Brian Dowling: ‘Big Brother’s like casting a soap’

Big Brother‘s back with a bang next week! We caught up with host Brian Dowling to find out what lies in store for this year’s housemates…

Why do you think the public still enjoys Big Brother?

“Everyone always wants to know what’s going on in their neighbours’ house. When my neighbours have arguments I always listen and with Big brother you do that. Sometimes I have to watch the show behind a pillow. Any show that can still make you do that, people are interested in.”

This will be your fourth series as host. Are you less nervous now than you were at the start?

“I love doing live television, but last year the nerves would cripple me and I wouldn’t eat for the whole day. But if you don’t have nerves there’s no point doing live television. I remember losing the plot once. All I had to say was: ‘Big Brother house, this is Brian’. I say it so many times but, this time, no one had given me the cue card. I’m screaming: ‘Where is the card? I NEED the card!'”

Can you give us any hints about this year’s housemates?

“I know the house has had a complete makeover. I know the housemates this year will be completely varied in age, a mix of younger people and older people. This will create more drama, which always mixes things up.”

What kind of housemates would you like to see in the house?

“I want people who stand their ground and who don’t shy away from argumentative situations. You want that one person that annoys everyone, but you want them to be likeable to the public. You need lots of people to make the show work – it’s like casting a soap opera.”

Are you allowed to have an opinion on the housemates?

“Obviously, I’ve got an opinion, but I can’t Tweet too much because, being the host, I don’t want to encourage people to vote a certain way. I’m always conscious of the fact that I can’t be too opinionated.”

In case anyone’s forgotten, you’ve won Big Brother twice. What advice would you give to those taking part this year?

“Don’t rile the crowd up! Just smile. Don’t walk onto the stage, shouting: ‘You don’t know me’. Because the public decide… and you can guarantee that housemate will be the first one out!

You also took part in Hell’s Kitchen in 2007. Would you consider doing another reality show?

“I was offered I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! a few years ago, but I could never imagine myself doing that. I’d be so annoying; you’re wet, you’ve got nature, there’s rats, there’s snakes, you’re not eating, you’re probably sexually frustrated. No, that wouldn’t be good. I’d much rather sit in a house and do nothing.”

How do you think Big Brother has changed since you first took part in 2001?

“Big Brother now is not a social experiment; it’s an entertainment show. It’s there to entertain us and, thankfully, people still want to watch.”

Big Brother starts on Jubilee Tuesday, June 5 at 9pm on Channel 5.