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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Inside the new Big Brother house
Main area of new Big Brother house
The main area is very, very orange

With its garishly-coloured, shaped retro furniture, wood floors and brushed stainless steel kitchen, it looks like any open-plan yuppie flat.

It is only the profusion of cameras and two-way mirrors that reveal this is the latest incarnation of the Big Brother house.

The most famous new house in the UK has moved to Elstree film studios in Hertfordshire, the exterior a rhomboid monstrosity in white chipboard next to the George Lucas Stage.

With the pipes emanating from the new house at strange angles, it most resembles somewhere ET might be held for tests.

The outside of the house
The interior - still under construction - is designed by Markus Blee, also responsible for the Priory and other funkily-featured TV sets, and is about 15% bigger than the house in the last series.

This is to accommodate two extra contestants in the "tougher" new incarnation of the reality show.

The main innovation from previous years is how the evicted contestants will leave. A flight of stairs leads up to the exit door onto a high platform, below which screaming crowds should await.

Bizarre radiators

In what will soon be the best-known cupboard-under-the-stairs in Britain, there is the Diary Room where contestants nominate colleagues for eviction and speak to Big Brother.

And although the show's sponsor is O2, the recently renamed BT Cellnet mobile network, the lasting impression from a stroll through the house is... orange.

Orange furniture, orange wall panels, and orange lights fill the space.

Packed house
5 manned TV cameras
13 fixed surveillance cameras
50km of cable
40 microphones plus radio mics on housemates
TV control room with 50 monitors
The completed bedroom is still a mixture of single and double beds, while contestants will be warming themselves on bizarre radiators resembling potted plants.

Despite being open-plan, the main room is designed to have semi-private spaces, one corner featuring curved white walls mirroring the curved banks of grass in the garden.

The garden has the now trademark chicken coop, this year filled by rare breeds, as well as plenty of oddly-shaped sun loungers.

Prying eyes

Sun-loving contestants can now take advantage of a hexagonal heated swimming pool, as well as a barbecue.

The garden wall is lower than expected, but the location in suburban Borehamwood on a heavily-guarded studio complex is further from the prying eyes of journalists than the old house in Bow, east London.

But the big question will surely be whether the Big Brother 3 contestants will be able to see any of the World Cup.

Contact with the outside world has been banned in the two previous series, but the show's producers have not ruled out whether the contestants can be shown the matches in some way that does not compromise this.

Perhaps England against Argentina could end up the prize for a particularly arduous task.

BBC News Online's coverage of Big Brother 2002

A closer look

Contestant profiles




Launch the Gallery

The Big Brother 12

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