MailOnline looks back at Big Brother’s most iconic contestants from Jade Goody to Brian Belo

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Reality television juggernaut Big Brother’s comeback has been confirmed by ITV bosses, nearly five years after the reality TV show went on a hiatus.

The formerly Channel 5-based social experiment has found a new UK home on ITV2 and ITVX, with a series set to air next year.

Big Brother first aired on UK screens in 2000 when it launched on Channel 4 and ran for a total of 11 series, while there were seven series of Celebrity Big Brother and a final special edition called Ultimate Big Brother.

It then moved to Channel 5 for a further eight series, with an additional 15 celebrity seasons, before going on hiatus in 2018 – after 18 years on screen. 

It’s BACK! Big Brother’s much-anticipated comeback has been confirmed by ITV bosses – with the show set to move to ITV2/ITVX next year 

One of the world’s most successful reality television franchises, it first hit screens in the Netherlands in 1999 and more than 500 series of the show have aired around the world in more than 64 countries and regions.

And as it returns to UK screens, cast of carefully selected housemates from all walks of life will once again take up residence in Britain’s most famous television house for up to six weeks, with cameras capturing their every move.

It was reported a deal with rights-owner Banijay has been inked after months of talks and that the house will be in a brand new UK location, but it has been claimed former hosts Davina McCall and Emma Willis are unlikely to return. 

Before its hiatus, the show featured some iconic moments over the years, and previous series have produced some of the most memorable moments of British television ever with housemates that live long in the memory.

After the news of Big Brother’s return, MailOnline takes a look back at some of the most iconic members of the public from the show…

Jade Goody – 2002/2007 series

Perhaps the most famous housemate, the late Jade Goody got her start as a contestant on the third series of Big Brother in 2002 alongside Alison Hammond, BBC radio host Adele Roberts and eventual winner Kate Lawler.

The series catapulted Jade to stardom with her exploits dotting the pages of tabloid newspapers before her return to the house in 2007 for Celebrity Big Brother (CBB) – alongside boyfriend Jack Tweed and mother Jackiey Budden.

Star: Perhaps the most famous housemate, the late Jade Goody got her start as a contestant on the third series of Big Brother in 2002

Star: Perhaps the most famous housemate, the late Jade Goody got her start as a contestant on the third series of Big Brother in 2002

The edition of CBB saw perhaps the most shocking series ever when Jade, along with model Danielle Lloyd and S Club star Jo O’Meara, were accused of racist abuse against Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty – culminating in distressing scenes.

Ofcom complaints flooded in from 45,000 viewers and the comments sparked a diplomatic incident when the UK and Indian governments got involved. Jade and Shilpa were then bizarrely placed into a head-to-head evictions vote where Jade was ousted from the house.

The incident led to CBB being cancelled in 2008. While Shilpa went on to win the show, Jade appeared on its Indian version a year later in an attempt to redeem herself. But while in the house, she was tragically told she had cervical cancer and left the house for treatment.

RIP: Jade died at the age of 27 in March 2009 following a battle with cervical cancer, just one-month after she tied the knot with Jack (both pictured in February 2009)

RIP: Jade died at the age of 27 in March 2009 following a battle with cervical cancer, just one-month after she tied the knot with Jack (both pictured in February 2009)

After the cancer spread and became terminal, Jade’s struggle led to a surge in requests for cervical cancer screenings and a national review in the policy for the disease.

Jade married Jack Tweed in February 2009 and sold the photo rights of the wedding to glossy magazines in order to provide a trust fund for her sons Bobby and Freddie.

Jade tragically died of cancer in March 2009 and her funeral led to a large public outpouring of grief from her admirers.

Alison Hammond – 2002 series

She’s earned legions of fans over the years, thanks to her upbeat antics on This Morning, where she has been seen interviewing some of the world’s biggest stars.

But Alison Hammond, 45, first made her TV debut on Big Brother in 2002 and she was evicted from the house after just two weeks.

The bubbly Brummie became the second housemate to be voted out of Big Brother’s third series.

Despite her rather modest stint in the house, she has fashioned a successful TV career out of her beginnings after she was hired as a reporter for ITV’s This Morning in 2003.

In recent years, she has become a firm social media favourite before eventually becoming a regular presenter on the chat show alongside Dermot O’Leary last year.

Hit: Alison Hammond was evicted from Big Brother just two weeks into her TV debut back in 2002

The Big Brother house is not the only reality show the national treasure has starred in as she went into the Australian jungle when she took part in the tenth series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2010.

She followed her time doing Bush Tucker Trials with subsequent spells on Celebrity MasterChef and Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.

