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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 May, 2003, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Big Brother gets record ratings
Justine
Justine wants to have "as much fun as possible"
Reality TV show Big Brother's opening show has attracted nearly seven million viewers - Channel 4's highest ratings so far for 2003.

The fourth series of the show, which has previously been both a ratings and media hit, peaked at eight million viewers on Friday.

It kicked off with producers picking younger contestants than in previous years for the surveillance gameshow.

BIG BROTHER OPENING SHOW RATINGS
2000: 3.6 million
2001: 3.5 million
2002: 5.9 million
2003: 6.9 million
Recent series have seen older contestants struggling to get on with their younger counterparts - so producers have opted for a more youthful selection of housemates this year.

The 12 housemates are all aged between 20 and 32 - and include a fish trader, shop assistant and fashion designer.

They will be filmed 24 hours a day and must nominate who they would like to see voted off the show each week, with the TV viewers making the final decision.

The last person remaining in the house will win a 70,000 prize.

WHO WILL WIN?
5/1 Federico
6/1 Nush
7/1 Ray
7/1 Scott
7/1 Tania
8/1 Anouska
9/1 Sissy
10/1 Steph
12/1 Jon
14/1 Justine
16/1 Cameron
20/1 Gos
14/1 any other
Source: Ladbrokes

But the housemates faced an early test on Friday evening - deciding that four of their number should face the public's eviction vote one week before it actually takes place.

Until the 12 were driven to the house at Elstree studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, they had never met before.

First to enter the house was 20-year-old Manchester nursery assistant Anouska, who says she will miss "music, sex, peanut butter and books".

Anouska
Anouska was first inside the house - and could be first out
She also picked up the most nominations from her fellow housemates to be evicted, and viewers can vote now on whether or not she gets the boot next Friday.

She was followed by 32-year-old fish trader Cameron from the Orkney Islands - who says he will miss "the sea and my dog".

They were followed by followed by 23-year-old waiter Federico from Glasgow, chef Gos, 31, from Southall, west London, and data manager Jon, 29 from Staines, Surrey.

Sales manager Justine, 27, from Leeds was next to enter, and she was joined by 23-year-old Nush, from Malvern, Worcestershire, and IT administrator Ray, 25, an Irishman living in London.

Ray
Ray hopes he can relax inside the house
Liverpudlian Scott, a 27-year-old marketing co-ordinator, and 26-year-old Sissy, a fashion designer also from Liverpool followed, while Steph, 27, from Birmingham and Tania, 22, from Kilburn, north-west London were the final pair to enter.

Jon, Scott and Federico join Anouska in this week's vote for eviction.

Favourite

More than 10,000 hopefuls applied to be on the show, from which producers picked 2,700 to audition.

Footage from the house will be shown in nightly updates on Channel 4, while its pay-TV offshoot E4 will carry live coverage.

Big Brother house

Producers say the show is returning to its original format after last summer's split into rich and poor halves of the house was deemed a failure.

But one added twist will be that housemates will have to bet at least 50% of their food budget on their weekly tasks - up from the previous 10%.

Last year, more than nine million viewers turned in to see 22-year-old IT worker Kate Lawler, from south London, win the contest. She is now a presenter on Channel 4's breakfast show Rise.

Big Brother, first shown in Holland in 1999, has become a worldwide hit, broadcast in 22 countries.




SEE ALSO:
Big Brother opts for youth
24 May 03  |  Entertainment
Big Brother's not-so-dirty dozen
23 May 03  |  Entertainment
The Big Brother housemates
23 May 03  |  Photo Gallery
Reality bandwagon rolls on
20 May 03  |  Entertainment
Back to basics for Big Brother house
02 May 03  |  Entertainment
Big Brother: Your views
23 May 03  |  Entertainment


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