One of the most iconic TV series of the 21st century could soon be making a comeback in the UK. Big Brother is regarded by many as the original modern reality show – inspiring a new generation of TV hits from Love Island to I’m A Celebrity.
After launching in the Netherlands back in 1999, Big Brother UK arrived on Channel 4 the following year. Millions were gripped across the country as 11 housemates vied for the country’s attention in a new series described as a ‘social experiment’.
Big Brother immediately captured the imagination of the country, with the infamous ‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman shocking viewers with his scheme to manipulate contestants into nominating each other, before being rumbled by eventual winner Craig Phillips. With Davina McCall as host, and a much-loved celebrity spin-off, Big Brother brought a stream of popular – and unpopular – contestants to Channel 4 until 2010.
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That year, the show moved over to Channel 5, with Big Brother 3 winner Brian Dowling initially as host before being replaced by Emma Willis. But Big Brother was axed by the network in 2018, breaking the hearts of reality TV fans across the country.
Now, more than 20 years since first hitting the nation’s airwaves, Big Brother could be making a comeback in the UK. According to The Sun, producers of the series are in talks for a return on ITV2 next year, which could see the series air after the conclusion of next year’s Love Island in autumn 2023.
With excitement building for fans of the popular series over its possible return, we’ve taken a look back at some of the show’s most iconic stars.
‘Nasty’ Nick, 54, became Big Brother’s first villain over his plot to influence nominations for eviction. He was asked to leave the house for breaking Big Brother rules in a dramatic episode, where Nick infamously admitted: “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
After leaving the house, Nick co-wrote a book called Nasty Nick: How to Be a Right B****** and took to the stage to appear in pantomime. He returned to the famous house in 2010 for Ultimate Big Brother and has since moved to Sydney, Australia, working as a freelance writer.
The first UK winner of Big Brother, Liverpudlian Craig was hailed a hero for rumbling ‘Nasty’ Nick’s nomination plot, telling the rule-breaker at the time: “You’re plotting a very dirty plan.” Craig, 50, donated his winnings to a friend who needed a heart and lung transplant.
A trained bricklayer, Craig has appeared in a host of home transformation programs since starring in Big Brother, including ITV’s 60 Minute Makeover. He can be booked as a motivational speaker and event host on his website, which says he has made over 250 live appearances and appeared on screen more than 850 times.
After winning the hearts of the country in Big Brother’s second series, the UK series’ first LGBTQ+ winner became a popular face on TV. He became one of the hosts of children’s Saturday morning show SMTV Live on ITV, and has since made a string of appearances on programs such as This Morning and Hell’s Kitchen.
Brian, 43, hosted Big Brother following its move to Channel 5 from 2011 to 2013. In 2020, he was one-half of the first same-sex pairing to feature in RTE’s Dancing with the Stars, the Irish version of Strictly Come Dancing.
As one of the most popular daytime TV presenters of 2022, it’s hard to believe Alison only lasted 15 days in Big Brother 3 before being evicted. Alison, 47, first started appearing on ITV’s This Morning back in 2003.
Having been a reporter on the daytime show for several years, she became the new regular Friday host of the program last February alongside Dermot O’Leary – who presented Big Brother’s Little Brother on E4 back when Alison was a contestant. She has also featured on other shows including Loose Women and Celebs Go Dating, before hosting a documentary series for Black History Month in 2020 called Back To School.
Another former Big Brother star who rose to fame after her eviction, Southport-born Adele was booted out of the third series midway through. She could be heard on the radio in the north west on Rock FM and Galaxy before moving to the BBC.
The 43-year-old has presented shows on BBC 1Xtra and BBC Radio 1 since joining the corporation in 2012, and was the first campmate to be evicted from I’m A Celebrity in 2019. Adele, who has been nominated for several awards for her work as an LGBTQ+ campaigner, was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year and has since been undergoing treatment.
One of Big Brother’s most famous stars, Jade was ridiculed in the national press when she first hit our screens in Big Brother 3, but the public grew to love her. She had two sons with TV star Jeff Brazier during a two-year relationship.
However, Jade’s reputation was rocked in 2007 when she appeared in Celebrity Big Brother and became embroiled in a scandal involving alleged racist bullying of Indian actress Shilpa Shetty. Jade died aged just 27 in 2009 after living with cervical cancer.
Winner of Big Brother 3, which is regarded by many as the greatest UK series, Kate has since gone on to enjoy a long career as a TV and radio presenter. She became the face of Channel 4 breakfast show RI:SE in February 2003 until it was axed at the end of the year.
Kate, 41, has since been featured on various radio stations including Key 103, Kerrang and most recently Virgin Radio. She quit the national station last month, telling her followers she wanted to focus on being a mum and on her mental health.
After being evicted from Big Brother 4, scientist Jon was voted back into the house by the public. He became best known as the face of Sky One’s Braniac series for six years from 2003.
Jon, 47, now works for Centrica PLC – the parent company of British Gas. Four years ago, he wrote in The Guardian about how Big Brother had been important for bringing more diversity to British TV.
Glyn was just 18 years old when he appeared on Big Brother 7 and sang to the nation about cooking an egg for the very first time. The Welshman presented shows on BBC Radio Cymru after finishing runner-up in the series.
Glyn, 34, has spent time modeling and wowed Instagram followers online two years ago as he showed off his ‘glow up’. Earlier this month, he confirmed plans to become a priest.
Another icon of Big Brother, Nikki entertained the nation with her hilarious rants in Big Brother 7, including her legendary Diary Room question: “Who is she?” After leaving the show, Nikki made a string of TV appearances on shows such as The Friday Night Project, and starred in her own series called Princess Nikki.
Nikki lived with anorexia nervosa throughout her life and spoke openly about her struggles with the eating disorder, releasing two books on the topic called Dying to be Thin and Fragile. Tragically, Nikki died from complications linked to the condition last April.
Brian was the youngest winner of the UK series when he was crowned champion of Big Brother 8 at just 19. Cameo appearances on TV soon followed, along with a single called Essex Boy the following year, which failed to reach the chart.
In 2013, Brian reached an out-of-court settlement with the creators of The Only Way is Essex, after claiming the company stole the idea from a pitch he made for a show named Totally Essex. Brian, 34, made an appearance on Big Brother 16 in 2015 – but went on to criticize the show when it was axed three years later.
Proud Wiganer Luke won the hearts of Big Brother 9 viewers, as he fell in love with contestant Bex Shiner. Luke went on to become a famous face in his hometown, switching on Wigan’s Christmas lights and presenting a show on Wish FM.
Luke, 34, took an unexpected career twist last year as her ran as a Conservative candidate for Wigan Council in the local elections – finishing second in the Aspull, New Springs and Whelley ward with 24.9% of the vote. He told i News last year how he struggled with depression after finding fame on Big Brother.
The final winner on Channel 4, Josie went on to appear on shows such as Celebrity Juice and The Wright Stuff. The Bristolian, 37, released a perfume called Josie a year after featuring on Big Brother.
Josie signed up for celebrity ski show The Jump on Channel 4 back in 2017, but became the first person to be booted from the series after refusing to jump during the first live episode. She became a regular reporter on This Morning in 2019 and has also filled in as the show’s presenter.
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