Big Brother Is Going Back To Its 'Golden Period' – Here's What We Know About ITV's 'Upmarket' Reboot
The Big Brother 3 eye logo
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 is Big Brother set to 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 forthcoming all-stars edition of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, which is due to launch this spring.
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.
Who will present the Big Brother reboot?
As of yet, the Big Brother reboot does not have an official presenter, but reports suggest that AJ Odudu is the most likely contender.
In November, it was claimed she had accepted a formal offer to front the reality show.
AJ Odudu could be Big Brother's new host
Of course, she is no stranger to the franchise, having co-hosted the Bit On The Side spin-off alongside Rylan Clark in 2013.
Landing the top Big Brother job would also be something of a full-circle moment for AJ, as she was axed from her Big Brother role after one series, and has previously spoken of how losing the job knocked her confidence and left her searching for work away from TV.
Meanwhile, previous Big Brother hosts Davina McCall and Emma Willis have ruled themselves out of fronting the reboot, both suggesting it needs new blood.
However, former Bit On The Side presenter Rylan has made no secret of his desire to be involved in some capacity, although it has been reported bosses are not keen on signing someone so heavily associated with previous incarnations of the show.
Rylan Clark has said repeatedly he would love to be involved in the new Big Brother reboot
Former Big Brother 3 housemate and This Morning favourite Alison Hammond had also been mentioned as a potential host – although she later said she would not be involved – as have The Masked Singer’s Mo Gilligan, former Love Island contestant Maura Higgins and Capital Radio’s Roman Kemp.
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, etcetera, than other reality shows.”
Davina McCall hosted Big Brother in its Channel 4 heyday
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 will the new house be?
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.
The former Big Brother house at Elstree Studios was demolished after the show finished on Channel 5 in 2018
While modern technology means that bosses do not have to purpose-build a house any more, and could rig up an existing property – like they do on Love Island – reports have claimed ITV is still intending to build a standalone house.
It has been suggested three North London sites were shortlisted, 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.
However, respected Big Brother fansites BBSpy and Big Blagger claimed this particular rumour was untrue.
🚨 NEWS: The new Big Brother UK house will NOT be built at Bovingdon airfield, @bbspy and @bigblagger have learned
Bovingdon had been tipped to become #BBUK's new home as ITV has its own studio facilities there - however, multiple sources have told us this won't be the case pic.twitter.com/QRvK4CCqCE
— bbspy (@bbspy) October 19, 2022
As of yet, no further details have emerged.
Will there be a spin-off show?
In August, BBSpy reported production company Initial released a job listing, thought to be for Big Brother, which said it was searching for people to work on “very exciting reality series, plus spin-off shows”.
When Big Brother was still set to air this spring, sales division ITV Media also published preliminary scheduling information in a sponsorship guide issued to potential advertisers.
As well as revealing 36 episodes of Big Brother had been commissioned to air six nights a week, BBSpy reported it also confirmed bosses had also ordered a nightly Big Brother spin-off show, akin to previous incarnations Big Brother’s Little Brother and Big Brother’s Bit On The Side.
How can I audition for Big Brother?
Hopefuls who think they would prove to be exciting and dynamic Big Brother housemates can already apply for the new series here.
Applications are open until midnight on 30 June 2023.