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Big Brother rival on Channel 5

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Channel 5 today announced Jailbreak, 5's most ambitious and costly commission ever.

The multi-million pound peak time series is where interactive, reality television meets the game show as ten prisoners are trapped in a purpose built jail with one mission - to escape and win the £100,000 cash prize from a total fund of £250,000.

Hosted by Ulrika Jonsson, and with special reports from 5 News presenter Charlie Stayt and Ruth England, a maze of physical and mental challenges stands between the contestants and their freedom.

Viewers will also be able to help the prisoners break out of the Category C jail by giving tips via email or phone with a prize of £20,000 for the best advice.

You'll also be able to track the inmates' progress with daily updates on 5 or via 24-hour web cam coverage on the Channel 5 website (www.channel5.co.uk). Viewers can even bet on the winner through bluesquare.com who are offering an initial free £5 bet.

The format, created by 5's Controller of Features and Arts, Michael Attwell and Deputy Controller Kim Peat, and by top independent producer Princess Productions has already been optioned by the US network ABC.

Director of Programmes, Dawn Airey, said: "This is the next generation of reality TV programming and will make for compulsive viewing. Such is the strength of the format ABC has already bought the rights before they've even seen any footage."

Designed by Britain's top prison designers Capita, the building of the prison is already underway at a secret location by Kvaerner Construction.

Executive producer, Sebastian Scott of Princess Productions, said: "We have made the jail as realistic as possible from the daily routine to the food menu, from the uniforms to the amount of money the prisoners earn a day."

Real former prison Governor, Jim Heyes, will be managing a team of more than 30 prison officers as well as chefs, nurses and psychiatrists who will be involved in the day-to-day running of the jail which will mimic the regime of a prison as closely as possible. Prisoners will even be subjected to 24 hours solitary confinement if they are caught in the act of escaping three times.

Host, Ulrika Jonsson, added: "I'm really excited to be involved in such an innovative idea for television. Not only do the inmates have a massive incentive but they have a genuine task to break out which will test their initiative, skill and endurance. As if this wasn't enough we'll also be involved in the drama of their own daily human interaction."

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