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The BBC's Lindley Gooden reports
"Millions of viewers in Holland saw rows, relationships and sex"
 real 28k

Friday, 14 July, 2000, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Big Brother starts watching
Channel 4 Big brother logo
There's no getting away from the show on Channel 4
Ten volunteers have been sealed off from the outside world as the Dutch TV sensation Big Brother comes to the UK.

The five men and five women arrived separately at the custom-built house in Bow, east London on Friday morning to take part in the internet and TV experiment which lasts for 64 days.

Big brother
The contestants walk into the compound
Viewers can watch their lives unfold on the internet 24-hours a day, and watch round-ups of their experiences on daily Channel 4 programmes.

The show has been a huge hit in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, where the contestants became household names.

The UK volunteers had not met until Friday morning, and producers are only releasing selected details about them to protect their privacy.

Among the contestants are Andrew, 23, "a self confessed ladies' man who loves to party" and 37-year-old Caroline, a keen saxophonist who once sold sex aids.

Big Brother contestant Caroline
Caroline: Nothing to be ashamed of
Another one is getting away from a job at the Millennium Dome to take part in the show.

The contestants - all in their 20s and 30s - were led into the house each carrying a suitcase and a bag of possessions. CD players, mobile phones, radios, drugs, pens, paper, and calendars are banned.

Each week, members of the household will nominate two of their number to be evicted, with viewers voting which one should be kicked out. The one remaining at the end wins 70,000.

There is a small grocery budget, and the volunteers will have to grow their own vegetables and use eggs from a chicken run.

Big Brother contestant Thomas
Away from the farm: Thomas
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.

A US version of the show started on CBS last week.

The contestants are:

  • Andrew, 23, a marketing manager from London who will miss "music, going out for dinner and go-karting".
  • Craig, 28, a builder from Liverpool who once managed a butcher's shop. He will miss his three dogs.
    Big Brother contestant Darren
    Darren: Holiday for his mother
  • Darren, 22, from London who works at the Millennium Dome. He "loves to dance and is obsessed with his hair," and would spend the prize money on a holiday for his mother.
  • Nicholas, 32, a stockbroker from London who wants to "see if I'm still as tolerant as I was at school".
  • Thomas, 30, a computer design consultant from Northern Ireland who is the youngest of seven children and lives on his parents' farm. He wants to prove to his family that "I'm more than their baby brother".
  • Anna, 29, an office manager from London. A former trainee nun, she says she will miss "pubs, pals and sex".
  • Caroline, 37, a telephonist from Birmingham. She says: "I live my life in a very open book way and have nothing to be ashamed of. This will be a great experience and who knows where it will lead."
    Big Brothjer contestant Melanie
    Not Scary: Melanie
  • Melanie, 26, a sales executive from London who hates being compared with Spice Girls singer Mel B. She says she will miss her duvet and her fake leopardskin coat.
  • Nichola, 28, a textile artist from Bolton who dreams of being in a circus act. She will miss "clubbing, the trapeze, stilt walking and gallons of red wine".
  • Sada, 27, a writer from London who plans to spend the prize money on a teepee and a VW Beetle and says Big Brother is "a chance of a lifetime experience to learn more about myself".

The first show, presented by Davina McCall, is on Tuesday at 2100 BST on Channel 4.

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See also:

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