'Big Brother' - the TV Programme (UK)
Created | Updated May 3, 2013
Big Brother is the name of the reality TV show that has become a worldwide phenomenon1. Originating in The Netherlands, the game show is revolutionary in that contestants are monitored 24/7 for up to ten weeks in a house that they share with the other contestants. Live webcasts on the Internet, and more recently, on a dedicated digital television channel, have made it a hit with audiences everywhere. The first series of Big Brother UK appeared on British Television screens during the summer of 2000.
Who is 'Big Brother'?
Within the confines of the house, 'Big Brother' is the voice of authority, issuing instructions, informing the contestants of events and generally controlling the environment. The voice of Big Brother is played in shifts by different members of the production staff regardless of gender. Though the voice is often played as reassuring while maintaining authority, many housemates have noticed that different 'Big Brothers' bring different elements to the experience - leading to one of them being dubbed 'Big Meanie'. One might be used specifically to calm down distressed housemates while another might adopt a dismissive tone for mini-tasks - all the better to tell the unsuccessful housemates that they're 'pathetic'.
Then again, it's the British public who decide who goes and who wins, so it could be argued 'Big Brother' is... us!
A selection of contestants is picked by the production company - usually with an even split of male and female and with a diverse mix of ethnicity and sexuality - to enter the specially-built Big Brother house. This house is isolated from the 'outside world,' with no television, radio, telephone or Internet connection, making the contestants completely cut off from direct communication with their friends or family. The contestants may each bring one suitcase with them into the house, which is searched for 'contraband items'. Objects banned from the Big Brother house include mobile telephones, computers, paper, pens and pencils, drugs and other illegal substances, and most forms of electronic equipment. There is also a limit on the number of allowed items contestants can bring into the house, such as one lipstick and a small number of 'luxury items' such as a pack of playing cards. After early series, musical instruments and books were also banned as they tended to lead contestants into isolating themselves from the pack.
Never forget - in the Big Brother household, everything is controlled.
After an introductory period (in early series, this was two weeks though later runs have played around with the format), the contestants must each week nominate two of the other housemates2 for eviction, which takes place privately in the 'Diary Room'. The two housemates (or more if it's an even result) with the highest number of nominations are put to the public as candidates for eviction. The public votes for who they want to evict from the house by phoning special phone numbers. Eventually a winner is selected by the public, and wins a cash prize. This nomination and eviction knockout process provides the main focus of the show. The nominations encourage the housemates to reveal their dislikes of the other contestants, which gives the housemates paranoia and encourages conflict, and which gives the viewer an all-seeing eye3 into what is going on.
Supplies and Tasks
Food in the house must be bought from a weekly food budget, which is proportional to the number of contestants remaining in the house. To add some interest and entertainment for the viewer, the contestants are set weekly tasks, the outcome of which will decide whether the housemates spend the next week in the lap of luxury or on basic rations (pasta, chick peas and rice). Big Brother may also set 'mini tasks', offering a reward to the housemates and to stop the contestants from becoming bored. However, Big Brother is a cruel master - sometimes the 'reward' for success is more for the entertainment of the viewers than the housemates (such as an old video of comedian Bobby Davro, when the housemates were hoping for a film or footage from a recent sports event).
While the tasks provide an often welcome break from the monotony of being stuck in the house, they have another purpose - to bring to the surface the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals. Some tasks encourage working as a team while others foster a dog-eat-dog approach. Previous tasks have included: answering questions about each other; completing obstacle courses; learning a musical instrument or other skill, such as semaphore, Morse code or First Aid; or repetitive tasks such as keeping a fire alight across a number of days or clocking up a total number of revolutions on an exercise bike. Tasks may offer housemates a chance to get to know each other while fulfilling the more basic tasks, or expose selfish behaviour in projects that require the whole group to work together for the common good.
The Theme Music and Title Sequence
The energetic theme music comes from Paul Oakenfold and Andy Gray, who released the track as a single under the banner 'Elementfour' and got it to Number 4 in the UK charts. In series one, each episode opened with the music playing over a shot of an eye - representing the theme of 'Big Brother is Watching You' - and the eye belonged to housemate Mel, though she had no idea about this until the night of her eviction. The 'eye' motif has remained with the series, with slight modifications over the years.
The Live Feeds
The central focus of the Big Brother schedule is on the nightly TV programmes, which feature edited highlights of the previous day (or day before, depending on the time gap). This show is heavily edited though, and contains a voiceover commentary on the major events. For pure and uncut footage of the contestants you have to watch the 'live feeds'. Originally these were only available through the Internet as streaming video, but from the second series onwards viewers were also able to watch footage overnight and through most of the day through Channel 4's digital TV channel E4. Though it's referred to as 'live', to comply with broadcasting standards there's a small delay between the events in the house and the footage shown. Occasionally, if a housemate is discussing a particular product or brand, gossiping about a public figure in a defamatory way, or revealing personal information about a friend or family, the audio and images cut away to a shot of the garden with soothing atmospheric noises, such as birds twittering.
The live feeds mark an aspect of show that is similar to The Truman Show4 in that viewers are able to maintain a constant watch on the contestants in the Big Brother house. This voyeuristic element can come to be obsessive, with reports of some people leaving their televisions or computers permanently tuned in to the live feed. The live feeds sometimes come under criticism for being boring (with 'a load of people sitting around in baggy T-shirts' being the main complaint), but for whatever reason it is a formula that works. The Big Brother UK website was one of the most successful UK websites up to that date during Big Brother 1, reporting millions of visitors and video streams served.
Though the feed offers enough coverage to satisfy the most insatiable BB addict, it's also been the source of some controversy. During a particularly fierce fight on day 20 of series 5, the duty producer decided to cut the live feed in case things got out of hand. Unfortunately, the audio stream continued to play out for some time. As sounds of screaming and mayhem played out over footage of the garden, viewers began to imagine the worst and a small number of them even called the local police to inform them of a riot in a house in Elstree.
But more on that particular story later...
As of 2006, there have been two main Big Brother houses, one in London's East End, and from series three onwards in a purpose-built compound in Elstree, North London. The first house was partially surrounded by a river which acted as an effective moat. A bridge across the river, labelled 'the Bridge of Shame' by the production company, led to the Three Mills Film Studios5 where the post-eviction interviews took place. This building housed the first two series as well as the first celebrity edition. As the house did not have planning permission as a permanent residence, a new location had to be found for the third series.
Elstree is of course the home of the EastEnders6 set and its soundstages have been used on many other films and TV shows. The second Big Brother House sits on top of a huge tank, which means Housemates have to climb the stairs to the front door on entry, then walk down into the main house.
The decor and basic layout has changed each year; the design concepts employed have been used deliberately to affect the psychological and emotional moods of the contestants, from the warm, Swedish log cabin of year two to the deeply disturbing angles, glass walls and open plan layout of years five and six. Having said that, there are a few elements that have remained largely constant.
The Living Area
Each house has contained an area designed for lounging about. The area consists of a circular or 'U'-shape couch which is designed to encourage the contestants to sit facing each other. This is where they all sit while taking turns to nominate and while awaiting news of the latest evictee. For Big Brother 6, the living area was detached from the main house, which led to divisions forming in the group - some spending time there while their 'enemies' plotted in the kitchen or bedrooms.
The house is divided up into sleeping and living areas. In early shows, there were two bedrooms, and though these were never specified as being for 'boys' and 'girls' the inhabitants tended to divide along gender lines and become territorial if a boy decided to spend the night in the girls' room. Eventually it was decided to create one communal dormitory which forced contestants to endure each other (at least initially) as well as increasing the likelihood of 'romance' among the housemates. Big Brother 2 saw the introduction of a room set apart from the main house that was designed for 'private' chats, while BB5 unveiled a secret 'flat' where two of the housemates were forced to live in isolation while spying on the others via TV cameras and monitors.
The BB kitchen is always a thing of wonder, with wide chrome surfaces and a large oven that is purpose built to make catering for large groups that bit easier. However, as anyone who has ever shared a house will know, the kitchen is often a cause for friction - people not cleaning up after themselves, never offering to help prepare meals or simply dominating proceedings. While some housemates have managed to avoid nominations by excelling in the kitchen, if a housemate has been perceived as treating the kitchen as their own domain it has sometimes led to arguments.
The Diary Room
The Diary Room is where the main revelations take place. Little bigger than a sound-proofed cupboard, the diary room contains only a single, iconic chair7 and a camera. The Diary Room is where the contestants make their secret nominations, and also where contestants get to talk one-on-one with 'Big Brother'. Contestants, who only get to hear the voice of Big Brother through a speaker in the room, can either go into the room voluntarily if they have something to say to Big Brother or a question to ask, or alternatively Big Brother can call them to the Diary Room, in which case they will be summoned via the PA system with the commanding question, 'Would [contestant's name] please come to the Diary Room?' Disobedience of Big Brother is a serious offence. When Celeb BB1 contestant Vanessa Feltz 'went mad' scrawling on the table, she refused to enter the Diary Room on Big Brother's command for a few minutes, eliciting gasps from the other housemates and the admiration of viewers.
