Celebrity Big Brother returns to UK screens

Weeks of speculation will come to an end tonight - and the humiliation will begin - as housemates are revealed for the return of Celebrity Big Brother.

Expected to appear in the show are Kerry Katona, Sally Bercow - the wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow - and former EastEnder Sid Owen.

As intriguing as the casting of the show will be the fortunes of the programme as it makes its switch to a new home on Channel 5.

Other shows which have switched to the channel from various networks - including Neighbours and Home And Away - have seen a near instant drop in viewers.

Channel 4 axed Big Brother last year after 11 series of the main show and a number of celebrity versions.

It was a key priority to pick up the show when media tycoon Richard Desmond acquired Channel 5 last year but the deal was only done after protracted negotiations.

Programme-maker Endemol has revamped the house in the same spot at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire and it will retain much of the feel, with narrator Marcus Bentley and the show's familiar tune both back.

However, the show's regular C4 host Davina McCall will make way for former Big Brother winner Brian Dowling who takes over as presenter.

This year the house features a short swimming pool, a gym and frosted glass on the shower screen to spare the celebrities' blushes.

Celebrities go into the house tonight during a live programme to begin the three-week series.

As soon as the celeb series is over, the regular Big Brother begins and regular members of the public who have made it through the audition process will enter the property for several weeks until a winner is crowned.

Dowling said the show - which launched in 2000 in the UK - had evolved over the years to simply become an entertainment format.

"It's not a social experiment - there's no barbed wire, no chickens. It's a primetime entertainment show," he said.