It was the original reality show that changed the course of TV forever – and now Big Brother is finally “getting back to us” later this year.
Anticipation among fans has been at fever pitch ever since ITV confirmed it had acquired the rights to bring Big Brother to ITV2 with a teaser trailer that aired during the final of Love Island in August 2022.
This will be the third incarnation of the show, which originally aired on Channel 4 between 2000 and 2010, before finding a new home on Channel 5 from 2011 until it was axed in 2018.
With a new Big Brother house set to open its doors five years on, details about the reboot are starting to trickle in – here’s everything we can tell you...
When does Big Brother start on ITV2?
In the trade press, it was initially mooted that bosses were looking to launch the show in March, but this was ultimately pushed back, due to a reported clash with the all-stars edition of I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.
ITV boss Kevin Lygo has since revealed that Big Brother should be back on our screens in the autumn – over a year since the announcement, and five years since it last aired on Channel 5.
“Love Island will be in the summer again, of course, and then further on down – we haven’t specifically said yet – but probably September, October time, Big Brother comes in and hopefully will do a similar job for us,” Lygo said during a March press call.
When Big Brother was still set to air this spring, sales division ITV Media published preliminary scheduling information in a sponsorship guide issued to potential advertisers, which revealed 36 episodes of Big Brother had been commissioned to air six nights a week, suggesting a six-week series. This would mark Big Brother UK’s shortest-ever season.
It has since been widely reported the show will air an hourly highlights show from 9-10pm from Sunday to Friday, the same as Love Island.
Who will present the Big Brother reboot?
In a statement, former Strictly Come Dancing star AJ, who had long been linked to the main presenting role, said: “I’m so excited to finally be able to say that, yes: I’m hosting Big Brother! I couldn’t be happier.
“Following in the footsteps of some of my favourite broadcasting legends to front such an iconic show is an absolute honour – and to do it alongside my amazing friend Will is the icing on the cake.”
Will, who is best known for presenting Channel 4′s teen strand T4, added: “I grew up with Big Brother so getting a chance to host it with my mate AJ is a dream come true. I can’t wait to tell some housemates not to swear.”
AJ and Will will host the live launch, eviction nights and finale, as well as fronting a new as-of-yet untitled nightly Big Brother companion show for ITV2.
Of course, AJ is no stranger to the Big Brother franchise, having co-hosted the Bit On The Side spin-off alongside Rylan Clark in 2013.
It has also been confirmed that Big Brother narrator Marcus Bentley will be back to oversee the action from the house in the new series, having been with the show since it first launched in 2000.
What form will the show take?
Big Brother purists will be pleased to hear ITV is hoping to take the show somewhat back to basics, restoring it to its “glory years”, associated with its early-mid 2000s series on Channel 4.
In the original reboot announcement, ITV2 controller Paul Mortimer promised a “refreshed, contemporary new series” that retained “all the familiar format points that kept viewers engaged and entertained the first time round”.
These are already confirmed to include nominations and live evictions.
He added there would be “a brand new look and some additional twists that speak to today’s audience”.
In his March press call, Kevin Lygo also said his vision was for Big Brother to be “intelligent” and “upmarket”.
He said: “The key to Big Brother is to keep it like it was in its golden period, to have it more interesting, intelligent, upmarket, et cetera, than other reality shows.”
Natalka Znak – CEO of the production company Initial, which makes BBUK – has also said there will be a focus on attracting new viewers.
“TV has moved on since the days we loved watching people eat their cornflakes,” she said at an RTS London event in September. “I’m having conversations with so many hardcore fans who are saying, ‘don’t touch it’, but I think they will watch.
“What I need to focus on is appealing to all the people who’ve never watched Big Brother. It’s a hard job. It will be brilliant though.”
What will the housemates be like?
From the outset, ITV promised its new “carefully selected” housemates would be “from all walks of life” – a marked difference from the cast of social media influencers and models in their 20s it casts on its other big reality TV hit, Love Island.
Last year, trade publication Broadcast reported bosses are seeking “strong characters reflecting modern Britain”, with BB1 runner-up Anna Nolan and BB5 winner Nadia Almada cited as examples of their dream housemates.
Where is the new Big Brother house?
The previous Big Brother house at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was used from 2002 to 2018, but was demolished soon after Channel 5′s final series aired.
New sound stages have since been constructed on the site of the former house, meaning Big Brother cannot return to Elstree.
It was originally suggested bosses shortlisted three North London sites for the new house, with speculation ITV’s studios at RAF Bovingdon in Hemel Hempstead – where Dancing On Ice and The Masked Singer are filmed – was the preferred option.
BBSpy later reported that the show had found a new home at the Garden Studios in Harlesden in west London, although this has not been officially confirmed.
It was also unclear if bosses will construct a custom-built house at the site, or whether they will build a set inside an existing sound stage at the complex into a Big Brother house, which is commonplace on the US and Australian versions of the show.
Will there be a Big Brother spin-off show?
Big Brother will be accompanied by a companion show airing straight after the highlights show.
It will also be hosted by main show presenters AJ Odudu and Will Best, and it is thought it will take a similar format to previous incarnations Big Brother’s Little Brother and Big Brother’s Bit On The Side.
Is there a live feed for the new Big Brother?
Seen as a fundamental part of the Big Brother experience for many hardcore fans, the live feed used to stream action from the house on a 15-minute delay via the show’s website, red button and on E4 in its Channel 4 era.
During the early days of Big Brother’s run on Channel 5, the live feed took somewhat of a back seat, only airing as a standalone show for a few hours each night, before it was axed completely in 2013.
ITV is bringing back the live feed in 2023, however, confirming it will be accessible via its streaming service ITVX straight after the companion show finishes each night, running “into the early hours”.
Some fans have also speculated as to whether they will be able to pay for more hours of live streaming via ITVX’s premium subscription, although nothing has been confirmed.
What else do we know about the new series?
While we’re still a few months off Big Brother launching, fans have already been teased with the release of the official eye for the new series.
During the finale of this year’s Love Island, ITV2 aired a teaser with the latest incarnation of the logo, which features bright pops of colour and icons with lips, a broken heart, an exclamation mark and a hashtag.
The promo also featured a remix of Big Brother’s famous theme tune, which had been used since the show began in 2000.
How can I audition for Big Brother?
Unfortunately, you are too late! Applications for the new series closed on 27 July, after the closing date was extended from 30 June.