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Interview With Celebrity Big Brother's Executive Producer

A short while ago, Channel 4 caught up with a certain Mr. Phil Edgar-Jones, top brass at production company Endemol and Executive Producer of Big Brother.

About the fact that the Celebrity show will be a mini-version of the real thing, complete live hour-long programmes every night, regular editions of Big Brother’s Little Brother, and live streaming on e4, he said, “Basically, we’re taking over Channel 4 for ten days.”

When Phil talks about the show, it’s unmistakably with the enthusiasm of a true BB fan. “Oh, I love the programme,” he readily admits. “I’m a huge fan of it, so I love the fact that I can sit there and watch everything happen every single day. And you never know what it is that’s going to happen. The sheer unpredictability, that’s the absolute beauty of it.”

And it's not just the on-screen antics that catch his attention either: “The viewers take us as much by surprise as the housemates. They vote people out we never expected to be voted out half the time.”

Even with two prior series under Endemol's belt, the sheer success of Big Brother 3 was something that also surprised Phil. “We didn’t quite expect it to go through the roof the way it did this year, it’s turned into a real summer event. There’s a lot of anticipation before it starts with people waiting to see who the new housemates are.” This aspect certainly hasn't changed for the Celebrity version of the show, that's for sure!

So, how does the selection process for Celebrity Big Brother work? Despite widespread opinion, it's not just a case of sending-out a sackful of invites and hoping to find six celebs mad enough to do it! As Phil explains, "We compile a 'wish-list' of who we want in there, but we want people from a variety of different backgrounds in the celebrity world. We’ve also got to consider how well their characters will work together in the house” (...or not, as the case may be! - Ed)

And about the previous rumours that the celebrity housemates just pop-in, do a couple of hours filming each day and then go back to their lives of luxury, well, these have been shot down in flames this time around - events in the house will be broadcast live on e4 and the 'net, around the clock.

As Phil puts it, "We want the celebrities to live the Big Brother experience the same way that your normal housemates would live it, so the show is essentially the same. Of course, the one key difference is that this show will be raising money for charity.” When the question was posed about whether there's likely to be any surprises for the celebrity show like the bars, the response was short and sweet: "If I told you that, they wouldn’t be surprises!"

Of course, he recognises that the nature of the programme is different, almost paradoxical, when the people in the house are already famous faces. It’s one of the aspects that fascinates Phil most about Celebrity Big Brother. “With normal Big Brother, we’re making ordinary people extraordinary. With this, we’re making famous people very, very ordinary. It’s their ordinariness that’s the most exciting thing.”

On that note, Phil recalls the time when Tim Culley tried to get a 'Glorious British Revolution’ going during BB3. About the ginger one's failure to encourage his fellow housemates to revolt, Phil said, "They discussed that for a while and then came to the diary room and threatened to walk out. Eventually they just had a cup of tea and forgot it all. For me, that just summed up the British way. It tells you more about our national characteristics than thousands of documentaries and news programmes.”

And that is essentially why we fans like to watch it, because the show lays bare the housemates true personalities and allows us to see people at their most honest and open. Reaching a wider age-range than the normal show, Millions of Big Brother fans will be tuning-in to watch Celebrity Big Brother 2 and we've got a feeling that Phil Edgar-Jones would be one of them even if he didn't work on the show!

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