Channel 4 to produce new teenage version of 'Big Brother'

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Channel 4 is to make a new version of Big Brother with teenage contestants. An executive of the channel disclosed details of the plan yesterday at a conference in Lisbon, saying she expected the programme to be broadcast in the next 12 months.

The programme is being made by the Dutch-owned company Endemol, which makes the adult versions of the reality show. Heather Rabbatts, of Channel 4's educational arm 4Learning, said the new show would be called Teen Big Brother: The Experiment. She said: "We're going to take a group of young adults and see how they collaborate."

Ms Rabbatts saidthe teenage show would be educational. "The most transferable areas for this type of educational programming are personal health, body awareness, and any show that highlights issues around growing up, such as drugs, first jobs, leaving home for the first time," she said.

Reality programmes have been criticised for the pressures they inflict on contestants to attract ratings. The comedian Les Dennis, who appeared in Celebrity Big Brother, and the actress Daniella Westbrook, a contestant in I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here, broke down in tears and suffered emotional trauma before millions of viewers.

A new, fourth series of the adult version of Big Brother starts today.

Channel 4 is re-thinking its weekend scheduling after the failure of its Saturday night entertainment show Boys and Girls. Danielle Lux, Channel 4's head of entertainment, said her experience with Boys and Girls had persuaded her to concentrate comedy and entertainment output on Fridays.

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