by a fitness instructor/stripper who may as well have started every sentence with "I'm a stripper".
*'''Ed Byrne''' appeared as one of the three singles on [[Blind Date]] in 1993. His answers were a bit rubbish and he was beaten by a fitness instructor/stripper who may as well have started every sentence with "I'm a stripper".
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*'''Zoe Lyons''' was a contestant on the first series of [[Survivor]].
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*'''Maisie Adam''' took a minus offer on [[The Chase]], and still lost.
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*'''Nimisha Odedra''' appeared on a [[Stephen Mulhern]]-era episode of civilian [[Catchphrase]], back when they actually admitted civilians.
==Sports stars==
==Sports stars==
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* It was almost inevitable that one of the competitors on [[Big Brother|Big Brother Celebrity Hijack]] would go on to greater things, they'd been chosen as high-flying young people. Contestant and boxer '''Anthony Ogogo''' won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and in December of the same year announced he was turning professional.
* It was almost inevitable that one of the competitors on [[Big Brother|Big Brother Celebrity Hijack]] would go on to greater things, they'd been chosen as high-flying young people. Contestant and boxer '''Anthony Ogogo''' won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and in December of the same year announced he was turning professional.
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* '''Tom Moore''', who ran a marathon in his back yard to raise money for the NHS, was a contestant on  [[Terry Wogan]]'s last [[Blankety Blank]], the 1983 Christmas special.
==Music==
==Music==
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*'''Olly Murs''' won a mere £10 on [[Deal or No Deal]] in 2007 and was told by Noel Edmonds, 'You do not have failure written over you'. This would prove to be prophetic as he later came 2009 runner-up of [[The X Factor]]. He later became the first, and to date only person to play the game a second time, when in April 2012, he returned to the Dream Factory as a celebrity contestant on ''Celebrity Deal or No Deal''. Unfortunately his second battle with the banker ended worse than his first, as he left with 50p. In a twist of fate, had he swapped his box, as he did in his first appearance on the programme, he would have walked away with £10 a second time.
*'''Olly Murs''' won a mere £10 on [[Deal or No Deal]] in 2007 and was told by Noel Edmonds, 'You do not have failure written over you'. This would prove to be prophetic as he later came 2009 runner-up of [[The X Factor]]. He later became the first, and to date only person to play the game a second time, when in April 2012, he returned to the Dream Factory as a celebrity contestant on ''Celebrity Deal or No Deal''. Unfortunately his second battle with the banker ended worse than his first, as he left with 50p. In a twist of fate, had he swapped his box, as he did in his first appearance on the programme, he would have walked away with £10 a second time.
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*'''Shahid Khan''', otherwise known as producer and rapper '''Naughty Boy''', was more successful on [[Deal or No Deal]], taking away £44,000. His winnings funded the home studio where he produced, among other things, Emeli Sande's zillion-selling debut album ''Our Version of Events''.
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*'''Lola Young''', from the first series of [[Got What It Takes?]], stayed in the music biz. Five years later, she sang "Together in Electric Dreams" for the John Lewis Christmas advert.
==Politics/News/Writers==
==Politics/News/Writers==
*'''Moira Stuart''', the BBC newsreader who was originally an actor, was an Argond on [[The Adventure Game]] in 1980.
*'''Moira Stuart''', the BBC newsreader who was originally an actor, was an Argond on [[The Adventure Game]] in 1980.
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*'''Alice Arnold''' took a remarkably similar path: the Radio 4 announcer and newsreader also started as an actor and one of her jobs was playing various alien characters on [[The Satellite Game]].
*Conservative front-bencher '''David Lidington''' captained the winning 1978 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge team on [[University Challenge]] and returned 24 years later to lead them to another victory on the ''University Challenge Reunited'' series.
*Conservative front-bencher '''David Lidington''' captained the winning 1978 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge team on [[University Challenge]] and returned 24 years later to lead them to another victory on the ''University Challenge Reunited'' series.
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<div class="image">[[Image:University challenge sebastian faulks.jpg|200px]]''Sebastian Faulks''</div>
<div class="image">[[Image:University challenge sebastian faulks.jpg|200px]]''Sebastian Faulks''</div>