What would a house be without a garden? A stretch of turf big enough for sunbathing or a small game of football is all you can really expect from Big Brother. In early series, the garden was used to house chickens (to provide fresh eggs) and for a small allotment, but these features were scrapped after the chickens kept falling ill and it became clear few of the housemates knew how to cook asparagus - let alone pronounce it8.
The garden often includes a seating area, a small section of decking where housemates can congregate for a bitching session or a quick cuddle. As the Celebrity editions tend to take place in winter, the garden is often remodelled with heated seating areas and safety flooring (like you find in children's playgrounds) to avoid the grass becoming an unsightly quagmire in the wet weather.
The Pool / Hot Tub
Making the most of a household of exhibitionists, various BB shows have featured some kind of pool big enough for all the housemates to get into. In the first two series, this was a treat that was unveiled as a reward for success in a task, though it's been a staple feature of the house since its move to Elstree. Of course, when young people are combined with a pool and alcohol, that's when the flirting starts...
Although the cast of characters changes each series, there are a few elements of BB that remain the same - the regular presenters and narrator.
Marcus Bentley - The Voice of Big Brother
Whenever anyone tries to do an impression of BB, it's Marcus Bentley they inevitably turn to for inspiration. Hired for his warm, non-class-specific North-east accent, actor Marcus Bentley has been the narrator of the show since day one, series one. Innocuous phrases like 'Day nine in the Big Brother house' have become part of the collective cultural consciousness of the British public, to the extent that many of the contestants (including series six's Eugene Scully) have 'entertained' their housemates with woeful impressions of 'The Big Brother man'.
Davina McCall - Big Brother's Big Mother
The UK version of Big Brother is presented by Davina McCall. Previous to hosting the show, Davina was most famous for presenting the dating shows Streetmate and God's Gift. Davina has become an essential element to the show, complete with her own catch-phrase for eviction night: '[name of evictee] - I'm coming to get you!'. Davina has also became such a fan that she's said she can't imagine anyone else doing her job; she has presented two entire series of Big Brother series despite being heavily pregnant (which prompted her to wear 'Big Mutha' T-shirts). On eviction night, Davina informs the house who has received the most votes for eviction, giving them an hour to pack their bags. When they leave the house she tells the evictee that she's 'coming to get you' and is there to greet them on the outside and prepare them for a potential hostile reception form the crowds awaiting them. She then interviews them about their stay in the house as part of the live programme before showing them a compilation of their 'best bits'. Presenting the show has been a good career move for Davina, propelling her to household fame and giving her as many job offers as Carol Vorderman9, but it hasn't dimmed her enthusiasm for the show; whether it's the launch night, an eviction or the final edition, Davina remains as excitable and fascinated as even the loyalest of viewers.
Dermot O'Leary - Big Brother's Little Brother
Such is the obsession surrounding each series that a daily, early-evening magazine discussion programme runs concurrent with each series. Hosted by Dermot O'Leary, Big Brother's Little Brother interviews friends and family members of the contestants, holds national competitions for 'lookalikes' and charts the daily happenings and on-going rows, romances and regrets among the housemates. Though it contains footage that may also appear in the catch-up show shown later that evening, BBLB is less concerned with the competition than the viewers' reactions to it. Viewers call in to express their opinions about certain issues, while former housemates are invited to spend a week commenting on the latest events from the house that had been their home prior to their eviction. Celebrating the minutiae of the experience (including, one year, a secret camera fitted into a gnome in the garden), BBLB is unashamedly trivial and often more fun than the 'proper' shows.
Russell Brand - Big Brother's Big Mouth
As BB grew and grew to dominate the schedules of both Channel 4 and E4, series six was accompanied by not only BBLB but a new forum-style discussion programme called Big Brother's Big Mouth, hosted by stand-up comedian Russell Brand. The tone of the show is much more confrontational than BBLB, which more-than-justifies its late-night slot.
The Media Phenomenon
When a Big Brother series is running, newspapers, magazines, websites, TV and radio constantly use the programme as a discussion point and news source. This is partly down to the 'critical mass' factor, where once awareness has reached a certain point all media want to jump on to the bandwagon and be part of the event. Newspapers can increases sales by upwards of 15% by featuring a Big Brother news story prominently on the cover. As both an effect of the media hype and a cause for it, Big Brother becomes a common topic of conversation and gossip, which is an essential factor for any successful media product. EastEnders, for example, thrives on the idea that 'everybody's talking about it'. This happens to Big Brother on an even bigger scale as the series draws to a climax.
Most of the discussion in the media and among viewers is about the characteristics of the housemates. The all-seeing eye of Big Brother allows viewers to become familiarised with the contestants, with their every action, word and movement seen by the public. The public is quick to judge, and the whole nature of the Big Brother format puts the viewer in control of the contestants' destiny, with the power to choose who must leave and who must stay in the house. Opinions on whether individual contestants are good, bad, nice or horrible become hotly debated, often resulting in contestants becoming branded for certain characteristics, the most noticeable case of this being 'Nasty Nick' (Nick Bateman) from Series One.
The Big Brother phenomenon affects most of the media, but by far the biggest Big Brother enthusiasts are the tabloid press. During the period when the programme is running, the tabloids run stories about what is happening in the house (they must spend most of their time watching it), print their opinions on the different housemates, and often try to influence the voting. During the first series, one unscrupulous newspaper attempted to fly a model helicopter over the garden, dropping leaflets with 'Nick Lies' printed on them (see below). Luckily, Big Brother ordered the contestants inside before the housemates had a chance to read them, ensuring that the social isolation was preserved. The tabloids also try to find out about the constants' previous lives by approaching their friends and family with offers of money, in the hope of being able to print some shocking revelations. As the housemates emerge from the house one by one, the newspapers fight for their exclusive stories, to give a boost to sales. Coverage of Big Brother does not stop when the series ends either; the newspapers often continue to print stories about the contestants after they have left, with the Helen and Paul love story lasting for ages.
Series One (2000)
The first UK Big Brother series had the advantage of being a total novelty to television audiences in Britain, creating a huge hype around the show. The interest would not have been sustained, however, were it not for the great 'cast' of contestants and exciting events to happen in the show.
Note: Contestants are listed in reverse order of their eviction.
Craig Phillips: initially characterised during the series as 'the incredible sleeping man' due to his tendency to spend much of the day in bed. His other trait as the 'cheeky Scouser' came from some spectacularly tall stories that he shared with the other housemates.
Though he later emerged as the most popular housemate with the viewers, this was not the case with the other contestants, who frequently nominated Craig for eviction, forcing Craig to face a public vote on several consecutive weeks. Nevertheless, two events helped Craig win the first Big Brother contest. Firstly, he was the one who uncovered fellow contestant Nick Bateman's attempts to influence nominations. The sight of a dyslexic working-class builder calmly exposing the cheating ex-public-school Nick changed Craig's standing with the viewers. However, when a family member spoke to a tabloid newspaper about Craig's motivation for entering the competition, he won the hearts of the viewers - especially because he himself had never used his goal to aid his success inside the house.
It was only after being confirmed as the winner that Craig announced he would use the money to help fund an operation for a family friend. Jo needed a heart transplant operation but could not be treated under the NHS as she had Down's Syndrome and so was not considered a priority. His 'Heart for Jo' appeal was very successful and he raised all of the money needed.
Craig was quickly given a record deal for a timely Christmas single that, in fairness, was a flop. However, he later won a place as a DIY expert on BBC daytime television and has also made regular guest appearances in Channel 4's crude satirical comedy show Bo' Selecta!.
Anna Nolan: Coming a close second in the final vote, Anna was the most consistently popular housemate with the public during the series, attracting celebrity fans such as Zoe Ball and Norman Cook. Post-BB, the lesbian ex-nun presented several documentaries for the BBC, but with her star on the wane she went back home to live in Ireland. Anna took a guitar into the house and played a few songs, but did not release any records after the show.
Darren Ramsey: The only other contestant to stay the full time in the house, Darren came third in the series. Darren became famous for his love of the house chickens, after overcoming his initial phobia of them, developing a special relationship with the one called Marjorie.
Melanie Hill: Flirty Melanie had a brief affair with Andrew before his eviction, but seemed to pretty much forget him after he had gone. After the show, Melanie spoke out in the press and on television documentaries that she was upset with the way the programme makers portrayed her as a 'sexy minx' by selectively editing to manipulate situations for the benefit of ratings.
Claire Strutton: Brought in to replace Nick, and evicted soon after, Claire was famous for her surgically-enhanced breasts and attracting the sexual attention of Craig. Entering the house when she did, Claire might have seemed a bit of a threat to Mel, as at the time, Anna and Mel were the only girls in the house, and, as Anna was gay, Mel had previously had the boys to herself.
Tom McDermott: Another Irish contestant, Tom spent much of his time in the house flirting with Melanie once Andrew had left. He was well liked, as a calm, reasonable lad who did little to upset anyone in the house. It came as a great surprise to the British public to learn some months after the show had finished, that Tom and Claire were together and having a baby, despite having not spent much time together while in the house.
Nichola Holt: She quickly formed a friendship with Sada and Caroline, but Nichola was evicted early on. A vegetarian skinhead with a nose stud, she spent much time on art in the house, creating murals on the wall from magazine paper. In the very first week, she initiated an art project where some of the contestants stripped and covered themselves in mud, plastering themselves to the wall. She had an unsuccessful single release after leaving the house, and has appeared in adult films.
