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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Big Brother gets four more years
Brian Dowling won the 70,000 Big Brother 2 prize
Brian Dowling won the 70,000 Big Brother 2 prize
Big Brother is set to be on British TV screens every year until at least 2005 after a deal to continue the popular reality show.

It will return for Big Brother 3 this summer - and the new deal means it should keep coming back until Big Brother 6.

Celebrity Big Brother
Another Celebrity Big Brother could be on its way
Producers have denied reports the 10 contestants who will be seen sharing the house this year have already been chosen.

The final line-up will not be settled upon until just before they go into the house, where cameras will watch their every move.

More than 150,000 people applied to be on this year's show - twice as many as in 2001.

Channel 4 have refused to confirm speculation that this year's house will be split into "luxury" and "basic" sections.

Spin-offs

Details of the Big Brother 3 set-up will be revealed in early May, with the show starting either later that month or in early June.

Big Brother fans
Big Brother became a hit with fans
Channel 4 has signed the four-year deal with the show's producers Endemol.

It also paves the way for more spin-off shows like Celebrity Big Brother, which was shown jointly with the BBC as part of last year's Comic Relief appeal.

Viewers will be able to watch Big Brother 3 through interactive TV services, as well as on Channel 4 and live internet broadcasts.

Gerry Bastable, who negotiated the deal for Channel 4, said Big Brother was still the best example of a show that works well across a range of media.

"Big Brother has enjoyed phenomenal success across all platforms with record ratings on Channel 4 and E4 and a record response from viewers via interactive TV, the web and phone voting," he said.

Millions of viewers

The show, which first appeared in the Netherlands in 1999, throws 10 strangers together in one house.

They are unable to leave until they are voted out by their housemates and the public.

One person leaves every week, and the one remaining at the end is the winner.

More than seven million people tuned in to see Brian Dowling win the 70,000 first prize in 2001, and ten million saw Craig Phillips win the first UK series in 2000.

See also:

06 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Big Brother 3 sparks places scramble
22 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Ban on Greek Big Brother overturned
09 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
US Big Brother man in more trouble
23 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
France's literary take on Big Brother
25 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Shocking our Russian brothers
17 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Attacks force Big Brother dilemma
28 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Brian wins Big Brother
27 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Big Brother's jackpot
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