During Monday night’s Love Island final, ITV announced that Big Brother will return next year after an absence of five years.
he programme, which sees housemates live together for weeks in a custom-built house without access to the outside world in a bid to win a cash prize, started in 2000 on Channel 4, and Channel 5 took over in 2011.
However, it was axed in 2018 because of a ratings slump.
Since its first season, the programme has acted as a launch pad for many Irish contestants. Here, we look at where some of the most prominent are now.
Dubliner Anna Nolan entered the Big Brother house on day one of the first season and finished as runner-up.
Her appearance on the programme, which she described as the “biggest television show of a generation”, launched her successful broadcasting career, with roles on The Afternoon Show and The Great Irish Bake Off.
More recently she has moved behind the camera and is currently the head of development with Coco Content, which has produced First Dates Ireland, Room to Improve and Don’t Tell the Bride.
Farmer Tom McDermott became an overnight celebrity when he also signed-up for the first series of the show.
Tyrone Tom, as he became known, was in the house for 43 days. Afterwards, he and fellow contestant Claire Strutton had a child, but they later separated and McDermott has since married.
He pulled back from the celebrity spotlight after the show and now runs a property company in the south of England.
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Brian Dowling has been a mainstay on Irish TV screens since he won Big Brother in 2002.
The Kildare man returned in 2010 for Ultimate Big Brother, which he also won. In 2020, he took part in the fourth series of RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, and he has also been the narrator and presenter on ITV’s The Real Housewives of Jersey.
In May, Dowling and his husband, Arthur Gourounlian, announced they are expecting their first child this year.
Ray Shah continued the strong Irish run on Big Brother when he came second in 2003.
The Dubliner later hosted radio shows on Q102 and iRadio, while he also worked on screen with TV3 (now Virgin Media) for a time.
In 2012, Shah established his own company, Bodyfirst Nutrition, which sells sport nutrition supplements.
Former fashion model Orlaith McAllister was a season six contestant in the summer of 2005.
The Belfast woman, who was crowned Miss Northern Ireland in 1999, also worked on the programme’s chat show Big Brother’s Big Mouth and later on the dating show Beauty Queen and Single.
In a 2019 interview with the Belfast Telegraph, the mother of two said she has “no regrets” about her celebrity years.
“I was 25 when I went into the Big Brother house,” she said. “I absolutely loved that experience. You have different chapters in your life, and that was just one of the chapters of my life that I would never change. You had no worries or responsibilities. That was my life then. I lived in London afterwards and that was a chapter in my life which was very, very colourful.”
Before entering Big Brother, Marc O’Neill hit Irish TV screens on the short-lived west Dublin reality show Tallafornia.
Following his appearance on Big Brother 16, he returned to university and in 2015 graduated with a first-class honours degree in organic chemistry and molecular biology from NUI Maynooth.
After working and continuing his studies in the US for a time, O’Neill returned to Ireland and in 2021 appeared on RTÉ’s Ultimate Hell Week – The Professionals.
He completed the Hell Week course alongside Munster rugby star Peter Stringer and Fair City’s Ryan Andrews.
Hughie Maughan became a fan favourite when he finished first runner-up in 2016 and was praised for his bravery when he came out as a gay member of the Travelling community.
Since his Big Brother appearance, he has continued to campaign for Travellers and has called-out the discrimination he has experienced for both his sexuality and ethnicity.
Maughan has appeared on Dancing with the Stars and continues to work as a beauty therapist, specialising in micro-blading.
In June he announced his plans to move to Galway, while also keeping a base near his home in Ballymun.
Danielle Meagher came to public attention in 2012 when she appeared on reality TV show called Dublin Wives. She was also on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013.
A qualified dentist, she ran Dermaface, a Dublin clinic that specialised in anti-ageing treatments. She moved to Los Angeles in 2019.
Derry’s Seany O’Kane is a father of one who currently lives in Moscow where he’s training to be a sex therapist. He was in Big Brother in 2008.
Speaking in 2020, he said his appearance on the show had a huge bearing on his life.
He told the Belfast Telegraph: “The relationship between me and my dad wasn’t perfect before Big Brother, and it was a pathway for our reconciliation. I ended up being an ambassador for an organisation that connected dads and their kids.”
Another celebrity contestant, Georgia Salpa stayed on the show for 14 days in 2012.
She was at the height of her modelling and TV career at the time, appearing regularly in sketches on RTÉ’s Republic of Telly.
She married millionaire Joe Penna in 2015, and the couple now live in Dubai with their three children.
Before appearing on 2016’s Celebrity Big Brother, the Dubliner had already gained reality TV experience on MTV’s Beauty School Cop Outs.
Prior to that, he played with League of Ireland clubs Bohemians and Shelbourne.
More recently, McConnell has stepped back from modelling and reality TV and is now the director of a Turkish hair transplant centre, Hair of Istanbul.
John and Edward Grimes made a splash on both the 2011 and 2017 celebrity versions of Big Brother.
The identical singing twins have already offered to host the newest series when it airs next year, saying on Twitter that they are “iconic housemates”.
They first appeared on Celebrity Big Brother 8, which was won by Paddy Doherty. Kerry Katona was the runner-up.
The brothers later returned to the house for Celebrity Big Brother 19 as All-Stars, finishing as runners-up to Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan.
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