Nicholas Bateman: Easily the most famous contestant from the first Big Brother series, Nick caused a huge stir by being completely dishonest to the other contestants and as the only housemate worldwide ever to fool Big Brother.
Caroline O'Shea: 'Caggy' was characterised by her nasal laugh and layers of makeup. She was noticeable for her saxophone and for being the oldest housemate. She showed more open stress than anyone else, reacting badly to her nomination by the other contestants.
Andrew Davidson: Often called 'sleazy' by the British press, he had an early flirtation with Melanie, providing the show with its 'first kiss', but was evicted shortly after. Andrew was present in the studio when Mel was evicted, waiting hopefully with a bunch of flowers. It seems their brief liaison did not blossom into a relationship outside of the house.
Sada Walkington: Sada was the first contestant to be voted out of the house. Keen on alternative lifestyles, she tried to teach the others yoga, but was told off for trying to put tofu on the shopping menu. She claimed to be happy to leave the house, and went on to release a book.
'Nasty Nick' and the Nomination Scandal
At the beginning of the series, Nick was scolded along with the rest of the boys for plotting to nominate Caroline and Sada; Big Brother rules state that nominations must remain confidential and cannot be discussed. Despite this official warning, Nick continued to cheat by trying to manipulate nominations by showing other contestants names of who to nominate, written on pieces of paper with a pencil that he'd somehow smuggled into the house. Some of these illicit exchanges took place in a camera blind-spot that he had discovered.
After weeks of scheming, dastardly Nick was finally caught out when Tom confided in Craig that Nick had described him as 'treacherous' behind his back in a bid to influence Tom's vote. While Nick was away from the boys' bedroom, Craig and Darren rummaged through Nick's luggage and found the pieces of paper he'd used in his plot. Craig later spoke to some of the other housemates to see if they'd been aware of Nick's plans and eventually a house meeting was arranged for the following morning. Behind the scenes, the production team went mad and the show's producer had to be woken from her sleep to come to the studio and monitor the situation. Nick, the only housemate never to be nominated, was subsequently removed from the house by Big Brother. Such was the public rage against him, that three identical vehicles were employed as decoys when chauffeuring him away.
The other housemates were stunned at having been cheated, but also wondered why the contestants who had been shown notes by Nick (Tom and Mel) had not spoken out earlier. The event was the climax of the show, causing a huge hit on the webcams and giving the show a massive ratings boost. There was even a conspiracy theory circulated that Channel 4 had planted him Nick the house. Free from the show, Nick was paid a sum equal to the prize (£70,000) to write a column in a tabloid newspaper during the remainder of the series and later wrote a book offering advice on How To Be a Right B*****d. A year on, Nick appeared in the television game show The Weakest Link10 with other Reality TV celebrities and walked away the winner, another sign of his cunning and intelligence. Nick's past deeds were apparently forgiven in time for the 2004 Big Brother Panto, which brought contestants from various years together.
Series Two (2001)
Big Brother 2 kicked off in 2001 to much public anticipation, the first series having been a huge success. The major new feature this year came in the form of a live (actually, there was a ten minute delay) Big Brother feed on the digital television channel, E4. Despite the initial perception that the series wasn't as good as the previous one, lacking the novelty factor, the contestants eventually became just as loved as the previous ones. The show gained just as high an audience as it had the previous year, killing off the competition from rival Reality TV show Survivor, imported from the USA, which reduced its coverage halfway through the show.
Brian Dowling: Lovably camp Brian was the eventual winner of Big Brother 2. Brian, from Ireland, entertained viewers with his great sense of humour and mischief. Brian's only hard time in the house came during the period when Josh, also gay, was in the house. The two didn't get along at all, their different personalities clashing. Despite being gay, or perhaps because of it, Brian had a huge schoolgirl following. With young girls being a demographic most likely to phone vote, it is little surprise Brian won despite Helen's equal popularity. Brian said he would take the prize money home to Ireland and throw huge parties. On leaving the house he made TV history by becoming the first out gay man to present a children's TV show (ITV's SM TV Live).
Helen Adams: Widely tipped to win the series, Welsh hairdresser Helen, from Swansea, was loved by the public who enjoyed her charming naiveté and quirky mannerisms. She was famed for her relationship with Paul, with whom she dallied despite having entered the house in a relationship with boyfriend 'Big G', and also for the daft things she sometimes said. These 'Helenisms' included the quote that became a catchphrase, 'I like blinking, I do' (after failing to win in a staring competition), thinking that 'magic' was spelled with a 'j', and asking if there was chicken in chickpeas (no, Helen, there isn't). The glitter-clad girl finished second in the series, and left the house to a huge welcome and massive fan base.
Dean O'Loughlin: Emerging third from the Big Brother house, Brummie Dean was widely thought, by the public and the Big Brother psychiatrists, to be the father figure of the house. He looked after the other members of the house, though he often sniggered at their childishness, and was good friends with Brian and Elizabeth. Though often criticised for being boring and moany, Dean had a few great moments, including the fabulous moment where he pretended to be a gorilla and chased Brian around the room, a clip which was repeated many times. He came out of the house into the emotional arms of his loving girlfriend Vanessa, whom he had set aside a daily time for thinking about during his stay in the house.
Elizabeth Woodcock: Website designer Elizabeth was liked by the other contestants, but disliked by the public, resulting in her staying for the full length of time in the house, but being evicted fourth with only a small percentage of the population voting for her. She was disliked for being 'posh' and had a tendency to be snobby, though she was appreciated more towards the end of the series. One of the older members of the house, 27-year-old Elizabeth became the 'mother' figure of the household, doing most of the cooking and cleaning, and giving emotional support to the younger contestants. After leaving the house she returned to living with her 53-year-old boyfriend, who controversially had sold naked pictures of her to the tabloid press while she was in the house.
Paul Clarke: After a shaky start where Paul was initially disliked by the public, he came out of the house fourth and with tremendous affection from the viewers, mostly due to his romantic relationship with contestant Helen. Their relationship didn't really kick off until halfway into the programme, and didn't reach much of a conclusion in the house, mostly down to Paul's fears of repercussions from Helen's boyfriend. His love for Helen was revealed when he was there to meet her when she left the house, bearing gifts and a promise to take her on holiday.
Josh Rafter: Josh entered the house in a different way from the other contestants; he was voted in by the viewers, and only joined the others after they had been in the house for a week already. This made him an outsider from the beginning, and his position was made worse by a hostile reception from Brian.
Amma Antwi-Agyei: A former table dancer, Amma asserted herself strongly in the Big Brother house. Amma had an emotional time in the house, and revealed in interviews afterwards that she didn't think she behaved as herself, instead being overpowered by the stronger personalities of the other contestants. In her last moments before eviction she told the other housemates that 'they were all fantastic' and that she would miss them.
Paul 'Bubble' Ferguson: Bubble received a lot of attention from the tabloid press, who tried to dish a lot of dirt about his personal live (including a history of drug use) while he was in the house. Aged 25, he was one of the younger contestants, and with his unassuming charm was looked on upon fondly by the other housemates. Despite his youth, he is father to a baby girl, of whom he often spoke. Fourth to be evicted from the house, Bubble was the joker among the housemates and provided much entertainment.
Narinder Kaur: The first Asian contestant in the house, Geordie Narinda was loud, boisterous and a lot of fun. Narinda pleased the public by having no problem with giving reasons for nominating the other housemates, regularly slagging them off in the diary room chair. 'I don't see what all the fuss is about, I could have nominated five people in there,' she said in her interview with Davina, presenter of the show. Other than Brian, with whom she formed an extravagant double act, she made few friends in the house.
Stuart Hosking:Stuart didn't live a very high-key life in the Big Brother house. The father-of-three was the second person to be evicted from the house, having being identified by the housemates and most of the public as confrontation and argumentative. He spent much time topless, trying to top up his tan, and proved himself to be a fitness fanatic. He was thought to be overly competitive and smug in his attitude to the other housemates, qualities which do not get you far in Big Brother.
Penny Ellis: A teacher from London, Penny was the first to be evicted. She was thought of as bossy from the moment she entered the house, and irritated most of the other contestants with her fussiness and barking orders. The most significant moment for her in the house was when her towel accidentally dropped from being wrapped around her body after leaving the shower, revealing her naked body to thousands of Internet fans. After this she was criticised by her school and the teachers union for entering the game show when she was a role model to young kids. She didn't return to her school after leaving the house, instead opting to embark upon a showbiz career.
Series Three (2002)
Year three saw Big Brother adopt a more manipulative, 'evil' persona for the first time. The results of a game of basketball shots divided the household into 'rich' and 'poor' for a number of weeks, with some contestants living in the lap of luxury, separated by steel bars from the rest, who were forced to live on basic rations and pickings from the garden.
Kate Lawler: Fitness fanatic Kate quickly allied herself with Alison and Jonny in the first weeks, with whom she shared an enthusiasm for play-acting and group silliness. Kate left the house as the winner of the series, making her the first female winner in Big Brother history. Soon after leaving the house, she enjoyed a short run on Channel 4's breakfast magazine show Ri:se and her own radio show on London's Capital Radio before joining other celebrities on the ill-advised Celebrity Wrestling.