Alison’s short spell in Big Brother was a shock to many of her newer fans when it was revisited in 2020 for the show’s 20th anniversary.

‘Alison Hammond becoming a British icon after only spending two on #BBUK,’ wrote one fan, followed by another who said: ‘I had no idea Alison Hammond got evicted so early. Now look at her. Proves you don’t need to win to do well in your career.’

‘How astounding is it that Alison Hammond got evicted after 2 weeks and is now one of the most recognisable faces on British TV,’ stated a third.

Successful TV career: Since her TV debut, Alison has gone on to secure a successful career as a presenter on This Morning. Pictured in July 2019

Successful TV career: Since her TV debut, Alison has gone on to secure a successful career as a presenter on This Morning. Pictured in July 2019

Another fan of the show wrote: ‘It’s funny how Dame Alison Hammond was evicted from Big Brother so early yet still managed to carve out a successful and long-running career in the public eye. Iconic!’

During her time at This Morning, Hammond has interviewed bona fide superstars such as Beyonce and Britney Spears – winning plaudits for her approachable and perky style.

Nikki Grahame – 2006 series

The late Nikki Grahame rose to fame after appearing on the 2006 series of the hit reality show. She appeared on the seventh series of Big Brother in 2006, finishing in fifth place before returning to the show in 2010 for the Ultimate Big Brother series.

After entering the house dressed as a Playboy bunny, Nikki quickly became known for her temper tantrums and Diary Room histrionics, including the now famous ‘who is she?’ rant.

Nikki – who tragically died last year – was evicted on day 58, but went back into the house after the remaining contestants picked her to return.

After Big Brother, she bagged her own reality show, Princess Nikki, which saw her attempt to keep various jobs.

She also appeared on a slew of shows including Celebrity Scissorhands, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and The Weakest Link, and a Channel 4 poll named her the 12th most ‘written about’ person of 2006 in the UK.

Prior to Big Brother, the aspiring actress appeared as an extra in the BBC soap opera EastEnders and played a footballer’s wife in Sky One’s Dream Team. 

She also appeared as a contestant on ITV dating show Blind Date and competed in the 2004 Miss Hertfordshire pageant.

Fan favourite Nikki also won a National Television Award for most popular TV contender and published two books – autobiographies that followed her lifelong battle with anorexia – Dying To Be Thin and Fragile. 

During her time on the house, Nikki formed an unlikely relationship with the show’s eventual winner Pete Bennett. Their romance ended a month after they left the house in 2006, but the duo remained close and caught up just a month before Nikki’s death.

History: Nikki Grahame rose to fame after appearing on the 2006 series of the hit reality show. (pictured with Davina McCall in 2010 after appearing on the Ultimate Big Brother series)

History: Nikki Grahame rose to fame after appearing on the 2006 series of the hit reality show. (pictured with Davina McCall in 2010 after appearing on the Ultimate Big Brother series)

Nikki had struggled with anorexia since she was a child and spoke frankly about time she had spent in institutions to treat her eating disorder both as a child and an adult.

Nikki tragically died in April 2021 at the age 38 – just one month after her friends started a GoFundMe page for her anorexia treatment.

Friends managed to raise more than £69,000 through the fundraiser, with organisers saying they had ‘exhausted every avenue possible’ to help the troubled star.

Nikki’s death was confirmed online by her friend Leon Dee.

A statement on the GoFundMe page read: ‘It is with great sadness, we have to let you know that our dear friend Nikki passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April.

‘It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age. 

‘Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely.’

Leon added that all the funds that were raised on the GoFundMe would be given to a charity as a donation in Nikki’s memory.

Tragic: Big Brother Nikki Grahame died at the age 38 - just one month after her friends started a GoFundMe page for anorexia treatment (pictured in 2019)

Tragic: Big Brother Nikki Grahame died at the age 38 – just one month after her friends started a GoFundMe page for anorexia treatment (pictured in 2019)

He penned: ‘Funds will be held safely in this GoFundMe until we have established an organisation supporting those suffering from anorexia to which we will make a donation in Nikki’s memory. 

‘We will post updates for you with more details as soon as we have them. We are working with GoFundMe at this time.

‘Rest In Peace, Nikki. We love you & not a day will go by without missing your smile.’

A statement from her representative said at the time: ‘It is with immeasurable sadness that Nikki Grahame passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April 2021. 

‘Please respect the privacy of Nikki’s friends and family at this tragic and difficult time.’

Brian Belo – 2007 series 

Brian Belo became the youngest ever winner of Big Brother at 20-years-old in 2007. He famously claimed he had never heard of playwright William Shakespeare while on the show.

