A host of Big Brother housemates past and present have turned out to celebrate the launch of the first winner’s autobiography.

Craig Phillips won the first series of the reality show in 2000, and on Thursday night he threw a glittering party in Liverpool to launch My Story: Building Beyond Big Brother.

Phillips paid homage to his day job as a property developer by turning up in a builder’s van and was pushed up the red carpet in a wheelbarrow by his friend, actor Ricky Tomlinson, dressed for the occasion in a hard hat and fluorescent jacket over a ripped string vest.

He was accompanied by last year’s Big Brother winner, schoolteacher Rachel Rice, and seventh series winner Pete Bennett.

Other guests at the Sir Thomas Hotel included his fellow housemate from the first series, former nun-turned-journalist Anna Nolan.

Phillips, 37, said he was overwhelmed by the number of supporters who had turned out. Explaining the reason for writing his life story, he said: “When I first came out of the house, so many people asked me about doing a book.

“I felt like I didn’t have enough to talk about until now and all of a sudden I woke up one morning and thought I’ve done over 800 TV shows, I’ve been round the world, I’ve got my own production company… I’ve got this wonderful honour of being successful in my own right.”

He said other ex-housemates regularly sought his advice on life after the house.

“The key to my success is that I had a building trade before Big Brother,” he said. A lot of the housemates say to me, ‘What’s the key to staying in the public eye?’.

“I say, ‘Hard work, honesty and perhaps if you’ve got a trade and something to offer for the industry’.”