Brian Dowling thought he had a heavyweight rival for the role as presenter of Big Brother on Channel 5 – Cheryl Cole.

Big Brother 2 winner Brian, 33, is taking over hosting duties from Davina McCall for the reality show’s resurrection and admitted he was surprised Channel 5 gave him the job.

“Let’s be honest, I’m not known for being a prime-time presenter, but I don’t think anyone is until they’re given that opportunity,” he said.

Brian, who also returned to win Ultimate Big Brother, which marked the death of the show on Channel 4 last year, was given the job last month after impressing in screen tests.

But at one point he thought he might miss out to a certain former X Factor judge.

He said: “I know Cheryl Cole’s name was attached from reading the paper and I was thinking, ‘Oh no, Cheryl’s taking my job’ and then she was fired from US X Factor and I was like, ‘Poor Cheryl, but what about me?’

“They said I did the best screen test ever and I’m very good at walking and talking, which you wouldn’t think would be difficult, but it is. Obviously someone else they tested wasn’t very good… Cheryl Cole!” he joked.

Among the slew of celebrity friends who congratulated Brian on his success was Tess Daly, who he’d worked with on SMTV Live, and of course Davina McCall.

“She was the one I was waiting on,” he admits. “I want to do her proud.”

Big Brother starts on Channel 5 on Thursday, August 18.