We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Grim start to life in Big Brother's bleak house

The Big Brother contestants were today adjusting to life in a house stripped of all creature comforts.

The 16 housemates - including a former rock star, two glamour models, an Oxford University graduate who lives in a stately home, and a virgin - were shocked to discover their spartan living arrangements last night.

Instead of enjoying designer sofas and a glamorous lifestyle, they will spend their first days living in one room with only cold porridge to eat.

Within minutes of entering the house they were told they were not real housemates and they would have to earn their status to remain in the house.

Those who fail or refuse a task will be left to the mercy of the public, who will decide if they should be granted housemate status.

On Sunday, any participants who have not been made into "proper" housemates will be met by host Davina McCall as they are booted out live from the house.

The wannabes were told to open a crate in the garden and change into the non-housemate uniform, which they must wear until they gain housemate status.

This year's entrants include 20-year-old Sophie Reade, from Cheshire, who has posed nude for Playboy and is a 30GG bra size.

She was joined by Karly Ashworth, 21, from Fife, a part-time glamour model who dropped out of university after three weeks.

The female line-up also includes Angel McKenzie, 35, from south London, who is originally from Russia, but moved to England 12 years ago.

She found fame in Russia and has released an album. She is also a passionate boxer.

Fellow contestant Beinazir Lasharie, 28, a study support assistant, is from Pakistan. Her family sought asylum in the UK when she was one year old.

Her favourite memory is when the former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007, came to the family's house.

Joining them was Freddie Fisher, 23, an Oxford University graduate from Market Drayton, who lives with his parents in a stately home, and who has also been a Young Conservative.

Also hoping to make an impact is Sree Dasari, 25, from India, who grew up with cleaners and cooks and is hoping that the female housemates will look after him.

He intends to remain a virgin until he meets the right girl and his ideal woman is Beyonce.

The oldest contestant is jobless Lisa Wallace, 41, from Birmingham, a lesbian who enjoys flirting with both sexes.

BB chiefs wanted to freshen up the show for its 10th series.

Contestants will spend the first few days sleeping on the floor of the living room and will have no access to a kitchen or bathroom.

Big Brother will give them cold porridge to eat each day and, if they want to wash, they will have to fill a bathtub in the garden from a cold tap, using a bucket with a hole in it.

Once the hopefuls have completed their tasks and become official housemates, they will be given access to the rest of the house, with one bedroom for the men and one for the women and a bathroom.

Shortly after walking through the doors, it dawned on the contestants they were facing an uncomfortable start to their time in the Big Brother house.

Looking through the manual for the house, Noirin said: "I don't think we have a kitchen."

Show chiefs have promised BB's "most diverse and cosmopolitan" group ever, with contestants drawn from "the four corners of the world".

BB will enforce a ban on fake romances - if a couple look like getting close, housemates will be asked to decide whether they are genuine or playing up for the cameras.

In the wake of Susan Boyle's problems following her Britain's Got Talent final defeat, questions have been raised over the way reality TV shows treat "ordinary" people who appear on them.

The show says Big Brother has robust systems in place to look after the housemates' welfare, both during the 13 weeks the show is on air and after they leave the house.