After his stint in the house, he began to act on stage and screen including cameo appearances in Hollyoaks and a recurring segment on Harry Hill’s TV Burp, where he would give his takes on the week’s television.

He became a recurrent guest on series of Big Brother both under the stewardship of Channel 4 and Channel 5, first re-entering the house as part of E4’s Celebrity Hijack series and then returning on the civilian series in 2015.

Say what? Brian Belo, from Basildon, Essex, became the youngest ever winner of Big Brother at 20-years-old in 2007. He famously claimed he had never heard of playwright William Shakespeare while on the show

Say what? Brian Belo, from Basildon, Essex, became the youngest ever winner of Big Brother at 20-years-old in 2007. He famously claimed he had never heard of playwright William Shakespeare while on the show 

His return in the 16th series saw him clash repeatedly with Helen Wood, the previous series’ winner who had also re-entered the house, and after one argument, he dramatically decided to quit by climbing over the garden wall.

Brian also appeared on the TV series Dead Set, a zombie horror set in the Big Brother house, as himself.

He poked fun at his reputation over Shakespeare in 2008 – performing segments of the Bard’s plays as part of Stratford-upon-Avon’s Shakespeare Aloud initiative to bring the works to a wider audience.

In 2011, Brian took legal action against the makers behind hit TV show The Only Way Is Essex, claiming he had come up with the idea for the reality series and had sent the plans to ITV. 

In 2013, it was reported that Brian – who is from Basildon, Essex, himself – settled with ITV and Lime Pictures in an out-of-court settlement. 

Josie Gibson – 2010 series

Josie Gibson, 37, won the final edition of the reality show on Channel 4 in 2010, before it moved to Channel 5 the following year.

On Big Brother, Josie met John James and they enjoyed a nine month whirlwind romance that was documented on spin-off show, There’s Something About Josie.

The ill-matched couple’s romance captivated viewers before they suffered an acrimonious split a year later when she accused him of cheating.

After her spin-off show, Josie dropped off the grid before returning to the spotlight in 2017 as a contestant on short-lived Channel 4 show The Jump. She left abruptly before she was due to take on the first live ski-jump of the series.

Winner: Josie Gibson, 37, won the final edition of the reality show on Channel 4 in 2010 - she is now a successful daytime TV presenter

Winner: Josie Gibson, 37, won the final edition of the reality show on Channel 4 in 2010 – she is now a successful daytime TV presenter 

She later followed in the footsteps of Alison Hammond and joined This Morning as a competition announcer.

Josie later enjoyed a stint filling in as a host for Holly Willoughby and she has since made a name for herself as one of the ITV programme’s most-loved reporters. 

After her Big Brother win, Josie hit headlines after shedding six stone, going from a size 20 to a size 8 in the space of a year following her 2010 victory.

But Josie revealed to Closer magazine last year that she also lost a quarter of a million pounds after launching her sought-after diet plan called Slimmables.

The Bristolian reality star spoke candidly about her mistakes after trusting the ‘wrong people’ and shared her own financial advice.

Talking about her money loss, she revealed: ‘When I first launched my business I trusted the wrong people and ended up losing a quarter of a million pounds.

‘All my mistakes seem to boil down to trusting the wrong people, so I’d say be careful who you work with and trust when it comes to money.’

Host: She later followed in the footsteps of Alison Hammond and joined This Morning as a competition announcer and is now one of the show's most-loved presenters

Host: She later followed in the footsteps of Alison Hammond and joined This Morning as a competition announcer and is now one of the show’s most-loved presenters 

Josie came up with the idea of Slimmables after helping a group of overweight people, called The Unslimmables, on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. 

It took the Big Brother star two years to develop the website based on her own weight loss method.

The plan sees members go through a gruelling 14-day detox and then onto a 80/20 diet plan, where they can eat healthily 80 per cent of the time and have a 20 per cent ‘cheat’ leeway.

Slimmables also has a third stage membership, where it helps users maintain their goal weight.

During the website launch in 2015, Josie posed alongside a cutout of herself before her weight loss as she showed off her tanned and toned curves.

Nadia Almada – 2004 series

Nadia Almada, from Madeira, Portugal, was the only ever transgender winner of Big Brother. She kept her transgender identity a secret from the house, but viewers were informed.

She became a fast favourite and won a huge 74 per cent of the vote in 2004. Long-time presenter Davina McCall previously revealed that Nadia was her favourite housemate of all time.