Jonny Regan:BB's first superfan entrant, fireman Jonny was a natural entertainer whose mission to enjoy himself and relish the experience led to a number of fiery confrontations with those housemates who were less up for making their own fun. Jonny suffered from insomnia inside the house, but for most of the series he remained the bookies' favourite to win. However, the public slowly warmed to Kate and ultimately Jonny left in second place. He's since moved into the entertainment industry, performing in a number of nostalgia-driven stage productions.
Alex Sibley: Instigator of 'Weegate' after he found a few drops of urine on the toilet seat, moaning Alex polarised viewers into extremes. His constant sniping, sullenness and griping wound up the other contestants, but his model looks and little-boy-lost reaction to Adele's flirtation won him a lot of ardent fans. On the outside, his obsession about hygiene led to him heading a short-lived advertising campaign for a domestic cleaning product.
Jade Goody: Having been very close to eviction at the end of the first week, all the traits that had annoyed the audience turned into endearing character quirks. Her naive, sometimes profoundly daft questions charmed the viewers even if they tested the patience of her housemates. Although she left the house on the final night in fourth place, it's estimated that she is, to date, the most financially successful contestant ever. She's had children, passed her driving test, released a fitness video and been a regular source of material for the gossip magazines. Years after she had her 15 minutes of fame, Jade remains a household name.
Tim Culley: Posh Tim was brought in as a replacement for Sandy. His attempts to gear the others into rebellion fell flat but not as much as his attempts to hide his natural hair colour. Though it appeared deep black, Tim's hair inspired the BBLB show to instigate 'Ginger Watch'.
Peter 'PJ' Ellis: Legal student PJ rarely made it into the nightly catch-up shows because, by his own admission, his swearing tended to be fairly constant. But his witty asides and generally fair-minded approach to situations fell by the wayside after a drunken fumble with Jade left viewers (and the tabloids) wondering 'did they or didn't they?'. When PJ accepted the reward of a video message from his family that would leave him automatically up for nomination, the viewers chose him for eviction, making him the first legitimate evictee to leave the house without being nominated by the other contestants.
Adele Roberts: Series one had Nasty Nick, but this house had possibly the most manipulative, bitchy housemate yet. Adele managed to play housemates off against each other, was adept at the muttered character assassination and left a few of her supposed friends wondering where they stood with her. But after a blazing row with Jade and a flirtation with the increasingly popular Alex, the bodybuilder DJ Adele was voted out. As she left the house, the boos from the crowd left the remaining housemates in shock, unaware of just how unpopular she'd been with the viewers.
Sophie Pritchard: Entering the house as a replacement for Sunita, Sophie found it difficult to bond with many of the housemates. As she began to develop a relationship with Lee, her days were numbered as she grew more and more isolated from the group. Lee and Sophie's relationship continued outside of the house, and a few years later the couple became proud parents of the first Big Brother baby.
Spencer Smith: Characterised as lazy and smelly by some of the other housemates, the laid-back Spencer appeared to be content simply to sit in solitude and avoid participation in group activities as much as possible. Popular both inside the house and outside, he patiently explained to Jade that he was from East Anglia (not 'East Angular'), which Jade had thought was abroad even though she'd also thought Cambridge was a district of London.
Lee Davey: Bodybuilder Lee entered the house with a long-term girlfriend on the outside, but his affections soon wandered when replacement housemate Sophie arrived. Perhaps because the pair cut themselves off from the other housemates, Lee found himself up for eviction and soon found himself on the outside...
Sandy Cumming: Ex-military man and personal shopper Sandy was the oldest member of the house and quickly tired of the playacting and games of his fellow housemates. Having planned his route of escape in advance, Sandy decided to leave the house after failing to be nominated by his peers - and chose to scale the roof of the house, climb over the other side and flee.
Alison Hammond: Alison's naturally loud and vivacious personality won her a lot of instant friends inside the house, but her solidarity with Jonny regarding a discussion about 'peeing in the shower' led to Alex nominating her for eviction. The public chose to side with Alex and Alison became a shock second evictee. Alison went on to become a regular reporter for daytime show This Morning and also took part i the first series of ITV's Celebrity Fit Club.
Lynne Moncrieff: Big Brother's first dramatic twist saw the viewers voting to nominate all of the housemates, with the two least popular contestants then up for nomination by the remaining housemates and the others having to decide which of them to keep. Lynne's confrontational approach to domestic conflict, plus Jade's traumatised reaction to the public vote, resulted in a unanimous show of support for Jade and eviction for Lynne.
Sunita Sharma: The first BB contestant to walk out rather than be evicted, Sunita found it difficult to relax inside the house and indulge in games like hide-and-seek. After less than a week, Sunita chose to leave by the back door.
Series Four (2003)
Though many viewers continued to tune in for the rows and conflicts, the production team chose more grounded, less tempestuous housemates for Series Four. Despite a number of clever twists and turns - including a hidden rewards room that changed its design each week - the series is generally considered to be the least exciting BB series ever.
Cameron Stout: A Christian from Orkney, Cameron might have appeared to be an unlikely winner of a competition noted for being a little more superficial than spiritual. But he won through and pledged to donate some of his money to his local church.
Ray Shah: Irish rebel Ray found his fiery temper and fondness for alcohol led to a number of hot-headed confrontations. But he also gained support for being the most direct and honest of the housemates.
Scott Turner: Likeable Scott was, like Sissy, from Liverpool. He followed in the footsteps of Paul and Jade from year two by entering into a flirtatious relationship with fellow housemate Nush.
Steph Coldicutt: Midlander Steph survived until the final week through diplomacy and resourcefulness. But who ever said being nice was a winning strategy in the Big Brother house?
Nush Nowak: Though she had a boyfriend on the outside, Nush slowly found herself drawn to Scott. When a tabloid newspaper managed to shout a message to her that her boyfriend had dumped her, Nush felt happier about spending time with Scott, but unlike Paul and Jade, this was not a romance that the viewers were interested in maintaining.
Lisa Jeynes: Bringing in a late additional housemate as a surprise might have seemed like desperation on the part of the production team, but Lisa's claim that she could kill a man with one finger failed to impress the others. As she became more and more ostracised from the group, even Cameron found it hard to apply his Christian values to someone he disliked so intensely.
Gos Gosal: Professional chef Gos kept his housemates well fed during his stay, but his mild personality and long bouts of sleeping during the day meant he failed to earn enough support from the viewers to keep him in.
Tania do Nascimento: Tania was famous more for her enthusiastic use of makeup than any of her activities inside the house.
Gaetano Kagwa: While Cameron went on a secret mission to the BB house in Africa, Gaetano was brought from Africa to London for a week. Initially baffled by the considerably more tame and uptight British house, Gaetano enjoyed his brief stay by livening things up with a few well-chosen words to provoke reactions - such as comparing Tania to a pig and then claiming it was affectionate. When he left, many viewers felt they'd lost the one really interesting contestant of the series.
Jon Tickle: Self-confessed boring geek Jon discovered that his mad inventions and enthusiasm for Star Trek failed to win enough support to keep him in the house. But in a surprise turnabout, the viewers later voted him back into the house to become their confidante. While the other housemates tried to work out why Jon had returned, Jon left them all in the dark, eventually leaving the house on the final day via a secret door in the Diary Room. By the time of his second departure, the viewers had warmed to him enough to wish they'd left him in all those weeks before. Though he wasn't the eventual winner, he was by far the most popular of all the housemates in year four. Jon has remained in the public eye, becoming a regular presenter on Sky One's science programme Brainiac.
Federico Martone: A cheeky Scot who was directly responsible for the failure of a number of tasks during his spell, Federico's opinionated stance on the role of women in society led to him facing the wrath of the public.
Sissy Rooney: Flame-haired Liverpudlian Sissy found the experience a little emotional, spending many hours in tears. The impatient public grew tired of her and sent her packing.
Justine Sellman: As viewers became accustomed to the way things work, they also became a lot more ruthless. Justine didn't do anything particularly bad to be evicted, but she didn't stand out from the crowd too much either.
Anouska Golebiewski: On launch night for Series Four, evil Big Brother forced the Housemates to nominate one person on the very first night together based on first impressions. Anouska learned later in the week that she'd become that year's first evictee from the house. She made up for her short stay in the UK house when she was shipped over to Australia to spend a few days in their own Big Brother house.
Series Five (2004)
After the lukewarm response to the previous year, the production team set about selecting housemates that were guaranteed to create conflict. The careful selection processes were abandoned in favour of open auditions akin to shows like Pop Idol. The housemates were then taken out of the country for two weeks, meaning that they were already a little stir-crazy before they even entered the house. The result? Day 20, which saw the biggest fight in the history of Big Brother: the house was trashed; the police were called; security guards entered the house to quell the row; one housemate booted out and another so severely traumatised by the violence that she vomited in the bathroom. By the time it was all over, three weeks had gone by and still no-one had actually been properly evicted by a public vote. The series saw some of the most inventive concepts ever, such as a boot camp, a hidden flat for two housemates to share in secret while spying on the other housemates and a surprise eviction in the final week. It was hard to watch, difficult to stomach and yet it was also the most compelling series yet.
