Big Brother will no longer air on Channel 5

By Craig Simpson, Press Association
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Big Brother will no longer air on Channel 5

Celebrity and ‘civilian’ versions of the reality TV show will not continue on the channel.

Celebrity Big Brother and “civilian” Big Brother will no longer be airing on Channel 5.

The long-running reality show will come to an end on the channel after the upcoming series set to begin tonight.

Channel 5 announced that it will no longer continue with either version of Big Brother after seven years producing the often controversial programme.

The reality TV show has seen its ratings decline over the years with the final of the very first series of Big Brother, which was broadcast by Channel 4 in 2000, attracting 9.45 million viewers.

The final of the most recent series, broadcast by Channel 5 in 2017, was watched by just 1.11 million.

The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother was won by Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas, who was at the centre of a controversy that dominated headlines when his fellow housemate, Roxanne Pallett, accused him of punching her.

Pallett left the series and after watching the footage back, issued an apology saying she had “gotten it wrong”.

The celebrity edition of the series has often seen controversy in the house, including stand-out moments such as the 2007 perceived racial bullying of Indian actress Shilpa Shetty by the late Jade Goody, which was condemned at the time by then-prime minister Gordon Brown.

In 2016, theatre star Christopher Biggins was removed from the house for his comments about bisexuals. During the latest series, Brazilian reality TV star Rodrigo Alves was also removed from the house over his repeated use of racist language.

Channel 5 said in a statement: “After a further incident, Rodrigo has been removed from the Big Brother House and will not be returning.”

The concept of Big Brother was originally taken from a Dutch television series with the same name and premise.

Channel 5 boss, Ben Frow, indicated in August this year that the future of the series with the broadcaster was uncertain, saying that he “planned for a year” without the series, after it swapped channels in 2011.

The finale of the latest series of the celebrity version attracted 1.6 million viewers, while ratings of other programmes such as ITV2’s Love Island have surged in popularity.

Big Brother producers said they were “disappointed not to reach an agreement” with Channel 5 over the continuation of the reality show.

Endemol Shine UK, the makers of the programme, released a statement saying they are “incredibly proud” of the show, and said that the news would not mean the end for Big Brother.

They said the decision “opens up a new chapter and we are excited about future possibilities for Big Brother in the UK”.

Presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, who hosts spin-off show Bit On The Side, said he was “saddened” the show would not be returning.

In a message on Twitter, he said hoped that “one day Big Brother will return” adding “my focus now, as with the rest of the team is to make our last series the best yet”.

Big Brother begins tonight on Channel 5 at 9pm.