Trailblazer: Nadia Almada, from Madeira, Portugal, was the only ever transgender winner of Big Brother in 2004

Trailblazer: Nadia Almada, from Madeira, Portugal, was the only ever transgender winner of Big Brother in 2004

Fan fave: Nadia became a fast favourite and won a huge 74 per cent of the public vote

Fan fave: Nadia became a fast favourite and won a huge 74 per cent of the public vote

The series featured a host of shocking moments, yet none more so than Fight Night, when Emma and Michelle Bass re-entered the house after a false eviction landed them in ‘The Bedsit’, where they watched on as their housemates spoke about them.

Upon their return, the house became embroiled in a food fight and as arguments escalated, Nadia slapped Jason Cowan.

Nadia returned for Ultimate Big Brother in 2010 alongside many notable all-stars. She had run-ins with Coolio before being evicted 10th.

Brian Dowling – 2001 series

Brian Dowling rose to fame when he appeared on Big Brother’s second series in 2001. 

He appeared on Ultimate Big Brother in 2010 and was crowned champion, before then being invited to host the show when it moved over to Channel 5 the following year.

He presented from 2011 to 2013 before Emma Willis took over – something he claims he wasn’t told about and only discovered after reading it in a newspaper.

Brian, 43, has claimed his time as host was ‘tainted’ after learning he’d been secretly replaced.

Brian Dowling pictured  in 2001

Brian in 2015 on Ultimate Big Brother

All-star: Brian Dowling appeared in Big Brother twice and won the Ultimate Big Brother all-star series

Controversy:  He presented BB from 2011 to 2013 before being taken over by Emma Willis - something he claims he wasn't told about and only discovered after reading it in a newspaper

Controversy:  He presented BB from 2011 to 2013 before being taken over by Emma Willis – something he claims he wasn’t told about and only discovered after reading it in a newspaper

Brian has largely stated out of the spotlight since his stint as host of Big Brother ended in 2013 but his took to social media earlier this year to announce his baby news.

The Big Brother winner revealed that he and his choreographer husband Arthur Gourounlian are expecting a baby through surrogacy due later this year.

Nick Bateman – 2000 series

City broker Nick Bateman won the nickname Nasty Nick after he attempted to cheat in the game in its earliest iteration back in 2000.

In the modest house in Bow, East London, Nick was seen passing notes between contestants to sway nominations. He was confronted by eventual winner Craig over the plot.

After completing an assault course, the housemates began to doubt Nick, especially after he struggled to complete the task despite claiming he was in the army.

Tom McDermott expressed his concerns to Darren Ramsay and Craig Phillips, noting that Nick seemed to be passing around written notes with housemates names to try and influence their nominations.

Throwback: Nick Bateman's cheating was exposed, causing him to removed from the house in 2000

Throwback: Nick Bateman’s cheating was exposed, causing him to removed from the house in 2000

After searching Nick’s luggage, they discovered that he had been cheating, as one of Big Brother primary rules states that housemates are banned from discussing or attempting to influence nominations.

Craig and the other housemates confronted Nick, and he eventually confessed to passing around the messages, leaving Big Brother with no choice but to eject him from the house.

staggering 3.5million people went on to vote for Liverpudlian builder Craig, from Seaforth, Merseyside, to win the £70,000 prize at the end of the first series. 

When Nick left Big Brother, he appeared on GMTV, Through The Keyhole and Big Brother’s Bit On The Side.

He also appeared on Ultimate Big Brother back in 2010 and finished 5th place when he lost out to Brian Dowling.

He published a book called Nasty Nick: How To Be A Right B****** in 2001.

Now in his 50s, Nick moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2013 and is working as a freelance writer. 

Pete Bennett – 2006 series

Pete Bennett was another of the stand-out stars from the 2006 series of Big Brother.

The housemate, who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, won the hearts of the public and eventually took home the £100,000 prize pot. He also had a romance with fellow housemate Nikki Grahame.

One of the most memorable moments of his spell on Big Brother were his frenetic reactions after he had been confirmed as the show’s seventh winner.

Inspiring: Pete Bennett, who suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, won the hearts of the public and eventually won the £100,000 prize pot - and had a romance with co-star Nikki Grahame

Inspiring: Pete Bennett, who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, won the hearts of the public and eventually won the £100,000 prize pot – and had a romance with co-star Nikki Grahame

Resurgence: Pete reemerged this year with a role in Catherine Tate's The Nan Movie

Resurgence: Pete reemerged this year with a role in Catherine Tate’s The Nan Movie

Though his relationship with Nikki ended soon after they both left the house, they remained close until her death last year.

He published an autobiography detailing his struggles with Tourettes in 2006 after his victory. 

Pete also set up a cleaning business in 2016 called Celebriclean which provided custodial services from well-known faces like his. The company was dissolved in late 2018.