Nadia Almada: Portuguese transsexual Nadia chose not to tell her housemates about her past. For her, the experience was about being accepted as a woman. Nadia had an emotional journey, including some tempestuous rows about food fights (culminating in 'Day 20'), tantrums about running out of cigarettes and a breakdown at the sudden realisation that she was in with a chance of winning after the surprise eviction of another housemate two days before the final. She emerged from the house as a winner and went on to star in her own reality TV show for a cable channel, as well as spending a few days in the Australian Big Brother house.
Jason Cowan: Former military man, amateur builder and self-confessed owner of 'the most beautiful buttocks' in his home town, Jason found the wasteful food fights and disrespectful attitude of some of his housemates too much to take. After seeing Emma and Michelle return to the house and then losing his temper with Nadia and Marco for instigating another food fight on 'Day 20', Jason withdrew from general interaction with the other housemates, spending time only with Dan and Victor. His eviction interview with Davina was especially difficult as he'd been convinced (perhaps unsurprisingly) that the public would have sided with him rather than Nadia and later complained to the press that he felt he'd been cheated of victory because of Nadia's personal history.
Daniel Bryan: Possibly the most intelligent housemate ever to enter the house, certainly one of the most diplomatic, gay hairdresser Dan was a prime figure in mending wounds, building bridges and moving on from the events of Day 20. His wit and compassion won him many fans, though his announcement that he had no desire to win the competition possibly explained his ranking as the final result might otherwise have been dramatically different.
Shell Jubin: For Shell, the BB experience was possibly as big a personal journey of discovery as everyone bar Nadia. Her good manners and gentle personality didn't prepare her for the sometimes horrific outbursts of anger in the house, but she survived until the final night and maintained her dignity even after performing a streak across the garden while mowing the lawn.
Stuart Wilson: Stuart boasted during his audition that he would be the most intelligent person ever to step into the house, and later admitted to his housemates that his friends on the outside called themselves 'team handsome'. Far from being arrogant, however, Stuart revealed a playful side when he began to adopt a variety of characters, including a caveman and a cowboy. Any chance Stuart may have had of winning was possibly hampered by a rather suffocating relationship with Michelle.
Michelle Bass: Although Michelle left the house with Emma in week two, it was not the eviction that they - or the other housemates - had thought. Diverted to a secret annex nearby, Michelle and Emma spent almost a week in 'the bedsit' spying on the house via cameras. by the time they returned to the house, Michelle's feelings for Stuart had become rather intense and she became determined not to let him out of her sight - indeed, the couple some time hidden from cameras in a special 'love nest' constructed by Michelle, prompting speculation that they became the first couple to 'do it' on the show. Despite being nominated a number of times by her fellow housemates, Michelle found herself up for eviction one final time - not through nomination, but as a result of a secret task given to Bekki (see below).
Victor Ebuwa: One half of the 'Jungle Cat' gang along with Jason, Victor entertained viewers with a faux-gangster rapper persona in the diary room and a stream of surprisingly bitchy monologues about his fellow housemates. Though he managed to balance his bitching with open confrontation, it was a row with Shell that spoiled Victor's chances and saw the public turn against him.
Ahmed Aghil: Asylum seeker Ahmed was the oldest of the housemates and found it the hardest to settle in. He refused to take part in the Boot Camp task and attempted to stage a (frankly embarrassing) coup. He also faced confrontations with Marco, manipulation by Jason and Victor and a violent altercation with some plates before he was finally evicted.
Becki Seddiki: Bekki was brought into the house as a replacement for Emma and immediately made her mark by pretending to be a guest from Big Brother Italia. Once the truth was revealed, she was later set a secret mission to select one person for nomination by presenting them with a 'Judas kiss'. The person she chose was Michelle...
Marco Sabba: Loud, camp, obnoxious and selfish, Marco's free spirit won him the support of Michelle, Emma and Nadia (the rest of the self-titled 'Lipgloss Bitches'), but proved too great an irritation for others. Fond of honking like a seal and shrieking tunelessly along to his favourite songs, the public voted him out the first chance they got.
Vanessa Nimmo: South African Vanessa formed an initial bond with Jason, though her ardour later cooled. Despite surviving four weeks in the house, due to the many twists and turns early on she became an unlikely first genuine evictee of the fifth series.
Emma Greenwood: Bubbly, cheerful but a bit ditzy, Emma annoyed some of the housemates by walking in on them while on the toilet. Even when a big sign saying 'EMMA, PLEASE KNOCK' was etched into the toilet door, she continued to provide unwelcome interruptions. She was removed from the house with Michelle and placed in the bedsit where she was shown footage from the house and gained an unprecedented insight into the two-faced nature of some members of the house. Despite rehearsing a cover story with Michelle for their return, the temptation to speak her mind and confront Victor provided a catalyst for Day 20. As the production team separated various contestants to different parts of the house, Emma was returned to the bedsit and after two days it was decided not to let her return to the main house. Emma became the second successive contestant to leave without being put to the public vote.
Kitten Pinder: Gay activist and anarchist Kitten caused a stir before she'd even entered the house when she refused to go through the doors until she'd been reunited with her girlfriend, who she'd been kept away from for two weeks. She refused to take part in tasks, challenged every rule, climbed onto the roof of the house in protest and was finally evicted by order of Big Brother. Even then, she refused to leave, claiming 'Squatters' rights' and it was only when it was revealed that her presence would reduce the prize fund set aside for the eventual winner than Kitten was persuaded to leave.
Series Six (2005)
A secret garden, weekly secret missions, hidden surveillance equipment and invitations to collude with Big Brother himself were all part of one of the single most entertaining series ever. Critics may have condemned it for being 'too racy', but it was as compelling as ever.
Anthony Hutton: Geordie dancer Anthony posed for the cameras when he entered the house and was booed by the crowds, yet at the end of the competition he emerged as the winner - thanks in part to his granny making frantic phone calls on his behalf.
Eugene Sully: Another Evil Big brother trick was pulled when three new contestants were brought into the house only to be ushered into a 'Secret Garden' annex. With Makosi issued with the secret mission of keeping the housemates clothed, fed and, well, secret from the others, it also fell on her shoulders to select one of the three new people for eviction before they'd even become proper housemates. As Kinga was excluded, Makosi selected Eugene to be one of the two who made it in. Eugene was intelligent, sensitive and very self aware of his image as a geek. Obsessive about radio masts and topics that few of the others had any interest at all, Eugene was an unlikely runner-up and - to date - the most successful late arrival in a BB competition.
Makosi Musambasi: On her first night in the house, former Zimbabwean cardiac nurse Makosi was issued with a secret mission to alienate the other housemates and ensure she received more nominations for eviction than anyone else - which, perversely, would ensure her immunity from eviction. From that point on, fearless / reckless Makosi threw herself into every possible opportunity, leaving her in charge of the three secret housemates and locked in a cage hoisted above the garden. But her constant play-acting left many of the others wary of her - including Kemal, with whom she had been initially very close. A drunken late-night romp in the swimming pool with Anthony led her to claim that she might be pregnant, despite Anthony insisting they hadn't actually gone that far. On her eviction from the house, in third place, she received one of the most savage receptions from the crowds ever and a rather confrontational interview with Davina. Outside of the house, Makosi later faced a more serious form of eviction when she was temporarily threatened with deportation from the UK.
Kinga Karolczak: Though Makosi decided not to choose her as one of the two new housemates, Kinga got a second chance after Orlaith's departure. Aware that with just two weeks to go she had little chance of winning, Kinga made the very most of her short time in the house. She spent many hours singing, to Derek's pleasure and Makosi's annoyance, but it was for her drunken sexual antics with a wine bottle that she will be best remembered. Oh the shame!
Craig Coates: Though Craig was fairly guarded about his own sexuality while in the house, the viewers became aware that the attention he lavished upon Anthony was at times terrifyingly obsessive. Anthony himself seemed oblivious to events most of the time but even he had cause to snap back at the clinging Craig when he insisted that the others we out to 'destroy [his] character'. As in the previous year, the producers staged an eviction two days before the final and Craig left in fifth place.
Derek Laud: Former speech-writer for Margaret Thatcher, Derek decided to enter the house to become, as he saw it, the only Tory to know anything about genuine popular culture. Though he seemed to loathe every second and every person in the house, his eccentric ways and blunt manner won him a lot of support.
Orlaith McAllister: Though Irish model Orlaith (pronounced 'Orlah') was chosen by Makosi to join Eugene as a proper housemate, she found herself in almost constant conflict with Science. Even after his departure, she contemplated walking almost hourly until, the morning after she beat Kemal in a public vote, she decided to leave.
Kemal Shahin: Melodramatic, bitchy, cross-dressing student Kemal set out to make an impression from the word go when he entered the house dressed as a Turkish belly-dancer. Though he happily indulged in bitching and delivered some of the most exuberant monologues the Diary Room has ever seen, his very large personality was too much for some.
Kieron 'Science' Harvey: The self-proclaimed voice of the people was argumentative, stubborn and uncompromising, but somehow Science kept surviving eviction week after week. Until Week Eight, that is...
Vanessa Layton-McIntosh: When Evil Big Brother told housemates that nominations were optional, all the housemates who decided not to nominate were automatically put up to a public vote. The two housemates with the highest votes were Vanessa and Makosi. The housemates were then informed that they had to decide which of the two to evict - and gossip-loving Vanessa was evicted by six votes to one.
