Entertainment & Arts

TV stars bid Big Brother goodbye

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Media captionBig Brother winner Brian Belo on the significance of the Channel 4 reality show

Big Brother comes to an end on Channel 4 on Friday with the final of Ultimate Big Brother, which has featured famous faces from the show's 10-year history.

The first series of Big Brother launched on 18 July 2000 and ran for 64 days. In those early days Big Brother was billed as an experiment in psychology and sociology.

We asked actors and presenters at this week's TV Choice Awards in London whether they would miss the show and what, if anything, it had contributed to British television.

Image caption Coronation Street's Jennie McAlpine will miss the show

Actor and singer John Barrowman admitted he had started watching Big Brother from around the fourth or fifth series.

"It's what I call vodka-tonic television," he said. "You can sit with a drink and a snack and scream at the television and then if you don't like the person - vote them off."

He revealed he had turned down a role in the celebrity version.

"I enjoy watching those shows, but I don't want to be a part of it. They seem like a bit of a back-stabbing thing, whereas I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here is more of a competition."

Coronation Street's Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tulley, said he thought Big Brother had been "a very interesting social experiment".

"People said it's not a social experiment - it's a freakshow. But now you can look at it as a 10-year project," he said.

"In that 10 years mobile phones and internet access have come on, the world has become a smaller place. In Orwellian terms Big Brother is always watching - it now is more true than ever.

Image caption Ashes to Ashes star Philip Glenister won't be mourning BB's demise

"For the first time in about five years I've watched every single episode. And I've even watched the live feed - which I never imagined I'd do."

His Corrie colleague Jennie McAlpine (Fizz Stape) said: "I love Big Brother. I think I will miss it. It's the end of an era.

"I don't like that people say they don't like reality TV in the same way that people say they don't like opera. Just give everything a go, don't be ignorant."

There were plenty of celebrities on the TV Choice red carpet who had no interest in Big Brother.

Their feelings were best summed up by actor Philip Glenister, in a comment worthy of his on-screen alter-ego DCI Gene Hunt:

"I didn't even know it's been on. My heart bleeds."

The Ultimate Big Brother final begins at 1930 on Friday on Channel 4.

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