Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 10:34 UK

BB housemates 'to grow own food'

Big Brother house
Vegetable growing boxes will be put in the garden

Big Brother housemates will have to grow their own food this year, the show's producers have said.

The 16 contestants will have to cultivate their own potatoes and carrots and season their food with herbs from the garden.

This year's "green" Big Brother house will also feature a large recycling bin in the kitchen.

The ninth series of the show, which will run for 13 weeks, begins on Thursday night at 2100BST on Channel 4.

Pictures released by producers show that the house boasts a luxury bedroom as well as a dormitory-style room with short beds and scratchy blankets.

The luxury room features eight double beds complete with velvet cushions, a walk-in closet and burgundy and gold drapes.

The two bedrooms are intended to divide the contestants competing for the 100,000 prize.

'Zero tolerance'

Other changes announced include two staircases leading to the outside world.

And the diary room has been built under the stairs to cut off the housemates from the rest of the house.

Big Borther house
The luxury bedroom features eight double beds

A "jail", in the form of a tiny claustrophobic area enclosed by metal bars in the garden, is also ready for use if any housemates need to be punished.

Show bosses have refused to confirm reports that the new series will feature a blind housemate.

Executive producer Phil Edgar-Jones said there was still great demand for the show.

"Certainly in the build up, there's much more excitement about it this year than last year," he said.

"Ratings are not my main concern while I'm making it."

Another executive producer, Sharon Powers, emphasised a zero tolerance policy towards housemates this year.

"We are sick and tired of housemates coming to the diary room asking to leave and talking to each other about nominations," she said.

"We're not going to tolerate rule breaking. If housemates break the rules, you have to spend the night in jail."

Channel 4 has also announced that teen comic Jack Whitehall will front the opening Big Brother's Big Mouth shows on digital station E4.

BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles will take the debate programme's reins for the following week.

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