Maxwell Ward: King of catchphrases such as 'off the hook' and 'f*** about', Maxwell and his small group spent most of their time playing practical jokes on themselves and each other. While the viewers certainly love a good fight, the sight of Maxwell using a toilet brush holder to drown another housemate in water was too much to stomach.
Saskia Howard-Clarke: As the house appeared to be dividing along racial lines, further divisions were caused by a relationship between buxom Saskia and cheeky Maxwell. Though some suspected that their relationship was a ploy for viewer sympathy, Saskia and Maxwell maintained their relationship after leaving the house and moved in together soon after.
Roberto Conte: Italian Roberto tried the same trick that had helped Gos survived two years earlier. While no-one faulted Roberto's cooking, his short temper led to a fair few rows before his departure.
Sam Heuston: Famous for giggling, wearing very little and not much else, Sam's respite from Lesley was short-lived as the public decided they didn't like her either.
Lesley Sanderson: Ever wondered what it would be like to come last in a popularity contest? Leslie found out when the entire household were put up to the public vote because Vanessa openly discussed nominations. Lesley, who had spent the first two weeks in a vicious bitchy row with Sam, discovered that having the biggest boobs in Huddersfield (apart from her Mum and her Nan) weren't enough to win the public over.
Mary O'Leary: White witch Mary entered the house with a cloak and broomstick. But her dramatic arrival and claims of psychic powers hadn't prepared her for the intensity of life inside the house. Almost from day one she felt that she'd made a mistake in entering the house and so wasn't too surprised to be the first evictee.
Series Seven (2006)
The seventh series began its longest ever series - 13 long weeks - on 18 May, 2006. Though other series had commenced on a Friday night, this series took the lead from the previous celebrity edition to start on a Thursday. Though the competition for the £100,000 prize kicked off with 12 initial contestants, by series end over 20 hopefuls came through those doors - some of them more than once. One replacement housemate was selected for entry by a lottery, others had been on standby since the beginning.
The house was designed with an 'inside-out' scheme of flock wallpaper patterns around the small garden and fake grass in place of carpet. Glass walls ensured there was nowhere to hide in the complex while the overall design was significantly smaller than previous houses.
As revealed a month into the show, the house was accompanied by 'the house next door' which was home to five new contestants hoping to win access to the main house (but only four of the five would be successful), while the second house also posed as a prison for one task (which also contained a secret garden) and a final home for a group of previously-evicted housemates hoping to get a second chance in the final week.
Pete Bennett: For the first time in the show's history, the winner of the competition was obvious from its first night as Pete ran into the house and promptly fell down the stairs to the main door. Pete had Tourette's syndrome, making speech difficult for him at times of stress, though his cycle of whistles, meows and the word 'W***er' won him fans almost instantly. He was also universally popular inside the house, providing a sympathetic ear for all and a fair-minded approach to house disputes. Some housemates - notably Glyn - had assumed that he was lazy as he spent long times in bed. However this was later revealed to be a side-effect of his disability. On her return to the house, Nikki leapt to Pete's side until her eviction from the house and the pair announced they'd entered into a relationship.
Glyn Wise: Head boy at his school and a part-time life-guard, Glynn was one of the youngest-ever contestants in a full BB competition and certainly the least-experienced in the kitchen. The little song he sang to himself in the kitchen one day ('I'm boiling an egg for the very first time - awoooh!') was released as a mobile phone ringtone. On leaving the house, Glyn was overjoyed to hear he'd received support from the whole of his native Wales for promoting Welsh as his first language.
Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace: Brought in as an early replacement alongside Sam, Aisleyne's street ghetto talk marked her as a character for viewers. When she was evicted in sixth place, Aisleyne was terrified of facing boos and jeers from the awaiting crowd. But her fears were allayed when she was instead guided into the 'House Next-door' to become its first secret housemate. The respite came with a twist, however, as she was given the task of evicting her new housemates one per day, not knowing if they were leaving the game completely or just moving into the main house. Her decision to exclude Jonathan on the final night left her traumatised for hours. She was genuinely shocked at being the 'last girl' in the house.
Richard Newman: Richard declared himself a sexual terrorist and entered the house dressed as a New York hustler. The 33-year-old Canadian provided a shoulder to cry on for the more emotional housemates and - amazingly - even had tactics to contain Nikki's more exuberant rants, but his extremely bitchy one-liners in the diary-room made Richard one of the most entertaining housemates of the year. Some may have thought him superficial, but when he was awarded a letter from home that revealed news of his mother's chemotherapy, his fellow housemates realised just how strong Richard had been during his time in the house.
Jennie Corner: Entering the house vai the 'House next-door', 18-year-old sales adviser Jennie outlasted all the others and, thanks to a winning ticket during a task, got safe passage to the final night.
Susie Verrico: The 43-year-old former model was the winner of a lottery run via a promotion in chocolate bar wrappers. Despite being written off as 'dull' by some of her housemates, and ultimately erroneous concerns on the outside world that the lottery had been fixed, she survived until the penultimate week, evicted as part of a surprise double eviction that had the housemates... completely unconcerned because they'd worked it all out in advance anyway. Interesting fact - Susie had played one of the vacuous models in Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love' video.
Mikey Dalton: Mikey, from Liverpool, initially claimed he hated feminists and 'ugly people'. He became a mentor for Glyn in the mysteries of women and seemed to have enough admirers within the hosue to keep him happy. Managing to avoid eviction until the penultimate week, a series of petty rows with other housemates in the final weeks saw him nominated in the penultimate week. His eviction formed part of a double eviction, with Mikey departing shortly before Susie.
Michael Cheshire and Spiral (aka Glen Coroner): Michael and Spiral also entered the house via the 'House Next Door'. As Dublin rapper Spiral pursued Aisleyne in vain, student Michael clashed with Richard until a letter from home revealed Richard's motivations for being in the house were more honourable than anyone had credited him for. Paired off in a 'best friends' task, Michael and Spiral were evicted at the same time and had a joint eviction interview with Davina.
Imogen Thomas: Former Miss Wales (2003), Imogen was a fluent Welsh-speaker, a talent she shared with Glyn. The pair thought they'd be immune to Big Brother's attention until they were surprised by the arrival of an equally-fluent Welsh Big Brother.
Lea Walker: 35-year-old Lea, from Nottingham, claimed to have the largest breast implants in Britain, and has spent £35,000 on plastic surgery. The crowds booed her as she entered the house but it soon became clear that she was a sensitive individual. She fell for Pete and had mixed feelings about being viewed by her housemates as a mother-figure alongside Richard in a paternal role.
Jayne Kitt: Initially entering via the 'House Next Door', Aisleyne selected 36-year-old Jayne as the first to be evicted, unsure whether this meant 'goodbye' or just 'see you later'. Lucky for Jayne, she was moved into the main house, where she managed to stay for just under two weeks before exhausting the patience of her housemates with her impressive belching.
Nikki Grahame: Spoilt brat or spirited individual: while the audience bickered over which of these applied to Nikki, the 24-year-old model certainly had everyone talking with her daily tantrums and screaming fits being sparked off by the absence of mineral water in the house, her own inability to use an MP3 player or just not getting her own way on any number of very trivial matters. Prior to her eviction, Nikki bonded with Richard, Lea and especially Pete, so when she won the chance to enter the 'House Next Door' the remaining housemates selected her for a second chance in the main house. Eventually finishing fifth on the final night, she seemed shell-shocked and confused as she emerged. If this was a strategy to avoid being booed by the crowds outside, it failed...
Jonathan Leonard: Unique up to that point in BB history, mild-mannered Jonathan was the first contestant not to set foot in the actual Big Brother house. One of five contestants to be selected for the smaller 'House Next Door', the 25-year-old bouncer from Cumbria got down to the final two before Aisleyne was given the task of selecting who to evict for good. Unlucky Jonathan handled the situation admirably and hugged her before saying goodbye.
Lisa Huo: Lisa was born in Shanghai but raised in Manchester. The 27-year-old was famed for her love of swearing and a confrontational approach to situations.
Grace Adams-Short: A self-confessed 'Sloane Ranger', the 20-year old dance teacher appeared to be a popular housemate with some, though the viewers took against her constant bitching about other housemates. The fourth full evictee later reappeared to live in the 'House next-door' and was granted a 'key to the door' for 20 minutes at the point of midnight to celebrate her 21st birthday, though the housemates did not select her to return to the main house. Grace paired off with Mikey early on and was reunited with him on his eviction.
Sam Brodie: 19-year-old unemployed nail technician Sam was male but was happy with a fluid gender that led most of the housemates to address him as a woman. He entered the house along with Aisleyne as a replacement housemate but soon fell victim to bitching, notably from Sezer and Grace. Sadly, Sam's stay in the house was a brief one.
Sezer Yurtseven: Turkish-Cypriot Sezer successfully stood up to the oppressive Shahbaz early on, but he also fell foul of Richard and soon the two were at war. Seser's attempt at tactical voting with Imogen excluded the pair from nominating, though in the event the housemates had already individually selected him to be one of three to face the public vote. His eviction at the end of week two left him with the unenviable title of 'Least Popular Housemate Ever' after 91.6% of the voting public chose for him to leave.
