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Craig Phillips says Big Brother “changed the way we watch TV” as the show gets set to return this weekend

10 months ago

Craig Phillips says Big Brother “changed the way we watch TV” as the show gets set to return this weekend
Craig Phillips after winning the first Big Brother, with host Davina McCall (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Previous Big Brother winners Craig Phillips and Nadia Almada have reflected on the impact the show had on pop culture, saying: “It changed the way we watched TV.”

Big Brother will return to ITV on Sunday and air every night following its revival by the broadcaster five years after it was axed by Channel 5 amid a ratings slump.

The revival will see TV stars AJ Odudu and Will Best follow in the footsteps of former Big Brother presenters Davina McCall, Emma Willis and Brian Dowling, who all presented the popular programme during its 18-year reign on British TV.

Big Brother. Credit: PA
Big Brother. Credit: PA

Phillips, who won the first series of the show in 2000, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

“It changed the way we watch TV. It was the first one that brought in the interaction of voters and online and this, that and the other and it just took off.

“I bump into people and they can tell me exactly where they were on September 15, the day I won. They can remember clearly, people were having parties and celebrating it.”

Reflecting on the 24-hour nature of the show, he said: “I think that’s what grabbed the audience, it was new in so many different ways.

“It was risky at the time you know, it was risky for everyone, for us going in we didn’t know what to expect from it.”

Almada was the first transgender winner of the show when she won in 2005 and she said her victory was “so significant”.

She added: “It was a kickstart of a conversation. We didn’t have references then.

“I to this day get people through my TikTok platform come to me and say to me ‘I remember you were that reference that we never had and we’re so grateful’.

“And then the beauty of it all transcended everything beyond gender, race, colour. I became this human, Nadia, that everyone loved, as Adele did and remembers me.”

Big Brother
Nadia Almada won the show in 2005 (Andy Butterton/PA)

Singing superstar Adele recently reflected on watching Almada’s win during her Las Vegas residency and Almada said she had “an emotional meltdown” when she saw the footage.

She said: “I was live on TikTok emotionally crying, I was so honoured, it was such an overwhelming sense of disbelief.

“I couldn’t believe that Adele knew who I was. I want to go and watch the show in Vegas so Adele, hello!”

Phillips said the contestants entering the house will likely be very different from the people who took part two decades ago.

He said: “They’re going to become very popular no doubt, whether it’s for good or bad reasons for what they do in there.

“I think they may be going in with a bit of agenda. They will probably already have agents and things lined up. When we went in we were very naive. We had nothing lined up and we didn’t expect anything from it.

“I promise you I sat in that house every day talking to the group thinking to myself ‘how on earth could you possibly make an entertainment show out of this nonsense? We are sitting there talking rubbish, we are bored, we are doing these tasks’. I had no idea how you could make a show out of it.”

Big Brother: The Launch will air on ITV1, ITV2 and ITVX on Sunday at 9pm, while the remainder of the series will be broadcast nightly on ITV2 and ITVX, excluding Saturdays.

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