Big Brother (Australian TV series)

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Big Brother
GenreReality competition
Based onBig Brother
by John de Mol
Presented by
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons11
Original network
Original release23 April 2001 (2001-04-23) –
26 November 2014 (2014-11-26)
Related showsCelebrity Big Brother

Big Brother Australia was the Australian version of the international Big Brother reality television series. Big Brother was produced from 2001 and ran for eight seasons on Network Ten before the network cancelled it in July 2008 after experiencing audience erosion and controversy. Big Brother returned on 13 August 2012 with a ninth season on the Nine Network with repeats on 9Go!.[1] The tenth season aired on Nine from 29 July 2013 to 6 November 2013 and the eleventh season ran from 8 September 2014 to 26 November 2014. All eleven previous seasons were produced by Endemol Australia and Endemol Southern Star.

From its first season until its seventh season in 2007 the show was hosted by Gretel Killeen. With a revamp of the series in 2008 she was replaced by radio duo Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O. From 2012 to 2014 it was hosted by Sonia Kruger.

Between 2001 and 2005 Big Brother Australia was also shown in New Zealand on TV2 and Prime. The show returned to New Zealand, as part of the TV3 summer line-up in November 2013.[2] Series 10 ended in March 2014. Series 11 aired in New Zealand starting 3 November 2014.

The purpose built Big Brother house has been located in a compound at theme park Dreamworld, on the Gold Coast, Queensland, for its entire run. It has since been abandoned and vandalised. In June 2019, the house was set ablaze and burnt down entirely.[3]


Original Network Ten series[edit]

The first Australian series began to broadcast on 23 April 2001. It was hosted by Gretel Killeen from 2001 to 2007. In late 2007 it was announced that Gretel Killeen would not host the show for its 2008 return as part of a revamp of the formula.[4][5]

In 2008 Big Brother returned for its eighth season with hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O. Ten's chief programmer David Mott admitted the series had recently experienced "audience erosion" inherent with the show's long run. Mott defended the new hosts saying that the ratings for eviction shows held up.[6]

Mike Goldman provided narration and voice-overs for all eight seasons.


Big Brother Australia was axed by Network Ten on 14 July 2008 with the broadcaster confirming that the 2008 season would be the last to air on the channel.[7] A decrease in ratings for the daily shows was cited as the reason for Network Ten opting not to renew its contract for another season.[6]

After the show was axed in 2008, there were many rumours about a possible revival by Nine, Seven, Ten, or SBS. SBS Programmer Shawn White denied the show would be revived on their channel despite rumours with Nine CEO David Gyngell notably 'interested' in the idea soon after the cancellation, only to turn it down days later. The Seven Network expressed interest since bidding for the show after the seventh-season finale; however, denied any and all revival occurring a week after the 2008 finale on morning program Sunrise.

Most notably, Network Ten expressed some interest in the format when on 3 June 2011, News Limited posted an article suggesting the network may be interested in putting it on its digital channel, Eleven. In the article, Chief Programming Officer David Mott stated that "...Ten have considered ways to bring the show back on a number of occasions'; however, was worried that audiences had 'moved on'. Made mention was the US version where the show has had 12 successful seasons, and a thirteenth on the way." Mott said; "It's a summer show for CBS, it doesn't play in the heart of the ratings season but it's done a pretty good job for them."[8]

Nine Network revival[edit]

On 9 September 2011, it was reported and later confirmed that the Nine Network had signed a deal with Southern Star Group to bring the Australian version of Big Brother back. On 22 February 2012 it was confirmed that Dreamworld will be used again as the location for the 2012 series.[9]

The first episode of the revived series premiered on 13 August 2012 with its daily show airing five nights a week at a family friendly timeslot of 7pm.[10]

After a successful season in 2012, Nine confirmed that the series would be renewed for Season 10 in 2013 during their Nine Network 2013 promotion & during the 2013 finale, host Sonia Kruger confirmed the series renewal for Season 11 in 2014 formally opening auditions.

Series details and viewership[edit]

SeriesDaysHousematesWinnerRunner-upEpisodesOriginally airedAverage viewers
First airedLast airedNetwork
18514Ben WilliamsBlair McDonoughN/a23 April 2001 (2001-04-23)16 July 2001 (2001-07-16)Network Ten1.40
28615Peter CorbettMarty MartinN/a8 April 2002 (2002-04-08)1 July 2002 (2002-07-01)1.50
Celebrity2412Dylan LewisJay Laga'aiaN/a21 July 2002 (2002-07-21)12 August 2002 (2002-08-12)1.10
38616Regina BirdChrissie SwanN/a27 April 2003 (2003-04-27)21 July 2003 (2003-07-21)1.70
4Trevor ButlerBree AmerN/a2 May 2004 (2004-05-02)26 July 2004 (2004-07-26)1.50
510020Greg MathewTim BruneroN/a8 May 2005 (2005-05-08)8 May 2005 (2005-05-08)1.20
623Jamie BrooksbyCamilla HalliwellN/a22 April 2006 (2006-04-22)31 July 2006 (2006-07-31)1.30
724Aleisha CowcherZach DouglasN/a22 April 2007 (2007-04-22)30 July 2007 (2007-07-30)1.07
88520Terri MunroRory AmmonN/a28 April 2008 (2008-04-28)21 July 2008 (2008-07-21)0.86
98716Benjamin NorrisLayla SubritzkyN/a13 August 2012 (2012-08-13)7 November 2012 (2012-11-07)Nine Network1.04
1010120Tim DormerJade Albany PietrantonioN/a29 July 2013 (2013-07-29)6 November 2013 (2013-11-06)0.89
118022Ryan GinnsTravis LunardiN/a8 September 2014 (2014-09-08)26 November 2014 (2014-11-26)0.65