George Askew: 'Posh' George, 19, claimed to have connections with the Royal Family before entering the house. Sadly, part-way into week two he decided he didn't wish to become a BB celebrity so he requested to leave.
Bonnie Holt: 2006's first genuine evictee, Bonnie was a 20 year-old care worker who claimed she would bring 'everything and... everything' to the house. Viewers felt she'd brought nothing and booted her just nine days into the competition.
Dawn Blake: Dawn, from Birmingham, insisted that she had no intention of making friends while in the house. As it was, she didn't get much chance. Nominated for eviction in the first week, she was removed from the house after a family member contacted the production team with an urgent message that was later revealed to be a pre-arranged code (a breach of one of the main BB rules).
Shahbaz Chauhdry: Shahbaz's confrontational, demanding, melodramatic approach to life in the house managed to irritate most of his housemates before the first night had ended. In his introductory video the 37-year-old gay Muslim Glaswegian claimed to have been unemployed for 21 years. By the end of his second day, viewers were convinced he was suicidal. His departure before the end of the first week came as a relief to most inside the house and out.
Celebrity Big Brother
Half a year after the Big Brother 1 series came a special celebrity version for the Comic Relief event. The series only lasted a week, with six contestants, one nominated each day, but made fascinating viewing nevertheless. The show was co-hosted by Channel 4 (who own the rights for the UK version of the show) and BBC One, who were hosting the other Comic Relief events. All money earned from the phone polls went towards the Comic Relief cause.
Since then, Channel 4 has produced further celebrity editions, with each contestant selecting their own charity to raise money for. This is the breakdown for each series.
Celebrity Big Brother 2001
Jack Dee A dry, witty comedian, Jack Dee provided bags of entertainment for the audience by being very depressive about the whole situation and desperate to leave the house. He tried to rebel against Big Brother by escaping from the house, only to be picked up by security guards some time later, and running out to hug his wife during another contestant's eviction.
Claire Sweeney Taking a short break from the television soap Brookside, Claire benefited from the Big Brother experience by becoming more well known to the public and demonstrating her singing talent.
Keith Duffy: A singer from well known Irish pop band Boyzone, Keith demonstrated during his time in the house that he was more than an idol for teenage girls to scream at. Keith spent more time than anyone else talking about sex and sexual matters, but gently humoured the audience, who came to look upon him affectionately.
Vanessa Feltz: Vanessa, a journalist and ex-chat show host, seemed to become traumatised by the whole Big Brother experience, starting to write a string of words on the table at one point, and defying Big Brother's calls for her to enter the Diary Room. Vanessa frequently broke down into tears, and was described by Jack Dee as 'emotionally unstable'.
Anthea Turner: A previous Blue Peter presenter, Anthea was for a long time the face of the British National Lottery. She fared well in the house, again revealing herself to an audience who only had a single impression of her. In a statement that was not broadcast on the programme, but revealed by tabloid newspapers afterward, Anthea admitted to having used cannabis in a stew once - no huge crime, but a fuss was made nevertheless.
Chris Eubank: First contestant evicted. The ex-boxer provided much hilarity by prancing around the house in his long robes, often on his scooter, oblivious to what people thought of him. Calm and dignified throughout, he remarked when leaving the house that his purpose was to provide entertainment for the public and to raise money for charity.
Celebrity Big Brother 2003 Contestants
Mark Owen: The former member of boyband Take That stormed to victory, showing that his old fan base were just waiting for him to return. Although his solo career was briefly resurrected, in 2005 Owen announced plans to reform Take That (minus Robbie Williams) for a huge series of reunion concerts in 2006; tickets for the events sold out within half an hour.
Les Dennis: Troubled comedian Les struggled to relax in the house while outside the tabloids raked through his private life.
Sue Perkins: Comedian Sue gave Big Brother some of the funniest reasons for nominating her fellow housemates, including 'I'm pretty sure she's trying to kill me'.
Melinda Messenger: The bubbly former model managed to be cheerful and enthusiastic throughout her short stay in the house.
Anne Diamond: At one time one half of the most famous partnership on Breakfast TV, Anne's mumsy approach kept her in the house only up until the second vote.
Clifford 'Goldie' Price: Urban musician and sometime actor Goldie found that his sense of humour was at odds with the others, leading to his early departure.
Celebrity Big Brother 2005
Mark 'Bez' Berry: Famed for dancing alongside indie band Happy Mondays in the 1990s, Bez charmed the viewers with his straight-forward, honest approach to himself and his new housemates.
James 'Kenzie' MacKenzie: Few viewers over the age of 16 would have been able to pick Kenzie out in a line-up prior to this series, but the one-time Blazin' Squad member impressed many BB fans for being polite, friendly and enthusiastic about the experience. he was also notable for being the youngest person ever to take part in a Big Brother contest.
Brigitte Nielsen: The blonde Amazonian actress had already taken part in similar reality TV shows in the US and was a little underwhelmed by the more sedate British contestants.
Jeremy Edwards: Actor Jeremy quickly bonded with Kenzie and spent most of his time in the house laughing and joking.
Caprice Bourret: Supermodel and would-be singer Caprice tried to be nice to everyone - ooh, terrible tactical error there, Caprice!
Lisa I'Anson: Selected to be Queen of the House during a surreal Medieval pageant task, Lisa tried her best to be patient with John's tantrums but was next in line to follow him out of the house.
John McCririck: The racing tipster made for fascinating though sometimes uncomfortable viewing. Livid at being denied the basic right of, er, diet cola, John spent days on end sulking and refusing to take part in the event.
Jackie Stallone: The 'psychic' mother of actor Sylvester Stallone was a shock late entrant to the show. She never seemed to grasp the basic concept of the series, and matters were not helped by the presence of her former daughter-in-law Brigitte in the house. What might have been a despicably cynical move on the part of the producers backfired as Jackie and Brigitte found common ground that had been sadly lacking when Brigitte and Sly were together. Nevertheless, viewers chose to evict Jackie and keep John McCririck - much to John's disappointment.
Germaine Greer: The legendary feminist writer Germaine tired of what she perceived as a tendency towards bullying from the Big Brother persona and became the first celebrity to give up on the show. She later wrote an insightful article on the experience in her newspaper column.
Celebrity Big Brother 2006
Celebrity editions are usually fairly tame affairs but this series saw more open conflict than ever before. It also saw the first ever house guest, with legendary DJ Jimmy Saville paying a visit to cheer the housemates up and make some of their dreams come true11.
Chantelle Houghton: In reality a model and PR girl, Chantelle is not a genuine celebrity but was placed into the line-up as a joke on the other housemates but, after winning a task, was allowed to stay in the house until eviction. When the viewers latched on the the comedy potential of voting the non-celebrity the winner, Chantelle quickly became the bookies' favourite to win. Her eventual victory in the series came as a complete shock to her - she exclaimed at one point 'Are you sure?' - and as a reward for coming first, Big Brother rewarded her with a prize of £25,000.
Michael Barrymore: Dennis might be the biggest name worldwide, but at one time Michael was the single biggest star on British TV until the death of a guest at his house caused him to leave the UK for New Zealand. Long tipped to be the outright winner, Barrymore came top of the real celebrities and emerged from the house to ecstatic cheers from the crowds.
Andrew 'Maggot' Majors: Maggot is a member of Welsh rap group Goldie Lookin' Chain. On entering the house, he wittily claimed he was 'just here to make up the numbers' and successfully managed to avoid conflict in the house by never becoming a firm member of any one group. His diplomacy while in the house was accountable for a respectable third place on the night of the final.
Sam Preston: Member of band The Ordinary Boys and, finishing in fourth place, he was the first housemate to leave without the pantomime boos from the crowds that have become the norm. Though his relationship with Chantelle looked like it might have become the first Celebrity BB romance, the pair insisted they were just friends - much to the relief of Preston's girlfriend on the outside. Preston and George Galloway were punished for discussing nominations by being forced to nominate three housemates between them for eviction. It was only when they left the Diary Room that they learned their nominations had been shown to the other housemates...
Pete Burns: Frontman for 1980s pop group Dead or Alive, Pete celebrates sexual ambiguity and has undergone extensive cosmetic surgery to create his unique look. His aggressive, ultra-bitchy approach towards the others saw him nominated for eviction more than any other housemate, but he managed to stay until the final day, finishing fifth. His decision to enter the house with a fur coat allegedly made from gorilla skins led to a police investigation that resulted in Big Brother surrepticiously confiscating the coat. When Pete discovered of the theft, he protested by refusing to attent the eviction that saw Rula leave the house. Despite his caustic attitude and crude insults, Pete's intelligence and wit made him one of the most fascinating participants of the series.
Traci Bingham: Model and former Baywatch star, Traci survived eviction until the final when she was the first of the surviving hosuemates to leave, finishing in sixth place.
Dennis Rodman: One of the all-time great American basketball players, Dennis was laid back and seemingly unfazed by the situation, though it was often difficult to know whether he was being cool or was just bored by the experience. He left the house after a surprise second eviction two days before the final.
