Big Brother is a television reality game show based on an originally Dutch TV series of the same name created by producer John de Mol in 1997. The show follows a number of contestants, known as housemates, who are isolated from the outside world for an extended period of time in a custom built House.
Each week, one of the housemates is evicted by a public vote, with the last housemate remaining winning a cash prize. The series takes its name from the character in George Orwell’s 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The series premiered on 18 July 2000 on Channel 4, and immediately became a ratings hit.
The series also featured a twenty-four hour live feed, in which fans could view inside the house at any time. The series aired eleven series on Channel 4, with the final series airing on 10 September 2010. Following this, Channel 5 acquired the rights to the series, and it was officially relaunched on 18 August 2011. The show is scheduled to air its fifteenth series starting 5 June 2014.
The show was initially hosted by Davina McCall from its inception to its cancellation by Channel 4. Despite being offered the position of host following the show’s move to Channel 5, McCall chose not to return. Former winner Brian Dowling became the host, a position he held throughout the twelfth and thirteenth series. Emma Willis later replaced Dowling as the host of the series for the fourteenth series, with Willis being scheduled to host the fifteenth series also.
Marcus Bentley has been the narrator of the series since it premiered in 2000. Big Brother has had numerous spin-off series occur since its premiere, most notably Celebrity Big Brother, which is a shorter version of the main series whereas the cast is comprised solely of celebrities.
Numerous other spin-off series that are not competition based have aired, with Dermot O’Leary, Russell Brand, George Lamb, and Emma Willis all hosting spin-offs. Over the course of its run, there have been a total of 31 series of Big Brother; this includes fourteen regular series, thirteen celebrity series, and four special series. Big Brother UK is the third-longest running version of Big Brother, running slightly shorter than the Spanish and American versions of the show.
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