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*Other [[University Challenge]] alumni include '''Clive James''', '''Sebastian Faulks''', '''Christopher Hitchens''', politicians '''David Mellor''' and  '''Malcolm Rifkind''', historians '''Simon Schaffer''' (captain of the victorious Trinity College, Cambridge team in 1975) and '''Dr. David Starkey''', and journalist '''John Simpson'''.
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*Other [[University Challenge]] alumni include '''Clive James''', '''Sebastian Faulks''', '''Christopher Hitchens''', politicians '''David Mellor''' and  '''Malcolm Rifkind''', historians '''Simon Schaffer''' (captain of the victorious Trinity College, Cambridge team in 1975) and '''Dr. David Starkey''', journalist '''John Simpson''', and children's author '''Robin Stevens'''.
* '''Kwasi Kwarteng''' won ''University Challenge'' in 1995 as part of the Trinity College, Cambridge side. He was elected to parliament as the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010.
* '''Kwasi Kwarteng''' won ''University Challenge'' in 1995 as part of the Trinity College, Cambridge side. He was elected to parliament as the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010.
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* '''Aaron Bell''' was returned by the electors of Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2019. He already had a long and distinguished game show career - champion of [[The Krypton Factor]] in 2009, winner of [[Only Connect (2)|Only Connect]] with the Epicureans in 2010, ''University Challenge'' runner-up with St John's Oxford in 2001, and big winner on [[Deal or No Deal]].
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* Future Conservative minister '''Michael Gove''' appeared as one of a team of journalists ("The Wordsmiths") on [[Top Club]] in 1990.
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* On the other side of the house, Labour's '''Hilary Benn''' represented Holland Park School on [[Top of the Form]] in 1970.
* Member of the Scottish Parliament '''Brian Whittle''' appeared on [[Gladiators|Gladiators: Springbok Challenge]] in 1998. He'd already won European athletics gold in the 4x400m relay [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP0hEfBAGa4 after losing a shoe].
* Member of the Scottish Parliament '''Brian Whittle''' appeared on [[Gladiators|Gladiators: Springbok Challenge]] in 1998. He'd already won European athletics gold in the 4x400m relay [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP0hEfBAGa4 after losing a shoe].
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*Columnist and ''Nuts'' editor '''Pete Cashmore''' (not to be confused with the ''Mashable.com'' entrepreneur of the same name) was also on ''Countdown''. He was champion of series 38 in 1997, and later sold his 20-volume OED for £1000 on eBay.
*Columnist and ''Nuts'' editor '''Pete Cashmore''' (not to be confused with the ''Mashable.com'' entrepreneur of the same name) was also on ''Countdown''. He was champion of series 38 in 1997, and later sold his 20-volume OED for £1000 on eBay.
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*Labour party politician '''Kerry McCarthy''' is another contestant who appeared on the daytime stalwart [[Blockbusters]] in 1983.
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*Labour party politician '''Kerry McCarthy''' appeared as another contestant on the daytime stalwart [[Blockbusters]] in 1983.
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*'''John Bercow''', Speaker of the Commons from 2009-19, made his television debut on [[Crackerjack]] in 1975.
==Criminals==
==Criminals==
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==Members of the public==
==Members of the public==
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*[[Monica Rose]] became a household name thanks to her appearances on [[Double Your Money]] and [[The Sky's the Limit]].
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*'''[[Monica Rose]]''' became a household name thanks to her appearances on [[Double Your Money]] and [[The Sky's the Limit]].
*Teenager '''Janice Nichols''' became something of a phenomenon thanks to her catchphrase "Oi'll give it five", delivered in a broad Brummie accent, on [[Thank Your Lucky Stars]].
*Teenager '''Janice Nichols''' became something of a phenomenon thanks to her catchphrase "Oi'll give it five", delivered in a broad Brummie accent, on [[Thank Your Lucky Stars]].
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*Before appearing as a Housemate on Big Brother 4 and becoming one of Sky's ''Brainiac'' team, '''Jon Tickle''' appeared on [[Blockbusters]] in 1991.
*Before appearing as a Housemate on Big Brother 4 and becoming one of Sky's ''Brainiac'' team, '''Jon Tickle''' appeared on [[Blockbusters]] in 1991.
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*''Josef Kollar'' was a contestant on [[Countdown]] in 1982 before he became one of the regulars on ''Gogglebox''.
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*'''Josef Kollar''' was a contestant on [[Countdown]] in 1982 before he became one of the regulars on ''Gogglebox''.
[[Category:Good Game Guides]]
[[Category:Good Game Guides]]

