45,000 volunteer to be 'human goldfish' on TV

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The Independent Online

In a world where privacy is increasingly hard to come by, this must be the maddest thing yet. More than 45,000 people have volunteered to be filmed round the clock for 10 weeks.

A deliberately intrusive television show, Big Brother, on Channel 4 from 17 July, will record the strengths and weaknesses, lives and loves, of 10 contestants living in a house sealed from the outside world.

And at the end of each week, the viewers - those following the television show or the live internet link - will vote for one contestant to be thrown out. The last remaining contestant will win £70,000.

There will be no televisions, and no radios in the house, and the contestants will have to perform certain tasks set by the programme-makers.

Twenty cameras installed at the house - at a secret location - will be fitted in the bathroom and single-sex dormitories. All applicants will undergo psychological tests and have their criminal records checked.

A spokeswoman for Bazal, the programme makers, Sarah Booth, said the company was "delighted" with the response. "People are coming in from all backgrounds," she said.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "I think the money is clearly an attraction but there is also a sense of challenge. Clearly a lot of those people applying to join are happy to promote themselves."

A version in the Netherlands made national heroes of its contestants. A similar show attracted millions of viewers in Germany. But what no-one has been able to explain is why people want to watch it.