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Reality TV Interview

Emma Willis and Rylan Clark on Big Brother: 'It's like The Hunger Games'

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The latest series of Big Brother kicked off last night, and as we prepare to hand over the next 11 weeks of our lives to Channel 5, Digital Spy wanted to get the lowdown on what's in store for the brave, bold and frankly daft housemates.

Settling down in the brand new house, we met presenter Emma Willis and Bit on the Side's Rylan Clark to discuss power trips, the secret to winning the show and why they don't want to see any sex…

Emma Willis on Big Brother 2014

© Channel 5


What were your reactions when you walked into the new house for the first time?
Rylan: "Surprised! Every time you think, 'Yeah, it's really nice', but this one, both of us just sat there and went, 'This is where the budget's gone'. The house looks nice, but it doesn't feel nice. Everything looks good for the viewer, so it's comfortable to watch. But to live in, it's not going to be that great. And this whole house is like a Russian disco, it's crazy. Everything that you're touching will light up."
Emma: "It's designed to be uncomfortable from the beginning, which I think sets the tone for how the series is going to be. I think from the get go they won't be able to relax. I went in one of the rooms the other day and lights and alarms started going off. I was like, 'Have I broken something?' Apparently I hadn't - that was normal!"

How will the digital element of Power Trip change the atmosphere in the house this year?
Emma: "I think it's going to keep people on edge because we've seen sprinklings over the past few series of the housemates getting a certain amount of information from the outside world - very monitored, and very much to cause a situation or a reaction to that. And I don't actually know how much they're going to mess with them, or what they're going to do with all of the technology that's in here. But what I do know is that it will be highly monitored and it definitely won't be a free-for-all where they can go online and find out what's going on."
Rylan: "When you go around the house, you'll see that there's not one room that doesn't have a plasma screen in. That means that someone can just be casually brushing their teeth in the mirror, then all of a sudden in front of them certain information might come up that no other housemate knows about. It's Big Brother, but it's just been upgraded. It's like The Hunger Games... but no-one dies."

Digital Spy's Frances with Rylan Clark

© Digital Spy / Frances Taylor

Digital Spy's Frances with Rylan Clark


Big Brother's been on the air now for 15 years...
Emma: "Were you even born then?"
Rylan: "Yes! I'm 25!"

... So is adding outside contact the only way to keep it interesting now?
Rylan: "I don't think it's about upping the outside contact. I think having a theme, like Secrets and Lies last year, has really re-birthed the show. It's got a lot more viewers since we brought the themes in. And with Power Trip, we can just absolutely run with it. Because all people know is there's power up for grabs. But what the power is, no-one knows."
Emma: "It's not necessarily contact with the outside world, it's drip-feeding them certain bits of information that's going to cause a scenario or a reaction or something. It's been on for 15 years, it can't be the same as it was 15 years ago otherwise no-one would watch it. It has to evolve and it has to change and this is what Big Brother has evolved into."

The Big Brother 2014 eye

© Channel 5


Do you each prefer the normal Big Brother series or Celebrity Big Brother?
Emma: "I like them both equally, but they've kind of changed. The celebrities now act like the civilians used to act, and the civilians act like the celebrities used to! Lee Ryan is trying to get it away anywhere, which is what used to happen in the normal one. And in the normal one, they're all quite media savvy and playing the game and doing it in a not so graphic way! So, as Blazin' Squad once said, they've flip reversed it."
Rylan: "Look at you down with the cool kids! Getting to see civilians is actually getting to know people, whereas Celebrity Big Brother is about preconceptions and stereotypes - what you think people are like."
Emma: "I think the best thing about the civilian series is that you watch a two-minute video tape about them before they go in and you judge them. And over the course of 11 weeks, they either prove you right or they prove you wrong. That's what I still love about it."

Are you both hoping that this series will be equally as raunchy as this year's Celebrity Big Brother?
Emma: "I don't like raunch in the house!"
Rylan: "I don't think we hope it's going to be raunchy, but our job was so easy in January. Because we had a lot of stuff going on in the house, there was so much to talk about. So we don't care what the drama is - whether it's two people having a row, two people having sex, a baby being born... As long as we have something to talk about."
Emma: "It just needs to be exciting, entertaining and create something that you want to watch. Just having interesting characters will create something in this house for 11 weeks, and I personally don't want to see two people shagging. I can turn on an adult channel and watch that if I want to. I want to watch Big Brother. And for me that's not what it's about. I don't ever want a romance. If it's real and it happens, then brilliant, but no-one wants that forced bulls**t that you sometimes get."

The Big Brother: Power Trip house

© Channel 5


What's the secret to winning Big Brother?
Emma: "You've got to be genuine."
Rylan: "Yeah. If you think you can act your whole way through Big Brother, you shouldn't be in Borehamwood - you should be in Hollywood. It's not going to happen. Just be yourself - if you're an arsehole, you're an arsehole. Good luck to them all!"

Big Brother continues its two-night launch tonight (June 6) at 9pm on Channel 5.

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