First person

Brian Dowling: ‘After my career on Big Brother came to an end I felt so vulnerable – it was chaos’

Irrepressible Irish TV personality Brian Dowling is ‘the Ultimate Big Brother Housemate’, who won the reality TV show twice and also presented six series... until he was fired in 2013. He reflects on his time on the show and his belief that he’s been ‘erased’ from ‘Big Brother’ history, and offers some witty words of wisdom for this season’s group of housemates

Monday 16 October 2023 06:35 BST
Brian Dowling after winning the final of ‘Ultimate Big Brother’, September 2010
Brian Dowling after winning the final of ‘Ultimate Big Brother’, September 2010 (Getty)

When I went on Big Brother in 2001, it was series two and still very much a social experiment. No one really knew what was happening for the people who went on the first series once the show ended. And it gave us a lot of opportunities – I have a career out of it, 22 years later I’m still on TV and the radio, doing my thing. I think that second season was really the one that put it on the map, when the show arrived, so I’m glad I went on it back then. Now, I don’t feel you’d have the same opportunities.

We didn’t have a big live launch show – there were only two or three photographers outside when I turned up to go into the house. But that was nothing compared to what it became, which was this huge circus. When I left it was literally a stage show, there were banners, chanting, photographers… just nine weeks later! It was insane, like being at a big football match, or the coronation. It went from zero to 100 in those nine weeks.

My game plan was just to be myself, and I wasn’t going to be drawn into anyone’s s***. That’s just me in general – if you’re looking for an argument you’re not really going to get it from me. Even when it came to the nominations, I’d nominate someone because I got on better with another contestant.

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