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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 21:45 GMT 22:45 UK
Hopefuls enter Big Brother house
Big Brother contestant Science
This year's contestants include a musician called Science from Leeds
The 13 contestants in this year's Big Brother have entered the reality TV house - hoping to win the 11-week series' 100,000 top prize.

The hopefuls include a former Tory strategist, a maintenance engineer, a 1970s dancer and a psychic "witch" who said she had been abducted by aliens.

Producers have picked people with a provocative mix of strong opinions, big egos and sex drives to match.

The sixth series of the Channel 4 show will see them filmed 24 hours a day.

Housemates will be voted out as the series goes on with the last one left in mid-August named winner.

Big Brother contestant Derek Laud
Derek Laud was the first and only black master of foxhounds
First in was Derek Laud, 40, who said he had written speeches for Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine.

"I'm charismatic, I'm different and I want to win," said Derek, who is gay and black.

He was followed by Lesley Sanderson, 19, a temp administrator from Huddersfield, who wore a raunchy nurse's outfit and said: "I know I'm gorgeous. I wear the right clothes, I'm a poser."

Kemal Shahin, 19, a male belly dancer from Turkey, entered in gold stilettos and a sari, saying: "Let's get it on, divas."

The crowd booed Mary O'Leary, 30, a psychic witch who faced the audience with a cape and broomstick.

Big Brother contestant Anthony
Anthony was booed when he did dance moves on his way in
They also booed Anthony Hutton, 23, a dancer from Consett, County Durham, when he started doing dance moves on the way in.

A 22-year-old entertainment entrepreneur called Science - real name Kieron Harvey - said he was the "ghetto spokesman" while Craig, 20, a hair salon owner, and Saskia Howard-Clarke, a 23-year-old promotions girl also went in.

Samantha Heuston, a 23-year-old marketing student from Cheam, Surrey, said she was always the centre of attention "even when I don't want to be".

Maxwell Ward, 24, a maintenance engineer from north London, told viewers: "I like having a laugh, messing about, being a naughty boy really."

Others included Vanessa, a 19-year-old business studies student from Croydon, Surrey, and Roberto Conte, 32, who said he had been in the parachute regiment, a basketball player and a windsurfing professional.

Big Brother contestant Lesley
Temp administrator Lesley dressed up for the occasion
Makosi Musambasi, a cardiac nurse from Zimbabwe, was the "unlucky" 13th contestant and was automatically put up for the first eviction - but has a chance to save herself by annoying the other 12.

The person nominated for eviction by the highest number of housemates will be safe - so if Makosi makes enough fellow contestants want to kick her out, she will stay.

The first nominations will take place on Tuesday, with the results announced in a live show on Wednesday.

Filmed at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, this year's show will last one week longer than last year's programme.

Producers say they have tried to make the house more "claustrophobic" than in previous years, with transparent walls and outside showers.

My husband and I love watching Big Brother as we use it to analyse the contestants' strategies
Christina Spybey, London, UK

Blinds can only be pulled down at the programme makers' discretion, while heat-seeking cameras will be used to record any nocturnal activity.

The garden is scattered with gnomes, one of which contains a hidden camera.

Twenty-six moveable cameras follow the housemates, while a further 10 fixed cameras and 40 microphones cover every area of the house and garden.

A Channel 4 poll ahead of Friday's launch named 2001 winner Brian Dowling as viewers' favourite Big Brother contestant.

This year's launch coincides with Channel 4's digital station E4, which will show continuous coverage from the house, being made available on Freeview.

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