Housemates on Big Brother 9 are in for a rough ride, according to its executive producer. Phil Edgar-Jones says the series will be ‘funny but evil’.

Broadcast magazine reports that a record 16 housemates will be introduced next Thursday and the show will run for 13 weeks in a year that’s crucial to the fortunes of the onetime hit reality show.

Last year, Big Brother’s ratings plummeted to an average 3.6 million viewers.

Edgar-Jones said: “we’ve told the housemates it will be full-on and there will be no leeway. We’re getting tougher on wannabes and the causes of wannabes.

“We’ve been very careful with casting this year and there are some characters of the like you’ve never seen before.

“These are not your typical screaming wannabes, but people with a bit of depth, from different backgrounds. We want conflict but we don’t want endless shouting.”

In an echo of Big Brother 5, when the house was divided into rich and poor halves he said this series will be ‘funny but evil’.

One tabloid report suggests the producers are going to make the housemates go hungry to stoke the flames of discontent.

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