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Channel 4 prepares for its final Celebrity Big Brother

Producers hoping show will 'go out with a bang'

See our gallery of shots from inside the CBB house

Shot from inside Big Brother 2010 house

'A tart's boudoir'?: inside the Big Brother 2010 house. Photograph: Channel 4

It was once one of Channel 4's most popular shows, and also its most controversial. Now the broadcaster is preparing to say goodbye to Celebrity Big Brother, which will conclude with its longest run - 27 days - when it launches on Sunday.

The famous Big Brother house has been given a makeover for the show's seventh and final season, with a look described by one visitor as a "tart's boudoir", which producers hope will help the show "go out with a bang".

Channel 4 has sought to keep the identities of this year's contestants tightly under wraps. Only one thing is certain - the lineup will definitely not include former Culture Club singer Boy George, who lost a court battle to take part in the show after he was banned from appearing by the probation service.

Celebrities rumoured to be taking part include Pamela Anderson, who recently appeared in Aladdin on the London stage, rapper MC Hammer and Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.

It will be only the second Celebrity Big Brother since the race row involving Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody that engulfed the show and Channel 4 in early 2007. The fallout from the row included more than 50,000 complaints to media regulator Ofcom and Channel 4, which was required to broadcast three apologies ahead of the subsequent series of the reality show.

The main Big Brother show will also air for the last time next summer after audiences fell and Channel 4 came to the end of a three-year deal with the show's producer, Endemol.

This year's 10th series of Big Brother averaged around 2 million viewers, down from more than 5 million for its third and most popular season in 2002. It remains to be seen whether the format will be picked up by a rival UK broadcaster.

Channel 4 commissioning editor David Williams said the theme of the final celebrity series was "Dante's inferno - hell lies in others".

"We wanted to make it more moody and atmospheric and signal that it was going to be a little bit different," said Williams. "We pulled out all the stops and had some fun with it ... It's slightly gothic. A tart's boudoir? I wouldn't say that."

But celebrities will not face the prospect of being sent to "jail", the outdoor prison area which has featured in previous editions of the main Big Brother show. "Most of them have been in jail already," joked Williams of the new celebrity contestants.

The new series will feature 48 cameras including - for the first time - one in the middle of the coffee table to capture housemates' conversations in close-up.

There is a camera above the bath but only microphones in the toilet and shower area. The bedroom was the only area kept under wraps by Channel 4 yesterday. A mystery object - "it's quite big" - is also promised for the empty garden area.

All parts of the house has been given a makeover, including a stainless steel kitchen area that executive producer Shirley Jones said was inspired by a "hospital autopsy room". For the first time the celebrities will be able to bring as much luggage as they like, lifting a rule which restricted them to one suitcase each.

"It would be nice to go out with a bang," said Jones. "We want them to be challenged, [to see] how they cope with loss of control. Celebrities tend to be quite controlling in terms of their image and their lives. A lot of the time the show works best when it is entertaining and funny ... the more humiliating performance-based tasks."

But while it is Channel 4's final Celebrity Big Brother, it may still return on another channel. "Who knows?" said Jones. "It may well reappear some day. I have no idea."

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Channel 4 prepares for its final Celebrity Big Brother

This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 09.42 GMT on Wednesday 30 December 2009. It was last modified at 09.57 GMT on Wednesday 30 December 2009.

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  • SirBevois SirBevois

    30 Dec 2009, 10:27AM

    I'm looking forward to seeing how more banal Davina McCall will be.

    I believe she will take face gurning and faux teen speak to such new depths, that it will open up a doorway to another dimension, ripping our universe to shreds, leaving the McCall to reign over her dominion for enternity.

    She must be stopped.

  • Briantist Briantist

    30 Dec 2009, 10:48AM

    In light of Rage Against The Machine, I expect everyone in the UK to deliberately watching ANYTHING else so the show gets a nice fat zero for the viewing figures.

    Perhaps we could all listen to, say, System of a Down's cover of the NWA's "Shame" instead of watching CBB?

  • Halo572 Halo572

    30 Dec 2009, 10:57AM

    'Producers hoping show will 'go out with a bang' - maybe one of the contestants will take explosive underwear in with them, it is very popular at the moment.

    Not that I will know as I would rather gouge my eyes out and puncture my ear drums than watch Z list 'celebs' play at being cats.

    I'm sorry I don''t know who any of you are. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?

  • gatz gatz

    30 Dec 2009, 11:09AM

    My, but there's a lot of people lining up to read an article then type a message to tell us how little attention they are paying.
    I've tired of the format too but, depending who is in it, and unlike the jungle one this programme usually has a couple of people I have heard of, I plan to watch some of it.
    What other programme could have given us the sight of George Galloway in an unforgiving leotard using the medium of dance to express the emotion of surprise at a small dog not coming when called? You may well say that the sight was not edifying, but I found it a fascinating insight into the nature of 21st century public life.