Revision as of 19:08, 4 November 2021

Good Game Guides - Articles

Contents

Introduction

Fame. It's a fickle mistress. One minute you're the host of a popular ITV game show and the next you're doing amateur theatre in Godalming. But this Good Game Guide takes a view of the opposite side of the mountain. The North Face. The way up. For many wannabes, being a contestant on a high profile game show is a chance to be noticed by an agent, the newspapers or just have an extra 15 minutes of fame.

So we bring you our guide to celebrities who were on game shows before they were famous:

Actors/Presenters/Broadcasters

  • Actress Miriam Margolyes appeared on an early series of University Challenge and claims to have been the first person to say the f-word on British telly, after getting a starter question wrong.
  • Nicholas Crane, travel writer and the BBC's face of popular geography, was on the Oxford University team in the 1982 series of Now Get Out of That. He also (at least) once turned up to do a demonstration for the contestants on Survival Challenge which, not coincidentally, was hosted by his cousin Richard.
  • Documentary presenter Monty Halls (of Five's Great Ocean Adventures and BBC Two's Great Escape) won the 2004 one-off, Superhuman.
Image:Blinddate_amandaholden.jpg
  • Before her acting career took off, Dame Maggie Smith was a hostess on Double Your Money.
  • Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding lasted ten weeks as a contestant on 2002 reality flop Eden, and Johny Pitts was there from beginning to end.
  • David Spinx (EastEnders' Keith Miller) was a contestant on One to Win in 2000.
  • Not forgetting Janice Long who first appeared on 3-2-1 with her husband in 1978, later becoming a DJ for Radio 1.
  • He turned up on all sorts of things before graduating to actual presenting work, but we reckon one of Jem Stansfield's (Bang Goes the Theory, Planet Mechanics) earliest TV appearances, if not his very first, was as a technical expert on Scrapheap Challenge.
  • Consumer rights champion Dominic Littlewood appeared on The Other Half in 1999, two years before Faking It gave him his big break.
  • At the tender age of 14, Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman sung 'Venus' on Grampian TV's New Faces copycat The Big Break in 1989. She didn't win her heat (coming joint fourth - a pianist won) but seventeen years later, ended up winning the Comic Relief version of Fame Academy.
  • On a somewhat similar note, Claire Sweeney belted out 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in BBC North West's brief 1987 revival of Top Town and later finished as runner-up on the first Celebrity Big Brother (which was also tied in with Comic Relief).
  • Future Radio 3 and Classic FM presenter Natalie Wheen represented the Royal College of Music on It Strikes a Chord in 1967.
  • Konnie Huq was a contestant on Blockbusters in 1992, five years before she took up residence at Blue Peter. Her successor on the sofa, Radzi Chinyanganya, had made his television debut on the 2008 revival of Gladiators.

Comedians

  • Arguably Steve Coogan came to fame partly due to his Krypton Factor observation round comedy skits.
  • Perrier-nominated comedian Daniel Kitson was a contestant on Blockbusters in 1994.
  • Fellow We Need Answers star Alex Horne won three episodes of Countdown in 2008.
  • Ed Byrne appeared as one of the three singles on Blind Date in 1993. His answers were a bit rubbish and he was beaten by a fitness instructor/stripper who may as well have started every sentence with "I'm a stripper".
  • Zoe Lyons was a contestant on the first series of Survivor.
  • Maisie Adam took a minus offer on The Chase, and still lost.

Sports stars

  • Chris Rawlinson, top sprint-hurdler, made it to the last eight in the 1995 series of Gladiators.
  • Kelly Holmes, double-gold Olympian and last line of Britain's war defences, was scheduled to be a con-ten-derrrr in 1994. However, due to a sporting commitment, she had to pull out.
  • Louis Smith made The X Factor callbacks in 2009. He had already carved out a successful career as a gymnast, and won silver in the 2012 Olympics, followed by a Strictly Come Dancing glitterball.
  • It was almost inevitable that one of the competitors on Big Brother Celebrity Hijack would go on to greater things, they'd been chosen as high-flying young people. Contestant and boxer Anthony Ogogo won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and in December of the same year announced he was turning professional.
  • Tom Moore, who ran a marathon in his back yard to raise money for the NHS, was a contestant on Terry Wogan's last Blankety Blank, the 1983 Christmas special.

