‘Make Reality “Real” Again’: What To Expect From The Big Brother Reboot
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‘Make Reality “Real” Again’: What To Expect From The Big Brother Reboot

Big Brother is watching – but will you?

The ITV reboot of Channel 4’s genre defining reality TV series is finally here, kicking off on Sunday 8 October. With no fresh episodes since Channel 5’s final series in 2018, there has been a lot of talk about how different Big Brother 20 will be. But how different is it actually? Here’s everything to expect.

What To Expect From ITV’s Big Brother Reboot

New Presenters

Davina McCall was almost synonymous with Big Brother during its original Channel 4 run between 2000 and 2010, but she never presented the Channel 5 version and she won’t be back for the ITV version, either. Instead, say hello to AJ Odudu and Will Best. Odudu is best known for presenting Big Brother’s Bit On The Side with Rylan Clark and Emma Willis, while Best is a familiar face across music and reality TV.


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Normal People

Peter Tierney has been overseeing ITV’s relaunch of Big Brother, and has made headlines for claiming the series’ producers want to ‘make reality “real” again’, and cast contestants accordingly. The idea is to create drama akin to the early days, where contestants like Nikki Grahame, Nasty Nick and Jade Goody thrived. It has been reported that a 10-month casting period whittled 30,000 applications down to 500 interviews before producers landed on the contestants we will see on Sunday night.

Executive producer Kate Manley told Deadline: ‘Lots of polished, glossy TV is out there but hopefully we are going back to something raw that has a hands-off producing style with a very fast turnaround edit.’

Executive producer Natalka Znak told The Guardian she was particularly looking for ‘different accents’, ‘ordinary jobs’ and older contestants to ensure ‘a variety in age [and] backgrounds so it is a social experiment, because they’re just trapped in that [Big Brother] world.’ That’s right: we just might see a normal person with a regional accent on TV. Groundbreaking.

Pre-Recorded Launch Show

Big Brother will begin at 9pm on 8 October 2023 with a 90 minute launch show, airing simultaneously on ITV1 and ITV2. This will be recorded in front of a live studio audience on 7 October. Subsequent episodes will air on ITV2 and ITVX at 9pm.

Return Of 24 Hour Live Stream

Big Brother famously records its contestants at all times – and this used to be streamed 24/7 on Channel 4’s red button. And this live stream feature is back with the reboot, available exclusively on ITVX (perfect if you’re feeling especially nosey). It’s been reported that the producers weren’t totally convinced it would appeal to viewers until the late Queen died and thousands of people tuned into the live stream of the queue and the Queen lying in state. We’ll see…

Return Of Marcus Bentley

Nothing says ‘Big Brother’ like Marcus Bentley’s resounding Geordie voice declaring the time and setting the scene – and he’s back for the reboot.


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A New Aftershow

It’s perhaps not as witty as Channel 4’s Big Brother’s Little Brother, or even Channel 5’s later Big Brother’s Bit On The Side (and, moving to a different reality series, what could ever beat Love Island: After Sun?), but ITV will continue the after-show discussion series with Big Brother: Late & Live. This will also be presented by Odudu and Best, and will be filmed just outside the house to a live studio audience.

Episodes Every Week Night

Big Brother will air on ITV2 every weeknight (including Sundays) at 9pm for six weeks, followed by Late & Live at 10pm, and then followed by a Live Stream of the house into the wee hours.

Social Media Blackout

As well as a reluctance to cast influencers (or wannabe influencers), the show’s producers have asked contestants to tell their family and friends not to post on their social media accounts on their behalf – essentially requesting a social media blackout – in stark contrast to other successful reality shows like Love Island and Married at First Sight.


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Who Wins? You Decide

This catchphrase defined the early years of Big Brother, which shifted the power to viewers at home who could call up and vote for their favourite contestants – or vote against their least favourite. And public voting is back with the 20th series, with live evictions to boot. Fancy another one?

A ‘Hands Off’ Approach

The tasks and challenges of the good old days will also make a return, but despite this structure, the contestants will mainly be left to their own devices, with a ‘hands off’ approach ruling the day, as Manley told Deadline. ‘The beauty of Big Brother is all you have to be is yourself and interesting,’ she said. ‘You don’t have to sing or dance or look a certain way.’

Psychological Well Being

Reality TV is under increasing scrutiny and pressure to abide by its duty of care to contestants, and Big Brother is no exception. It’s different to the old days, when ‘15 minutes of fame’ was the most producers and contestants anticipated. Today, contestants have agents and social media contracts, and it could in fact be the lack of exposure that is mentally challenging. Meanwhile, there will be an individual support plan in place to ensure the psychological wellbeing of each and every contestant.

A Second Series

Love it? Hate it? No idea yet? It doesn’t matter – a second series of the reboot is already in the works, indicating Big Brother is back and here to stay.

Big Brother begins on Sunday 8 October 2023 at 9pm on ITV1, ITV2 and ITVX. itv.com