  • mcpatrick mcpatrick

    30 Dec 2009, 11:47AM

    You will come out on top of being the Alfa male in the house? Alex or Vinny you can see vinny trying to play the hardman role he thinks he is and Alex will be more relaxed, but will vinny cause a clash? Bring on the Gladiators now thats a task agme for the two of them to see who will come out on top.

  • RLatruesport RLatruesport

    30 Dec 2009, 11:53AM

    My, all these people writing about something they wont be watching - how helpful you are!
    Personally, I think its a good laugh (although 27 days sounds like a long haul - we shall see)

  • mcpatrick mcpatrick

    30 Dec 2009, 11:55AM

    Sorry first post was not correct.

    Who will come out on top of being the Alfa male in the house? Alex or Vinny you can see vinny trying to play the hard man role he thinks he is and Alex will be more relaxed, but will vinny cause a clash? Bring on the Gladiators now that?s a task game for the two of them to see who will come out on top Producers you will decide?

  • vinceprince vinceprince

    30 Dec 2009, 12:04PM

    " Most of them have been in jail already !" joked C4's commissioing editor David Williams.

    So the fact that CBB will feature ex-jailbirds ( and will again be hosted by an ex-junkie ) causes Mr. Williams to break out into giggles.

    The mans a tit.

    If C4 really wanted to end BB & CBB they would have cancelled further commissions immediately after the low ratings achieved by the last BB.

    What they are not-so-subtly doing is trying to raise interest in CBB so that the ratings improve and they can feel justified it prolonging the agony for many years to come.....

  • Terrierboy Terrierboy

    30 Dec 2009, 12:12PM

    "I'm not going to watch the show, but I will read an article on it just so I can sneeringly post a comment afterwards."

    So reality TV isn't ok, but spending all day every day posting on threads on the internet is? Interesting.

  • mikem42 mikem42

    30 Dec 2009, 12:45PM

    If they want to offer the celebs a version of hell - how about they simply don't put any cameras in, or on. They find out once they're inside that no one's watching them.

    That, I imagine, would be true hell for the celeb/non-celeb/soon-to-be-celebs who queue up for this sort of crap.

  • filthycrow filthycrow

    30 Dec 2009, 12:46PM

    Maybe Davina McCall should be one of the contestants this time. Wouldn't it be sweet if she was evicted first and then subsequently booed to buggery during her walk of shame?

  • avodaith avodaith

    30 Dec 2009, 2:56PM

    Briantist: Firstly as stated this is the last outing of the show, so what kind of effect do you expect a protest to have? Retroactively erase it from history?

    Secondly you seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that anything anyone watches contributes to viewing figures. Viewing figures need to be collated in some way, merely turning your TV on tells the broadcasters nothing. If you are signed up to one of the polling companies to provide information (or watch online) then go ahead, otherwise you would be wasting your time.

    I was gathered into big brother by BBLB; as we appear to be sticking with the vile and unlikeable Geaorge Lamb again I predict an ignominious end to a once classic entertaining, thought-provoking and influential TV show.

  • Poppa Poppa

    30 Dec 2009, 3:07PM

    Why do we have to keep suffering TV with these so called celebrity contestants, the majority of the public are fed up with this celebrity pap.
    I would like to see the show go out with a bang, 8kg of Semtex should do it....

  • Codlingsby Codlingsby

    30 Dec 2009, 3:24PM

    Actually I quite like it, it's gone past its sellby date, but it will be interesting to see how it pans out. It's a very relaxing show, nothing controversial will happen because they've learned to play the game. It would be nice if Craig and Nasty Nick from the first series were stuck in there together. That was populist TV at its finest, if they talk about it in the pubs you know you've struck a chord, but people don't go to the pub anymore do they?

  • hoytvanderbilt hoytvanderbilt

    30 Dec 2009, 3:28PM

    I know that at first it looks pointless to protest against something we are not going to watch, but the reason we do it is that we'll have to endure the celebrity BB nonsense anyway, through newspaper and magazine articles, chit chats with work colleagues, product endorsement, scandalous "breaking news" about some racy racist/sexist/homophobic incident, etc...
    My point is that even if I don't turn the TV on, when the show ends it will have contaminated my -tiny- brain anyway.

  • PatriciaPJ PatriciaPJ

    31 Dec 2009, 10:13AM

    Can't wait until Sunday so there! I didn't watch it this year (for the first time) but I wouldn't miss the celeb (tee hee) version for love nor money. It's even funnier to watch pro fame junkies go through their paces and it doesn't consume too much time. Bring it on! Am now going to have a look at The Mirror sight to see if they know who is taking part.

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