Music

  • Folk singer June Tabor captained the St. Hugh's College, Oxford team on University Challenge in 1968.
  • Jon Marsh, mainman of 90s pop-dance combo The Beloved ("The Sun Rising", "Sweet Harmony" - featuring Tess Daly in the video) was a Countdown octochamp in 1987 and made it to the semifinals where he lost to the eventual series champion.
  • Katie Melua won the "Stars Up Their Noses" talent-show segment of Mad for It.
Image:Sale of the century cowell.jpg
  • Top Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer wrote the theme music for Going for Gold.
File:Starforanight junior.jpgPublicity photo for the Star for a Night Junior one-off with Alexandra Burke pictured at the bottom right.
  • Joss Stone won a junior one-off of Star for a Night in 2001. In that same junior one-off, 2008 winner of The X Factor Alexandra Burke was also a contestant on the show.
  • Olly Murs won a mere £10 on Deal or No Deal in 2007 and was told by Noel Edmonds, 'You do not have failure written over you'. This would prove to be prophetic as he later came 2009 runner-up of The X Factor. He later became the first, and to date only person to play the game a second time, when in April 2012, he returned to the Dream Factory as a celebrity contestant on Celebrity Deal or No Deal. Unfortunately his second battle with the banker ended worse than his first, as he left with 50p. In a twist of fate, had he swapped his box, as he did in his first appearance on the programme, he would have walked away with £10 a second time.
  • Shahid Khan, otherwise known as producer and rapper Naughty Boy, was more successful on Deal or No Deal, taking away £44,000. His winnings funded the home studio where he produced, among other things, Emeli Sande's zillion-selling debut album Our Version of Events.
  • Lola Young, from the first series of Got What It Takes?, stayed in the music biz. Five years later, she sang "Together in Electric Dreams" for the John Lewis Christmas advert.

Politics/News/Writers

  • Moira Stuart, the BBC newsreader who was originally an actor, was an Argond on The Adventure Game in 1980.
  • Alice Arnold took a remarkably similar path: the Radio 4 announcer and newsreader also started as an actor and one of her jobs was playing various alien characters on The Satellite Game.
  • Conservative front-bencher David Lidington captained the winning 1978 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge team on University Challenge and returned 24 years later to lead them to another victory on the University Challenge Reunited series.
Sebastian Faulks
  • Other University Challenge alumni include Clive James, Sebastian Faulks, Christopher Hitchens, politicians David Mellor and Malcolm Rifkind, historians Simon Schaffer (captain of the victorious Trinity College, Cambridge team in 1975) and Dr. David Starkey, journalist John Simpson, and children's author Robin Stevens.
  • Kwasi Kwarteng won University Challenge in 1995 as part of the Trinity College, Cambridge side. He was elected to parliament as the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010.
  • Aaron Bell was returned by the electors of Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2019. He already had a long and distinguished game show career - champion of The Krypton Factor in 2009, winner of Only Connect with the Epicureans in 2010, University Challenge runner-up with St John's Oxford in 2001, and big winner on Deal or No Deal.
  • Future Conservative minister Michael Gove appeared as one of a team of journalists ("The Wordsmiths") on Top Club in 1990.
  • On the other side of the house, Labour's Hilary Benn represented Holland Park School on Top of the Form in 1970.
  • Andrew Collins (pundit and 6 Music DJ) appeared with his family on Telly Addicts.
  • The late newspaper columnist and presenter John Diamond was a contestant on Countdown in 1986, winning two games.
  • Columnist and Nuts editor Pete Cashmore (not to be confused with the Mashable.com entrepreneur of the same name) was also on Countdown. He was champion of series 38 in 1997, and later sold his 20-volume OED for £1000 on eBay.
  • Labour party politician Kerry McCarthy appeared as another contestant on the daytime stalwart Blockbusters in 1983.
  • John Bercow, Speaker of the Commons from 2009-19, made his television debut on Crackerjack in 1975.

Criminals

  • Anthony Morley was a contestant on God's Gift in 1996. He was convicted of murder in 2008. By coincidence, his victim, Damian Oldfield, was in the audience for Morley's show, having previously been a contestant himself.
  • John Cooper was convicted of two double murders in 2011. He had been a contestant on Bullseye in 1989, shortly before the second of these double murders, and the episode was used during the trial as evidence that his appearance at the time matched the description of a suspect given to police.

Members of the public

  • Teenager Janice Nichols became something of a phenomenon thanks to her catchphrase "Oi'll give it five", delivered in a broad Brummie accent, on Thank Your Lucky Stars.
  • Before appearing as a Housemate on Big Brother 4 and becoming one of Sky's Brainiac team, Jon Tickle appeared on Blockbusters in 1991.
  • Josef Kollar was a contestant on Countdown in 1982 before he became one of the regulars on Gogglebox.

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