George Galloway: 'Respect' MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, George's stance against the war in Iraq made him one of the most controversial housemates ever. Though he tried to use his time in the house to promote his political views, George will be best remembered by BB fans for pretending to be a cat and eating out of Rula Lenska's hands during a surreal task. He was twice warned about discussing nominations with his fellow housemates and as well as being forced to nominate publicly with Preston, he was also forbidden from nominating in the final round. George left the house as the first of two evictions on the Wednesday before the final.
Rula Lenska: Classical actress who shot to fame in the 1970s TV show Rock Follies.
Fariah Alam: Victim of tabloid journalism after high-profile affairs with two figures in the sporting world, Fariah was keen to clear her reputation with the public. Her nomination and subsequent in the second week hit her hard.
Jodie Marsh: Glamour model Jodie wanted to change the way people view her, but the viewers chose her to be the first evictee of the series.
Celebrity Big Brother 2007
Celebrity editions are always something a little out of the ordinary, but the 2007 run drew some unprecedented attention from the media. Questions were asked in the House of Commons about its suitability and it even threatened to spark off a diplomatic row with India.
All because of a roast chicken and some stock cubes.
Shilpa Shetty: For many viewers, the Bollywood actress was a rank outsider when she entered the house. It took a spate of bullying and allegedly racist bitching, of which Shetty was the victim, for her to emerge as the bookies' firm favourite and eventual winner. Fans of the show warmed to her gracious handling of horrific verbal abuse from Jade Goody and her hilarious 'Aunt Jamela' impression in the diary room.
Jermaine Jackson: Former child pop-star Jermaine played peacemaker in the house, naturally assuming the role of father-figure to the younger housemates. One highlight came when he was asked in the diary room to make Big Brother laugh. He sat, blank-faced, while shaking maracas.
Dirk Benedict: One-time star of Battlestar Galactica and The A Team, Dirk entered the Big Brother compound in an A Team-style transit van to enthusiastic cheers from the crowds. However, inside the house he began to develop a reputation for being grumpy and rude to his other housemates - something he later admitted had been his strategy to provoke his housemates into evicting him early. The plan failed and the public kept him in until the final night.
Ian Watkins: Formerly known as 'H' from his years as a member of pop band Steps, Ian came out as gay just one day before he entered the house. Though he found much of the bullying and arguments stressful, he worked hard to maintain neutrality among his feuding housemates.
Jack Tweed: Entering the house more as a stunt than a celebrity, Jack's sole claim to fame was that he was the boyfriend of Jade Goody. Barely speaking for most of his time in the house, he nevertheless made his mark by asking Big Brother 'Why do I have nipples' and performing a 'dance' in a thong that left little to the imagination.
Danielle Lloyd: Disgraced Miss Great Britain12, Lloyd brought a bit of glamour to the house, perhaps undermined by her harsh Liverpool accent and conversations peppered with foul language. Her part in the alleged bullying of Shilpa Shetty (including an unguarded comment about wishing Shilpa would f- off home) made her unpopular with viewers, who voted her last of the remaining housemates on the final eviction night.
Cleo Rocos: Famous as the sidekick of comedian Kenny Everett, Cleo entered the house with a selection of wigs and costumes for her characters that she planned to slip in and out of to keep everyone entertained. However, her baiting of Dirk with a sexually predatory character backfired and she inadvertently alienated Dirk.
Jo O'Meara: Like Ian, Jo had known the dizzy heights of pop stardom when she'd been a member of pop band S Club 7. Many of her housemates had commented that she was a genuine person and someone they truly liked. This validation backfired as she became embroiled in the ongoing racism controversy due to her allegiance to Danielle and Jade, who she had known outside the house. She left the house as part of a double eviction with Cleo.
Jade Goody: A former contestant of the real BB, Jade arrived with her mother and boyfriend in tow - the first time members of a family have been housemates in a BB show. Her arrival led to the departure of Donny Tourette, but that wasn't her most memorable contribution to the show. Her continued baiting of Shilpa Shetty, including a furious row on day 16 over, er, stock cubes, provoked a diplomatic controversy outside the house as viewers as far afield as India (watching via the live internet streams) were furious that one of their biggest stars was being attacked in a way that many perceived as racist. As the enormity of her mistake began to sink in, Jade grew distressed at the thought that her dislike of Shilpa could be taken for racism and it came as no surprise to her when she was eventually evicted. For the first time in the show's history, a contestant left on an eviction night to silence; the crowds had been sent home and Jade faced an uncomfortable interview with Davina.
Carole Malone: Tabloid columnist Carole had often criticised WAGs (footballers' 'Wives and Girlfriends) and reality TV celebrities in the past, but she later admitted that her biggest learning curve was discovering the truth about those people she'd previously been so dismissive about. Her idle chatter with Cleo about the nomination process saw her being punished with automatic nomination for eviction. Pitted opposite Leo Sayer and the then-popular Dirk, Carole would have been safe had Leo not walked. As it was, she became evictee number two.
Leo Sayer: The diminutive pop star made a good start in the house - after all, he knew most of the people in it already. But he soon began to worry the other housemates with increasingly erratic behaviour and when Big Brother refused to issue him with new underwear, Leo demanded to be released from the show and eventually forced his way out of the back door, where he grappled with security guards for his freedom.
Jackiey Budden: Joining Jack and Jade as late entrants on Day 3, Jackiey immediately caused a furore when she continually failed to pronounce Shilpa's name correctly. Ken Russell promptly walked out of the contest in protest and even Jade admitted that her mum was 'doing my head in'. the public agreed and Jackiey became the series' first evictee.
Ken Russell: At 79, the controversial film director was the oldest ever BB contestant. Gracious and self-effacing (he told Danielle on the first night that it was unlikely she would have heard his work - sadly, he was right), Ken took offense at the addition of Jade's mum Jackie and walked out on Day 5, but not before delivering one of the classiest BB quotes ever: 'I've left my slippers underneath the chaise longue.'
Donnie Tourette: Not the most famous rock star in the world, the Tower of London frontman made a bit of an exhibition of himself when he entered the BB compound drunk and abusive to the gentlemen of the press. however the next morning he surprised his housemates by appearing genuinely remorseful and keen to make a better impression. His plans were scuppered however when Jade arrived on Day 3. Tasked with the job of being a servant to jade's family, Donnie decided to walk out of the show instead.
Teen Big Brother (2003)
The Big Brother production team have regularly been criticised by teenagers for not including people from their own age group. The lower age limit is for sound reasons - the belief that teenagers' personalities are not fully formed and so the exposure to the Big Brother experience might have long-term damaging effects. However, a special experimental Big Brother took place in the summer of 2003, with eight 18-year-olds invited to take part in a compressed version of the BB experience. They were first challenged by being forced to wear white overalls in place of their own clothes, to make them 'equal', while daily challenges tested their awareness of world issues and encouraged them to share their own experiences of bullying, racism and politics. They also had the opportunity to experience the guilt and feelings of rejection and acceptance through nominations, which saw the eviction of devout Muslim Hassan, whose views on homosexuality had not been welcomed by many of his housemates.
The series was not broadcast live, but instead shown as part of an edited highlights show across one week. None of the contestants faced the public and the winner was decided through a round-table debate among the housemates themselves. The authority figure of Big Brother was particularly strict, leading to James being disqualified from being able to win, though he was still allowed to participate in the final debate that saw gay hairdresser Paul voted the ultimate winner of a trip of a lifetime around the world.
Though the experiment brought together teens from different backgrounds and encouraged them to confront their own prejudices, the series was overshadowed by a late-night romp that saw Jade and Tommy become the first people to have full intercourse inside the Big Brother house. Amid cries of outrage from the show's critics, it at least proved that there are few forces of nature as powerful as teenage hormones...
- Paul Brennan (Winner)
- Caroline Cloke
- Shaneen Dawkins
- Jade Dyer
- Tracey Fowler
- Tommy Wright
- James Kelly (disqualified)
- Hassan Shah (evictee)
Big Brother Panto (2004)
With a script by playwright and screenwriter Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful Thing, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Coronation Street), the Big Brother Panto was screened over the Christmas and New Year period of 2004-5. It brought together former BB contestants from various series, including the infamous non-conformists Nick and Kitten, for a surprisingly witty and well-performed ironic pantomime. Viewers got to see the housemates rehearsing songs, learning their lines and practising dance and slapstick routines, with the competitive element removed for the slightly less terrifying group goal of delivering a successful group performance. Harvey's script combined catch-phrases and in-jokes based on the antics of the most famous housemates with a modern interpretation of the Cinderella tale.
To date, this was the first time that a UK Big Brother series didn't take place in the designated BB house, with participants sleeping in a Big Brother-style dorm near to the theatre where the eventual production would be staged.
- Nicholas Bateman
- Tim Culley
- Victor Ebuwa
- Anouska Golebiewski
- Jade Goody
- Melanie Hill
- Narinder Kaur
- Kitten Pinder
- Marco Sabba
- Spencer Smith
Finally... in the Future
In 2005, makers of the science fiction series Doctor Who spoofed the series with their own version. The episode 'Bad Wolf' was set in the year 200,100 and featured the voice of 'Davinadroid' hosting a show where contestants are evicted from life and have no say in whether or not they take part. The BB production team helped out by creating their own futuristic version of the show's 'eye' logo and even allowed use of the theme music for the short sequence.