Who would have imagined the tide would turn too quickly, and within a month of such reports the press would be singing the shows praises, eager to fall in favour with the show's huge following. Glued to their television sets, people from all over the country watched with anticipation the back stabbing and double dealing that led to 'Nasty' Nick Bateman's eventual demise. But after his eviction, the show grow still and found even more fans and viewers who would soon crown Craig Phillips their first winner of Big Brother.
But the programme's journey had only just begun. Plans for a second series were quickly drawn up and in the summer of 2001, 11 people were ushered into the house of dreams, or nightmares depending how you look at it, and into the living rooms of millions of people. As the weeks progressed, it was clear that Season 1 had been no fluke. This new format and genre of Television was truly a compelling experience and a media sensation. Millions watched with joy as Helen [and all her fabulously blonde 'Helen-isms'] and eviction-survivor Paul's relationship blossomed into a beautiful romance, and as millions of phone votes put the Big Brother crown firmly on the head of 'gay, camp and proud of it' Brian Dowling.
It seemed, in 2002 that the show may have lost steam. How can such a mammoth programme remain popular for a third year in a row, the critics moaned. They were quickly shown the error of their ways by booming viewing figures. The hilarious antics of Jade Goody and her fellow housemates, their earth-shattering arguments and drink-fuelled 'activities'. Yet, amongst all the chaos that was Big Brother 3, a strong bond and genuine like developed between the viewers and 14 people they had never met before. The format, it proved, still worked. But, the following year Endemol's luck did not hold out. A new group of 12 were introduced to the public and to their new home, but somewhere along the line something wasn't right. Smelling blood, the press jumped on the 'Anti-BB' bandwagon, ratings fell to their lowest ever and contestants were forgotten, it seemed, the second they left the house. It looked as thought the magic might have finally burned out, and the writing was on the wall for the reality show.
For its fifth year, the show underwent a major face lift. After season 4's dismal performance, new rules have been introduced; the house reduced in size, designers called into tear up the 'Guide to Good Design' and make the house as awkward as possible for the housemates. In addition, perhaps the most outrageous group of people to ever walk through the doors were sent in by Producers. There were fireworks! Arguments, flirting, shock announcements and heated debates all broke out. Big Brother got Evil. The show was such a hit that producers largely based the sixth series on series 5. Another twist was introduced: Big Brother was funny and would often mock the housemates in the diary room and with odd secret missions. Also, another group of eccentric housemates was sent into the house which had been designed to reduce the housemate's privacy with the inclusion of glass walls. While the series was successful, it did suffer from some poorer ratings than the previous year due to being scheduled against the ITV1 series Celebrity Love Island in the early weeks. The sixth series also came under criticism for over-manipulating situations and the show's public broadcast qualities were brought into question. Nevertheless, during series 6, Channel 4 confirmed that 2 more Big Brother's have been ordered from Endemol that will air in 2006 and 2007 respectively. See you next year!