Both before and after his reality TV successes, Pete was dedicated to music, fronting bands such as Daddy Fantastic and Love Dogs. The latter band performed at Glastonbury Festival and venues such as the Indig02 and The Cavern Club.

The Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) said Pete’s appearance as a housemate had ‘put Tourette’s on the map’ after being initially hesitant over his participation.

He re-emerged this year with a role in Catherine Tate’s The Nan Movie.

Kate Lawler – 2002 series

Kate Lawler rose to fame as the winner of the third series of Big Brother on Channel 4 in 2002, with an amazing 10million people tuning in to see her triumph.

She impressively became the first female winner of the show in series three with 58.05% of the vote. 

After her victory from a field including favourites Jade Goody and Alison Hammond, she embarked on a radio career that has lasted over two decades.

Within months of her triumph, she became a DJ on Capital FM and this role led to her host the ill-fated Channel Four breakfast show RI:SE from February to December 2003, when she also left Capital. 

Winner: Kate Lawler won the third series of Big Brother on Channel 4 in 2002, making her the first ever female winner

Winner: Kate Lawler won the third series of Big Brother on Channel 4 in 2002, making her the first ever female winner

After a year-long career break, she reemerged on ITV reality show Celebrity Wrestling as ‘The Brawler’ where she helped her team, The Warriors, triumph.

She also appeared in the second season of the original Love Island series as a new arrival in 2006 and made it all the way to the final. 

And after being on Brainiac: Science Abuse and a brief spell hosting Playdate, Kate returned to type when she joined Kerrang! Radio’s breakfast show The Morning After in October 2007.

Her career went from strength to strength after her cohost Tim Shaw was dismissed from the role, seeing her move to solely host a drive-time show in April 2008 which she stayed at until 2016 alongside regional work. 

Fond memories: Radio host Kate fondly recalled her days the famous reality television house, saying the the contestants were plied with as much alcohol as they wanted (pictured on Big Brother in 2002 with the late Jade Goody)

Fond memories: Radio host Kate fondly recalled her days the famous reality television house, saying the the contestants were plied with as much alcohol as they wanted (pictured on Big Brother in 2002 with the late Jade Goody)

She then moved to Virgin Radio and held various roles there until she left earlier this year intending to spend more time with her family.

Before the Big Brother revival was announced, Kate insisted Millennials’ ‘minds will be blown’ if were to watch the reality show today. 

She fondly recalled her days the famous reality television house, saying the the contestants were plied with as much alcohol as they wanted, prompting lots of raucous and raunchy behaviour, which would totally shock the viewers of Love Island today.

Chantelle Houghton – 2006 series

Chantelle Houghton appeared on the celebrity spin-off of Big Brother in 2006 as the only civilian contestant, and went on to marry singer Preston after they met in the house, though they split just nine months later.

She successfully convinced the celebrities in the house that she was one of them – even singing them a fake song from her made-up band Kandy Floss as part of the charade.

She eventually won the Celebrity Big Brother series – banking a £25,000 cash prize. 

Wow! Chantelle Houghton appeared on the celebrity spin-off of Big Brother in 2006 as the only civilian contestant, married singer Preston after they met in the house, but they split just nine months later

Wow! Chantelle Houghton appeared on the celebrity spin-off of Big Brother in 2006 as the only civilian contestant, married singer Preston after they met in the house, but they split just nine months later

Ploy: She successfully convinced the celebrities in the house that she was one of them - even singing them a fake song from her made-up band Kandy Floss as part of the charade

Ploy: She successfully convinced the celebrities in the house that she was one of them – even singing them a fake song from her made-up band Kandy Floss as part of the charade

The reality personality, who now works for the Body Shop, says she was paid £250,000 for her first interview after leaving the Big Brother house.

Chantelle found love with Ordinary Boys singer Preston during her time on the show and admitted she was given almost £1million for their wedding interview. 

Despite the eye-watering fees coming her way, Chantelle told The Sun she was always sensible with her money, saying: ‘I was a millionaire and I’ve got a mortgage-free home as a result. 

‘I was very wise with my money, I didn’t go out and spend it on designer handbags or shoes, I grew up with bailiffs knocking on the door, and I just didn’t want to live that life.’

She later appeared on Ultimate Big Brother in 2010 alongside her ex-husband Preston and placed third in the all-star series.

Ker-ching: The reality personality, who now works for the Body Shop, says she was once paid £250,000 for her first interview after leaving the Big Brother house

Ker-ching: The reality personality, who now works for the Body Shop, says she was once paid £250,000 for her first interview after leaving the Big Brother house

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