Page last updated at 22:13 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Stars enter Big Brother compound

Ulrika Jonsson
Jonsson hit headlines following her affair with Sven-Goran Eriksson

Famous faces including La Toya Jackson, Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer and TV host Ulrika Jonsson have entered the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Singer Mutya Buena, presenter Terry Christian and Shameless actress Tina Malone are also in the line-up.

Singers Ben Adams and Michelle Heaton, US rapper Coolio, Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan and glamour model Lucy Pinder complete the household.

It is the first series since 2007's show was rocked by a racism row.


Remarks made by Jade Goody to actress Shilpa Shetty drew 54,000 complaints.

The new series will run for 22 days, with the first eviction expected to take place next Friday.

Verne Troyer before entering the house

In the first twist to the new series, presenter Davina McCall announced that for the first time in the show's history, a leader of the celebrity house will be appointed.

Former Word host Christian has been chosen to live in luxurious quarters and will nominate fellow celebrities to face the first public vote.

The 48-year-old will be immune from potential eviction.

The show's executive producer, Sharon Powers, said all of this year's housemates had been reminded about the earlier controversy.

They were also sent DVDs of previous Big Brother series, she added.

Ms Powers said this year's show would "explore the world of celebrity".

"What we aim to do is get an interesting bunch of famous people who we talk to and meet on an individual basis."

Bookmakers Ladbrokes said Troyer, Coolio and former boyband star Ben Adams are currently favourites to win the series.

The Hollywood actor, who stands at 2ft 8in (83cm) tall, was shown a placard from the crowd which said "Mini Me, will you marry me?"

Bollywood actress Shetty won two years ago, earning 63% of the public vote.

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