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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Big Brother unleashed by Channel 4
Big Brother living room
Wish you were here? The Big Brother living room
Channel 4 has officially launched its controversial new series Big Brother - which will watch 10 strangers living together in a house 24 hours a day.

The show has already been a hit with viewers in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain - and it has also caused uproar among politicians.

Now the series is coming to the UK, where it will be transmitted 24-hours a day on the internet, and five nights a week on Channel 4, starting next month.

Davina McCall
Davina McCall will host the TV coverage of Big Brother

The identities of the 10 - selected from over 40,000 applicants - are being kept secret until they enter the house in Bow, east London.

Viewers will vote each Friday to evict one of the group - until there is only three left. Then viewers will vote for the winner, who will win 70,000.

But anyone hoping to catch sex, violence and swearing on the internet feed will be disappointed, according to commissioning editor Liz Warner.

"There's a delay on the web feed, so there's an over-ride," she said.

"We will observe the family viewing policy before the watershed, and make sure we stick to ITC guidelines all the time."

Oh Brother...
They will be completely cut off from the outside world, with no telephones, televisions or radio.
They will have to grow their own vegetables and use eggs from a chicken run in the house's garden.
Each contestant can spent 1.50 a day on flour, potatoes, pasta, rice, fish and meat.

A "compliance team" will be monitoring the output all the time, she added.

Those taking part will not be asked to refrain from sex or swearing, but anyone who uses violence will be asked to leave.

Anyone who needs to escape from the situation for a while can consult a psychotherapist, or go to a special "diary room" to speak directly to the audience.

During the social experiment, tasks will be set by the producers to balance the mood of the situation in the house.

Channel 4 science editor Dan Chambers said: "This will allow us to explore different aspects of their personalities.

Big Brother website
The website provides 24-hour coverage from the beginning

"Some of the tasks will involve leadership skills, co-operation, and so on.

"If a particular mood sets in and we need to change the atmosphere, we might put in a task which encourages team work, or if people are sleeping in too late we might change the water supplies so hot water is only available until 8.30 in the morning."

Success in completing tasks will be rewarded with points which can buy extra food or luxuries such as alcohol.

The winner of the original Dutch show was inundated with commercial offers after becoming a household name, while another contestant - a 21-year-old shoe shop employee - left voluntarily and became a Playboy model.

But a version on German channel RTL2 ran into trouble when the country's interior minister, Otto Schily, called on viewers to boycott the show if they "still cherish feeling for human dignity".

A US version will be broadcast by CBS this summer.

The webcast starts on 14 July, with TV coverage to follow shortly afterwards.

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22 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Channel 4's 70,000 Big Brother search
08 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother comes to Channel 4
12 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Watching Big Brother
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