Big Brother Australia is based on the international Big Brother series produced by Endemol in the Netherlands which began in 1999. The show's name comes from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which revolves around a dystopia in which dictator Big Brother is the all-seeing leader. The series generally constitutes 14 or more contestants who live in an isolated house for several months. Housemates are at all times under the control of Big Brother, a rule enforcing authority figure who monitors behaviour of the housemates, set tasks and punishments and provides the mechanism for contestants to make external requests.

Housemates must remain in the house at all times, and avoid being evicted by viewers of the show with the aim of winning a substantial cash prize at the end of the series. Alternatively, housemates can also be removed from the house if Big Brother feels this is necessary, and can voluntarily leave the show at any time. In order to support the housemates' well-being on matters such as wanting to leave the house, all participants have access to the Big Brother psychologist Carmel Hill, and a doctor, at all times.

Housemates are filmed 24 hours per day with edited highlights broadcast during prime time slots every evening.

Prize money[edit]

The winner of Big Brother Australia receives a cash prize for being the last remaining housemate.

In Big Brother 2001, Big Brother 2002, and Big Brother 2003, the cash prize stood at a guaranteed A$250,000. In Big Brother 2004, the prize money was raised to a guaranteed $1,000,000. Big Brother 2005 and Big Brother 2006 both continued to offer the $1,000,000 prize money, however, with the introduction of the fines system. The winner of Big Brother 2005 received $836,000 in prize money, while the winner of Big Brother 2006 received $426,000 as a result of the fines system.[11] Housemates in Big Brother 2005 and Big Brother 2006 were given opportunities to regain lost prize money in special Friday Night Live events named: The Prize Fight. Big Brother 2007 was advertised as having no prize money available to the winner of that series. Later, when the series began, it was revealed that prize money could be accumulated upon the successful completion of tasks. The prize money at the end of the series stood at $450,000. In Big Brother 2008, the prize money was not mentioned until halfway through the series, eventually being revealed as $250,000.[12] In Big Brother 2012, the prize fund was not mentioned until the end of the second week when the prize was revealed as a guaranteed $250,000.

In the only celebrity version of the show, Celebrity Big Brother 2002, the winner was awarded $100,000 to the charity of their choice.


Big Brother 2005 introduced a fines system in which the $1,000,000 cash prize was decreased by $5,000 each time a housemates violated a rule of Big Brother. The house used for the 2006 season featured a Punishment Room, where housemates would sometimes be sent to be punished in addition to the $5,000 fine. In Big Brother 2007, some changes were made. These monetary fines were subtracted from the household budget rather than from the prize money, while the Punishment Room remained.

In Big Brother 2012 there was a small, rectangular shaped room, linked to the lounge. This room was the Naughty Corner. This room was similar to the Punishment Room of the sixth and seventh series. The eighth and ninth series' featured no fines system at all. Instead, Big Brother used the original striking system more frequently that meant when a housemate received three strikes they were evicted.


A fundamental and strongly-enforced rule of Big Brother Australia is that nominations, and the use of the Twist, are not to be discussed at all. Specifically, all housemates are forbidden from disclosing to other housemates who they have previously nominated, who they plan to nominate in the future, or who their Twist has been used on; and they must not engage in conjecture about who may attract nomination votes and why. These discussions are banned and are deemed collusion by Big Brother, as they may give housemates a competitive advantage. Breaking this rule incurs fines, punishment, or loss of the right to nominate in the following round.

During the Big Brother 2007, the winner of Friday Night Live competition and their chosen companion were permitted to privately discuss who they planned to nominate in the Rewards Room.

Halfway through Big Brother 2008, a purpose-built Nominations Room was introduced. This was where housemates were allowed to discuss who they wanted to nominate.

In Big Brother 2012, the housemates nominated differently. They were allowed to nominate using a total of five points, but could only use these points on two of their fellow housemates.

In the 11th season the rules were slightly altered due to the pairs twist in play. Housemates would nominate, be nominated as a pair, however they would not be evicted as a pair. The pair with the lowest save vote from the public vote would have a house vote where housemates stand behind the person they wish to stay. Also housemates could talk about nominations to their partner. This rule was only in play for the first week.


Every series of Big Brother Australia usually includes "Intruders". Intruders are new housemates added to the house by the show's producers as an ongoing housemate after the series has started. They are eligible to win the final prize.


Banners advertising the show in Dreamworld's Main Street

The purpose-built Big Brother house is located at 27°51′32″S 153°18′53″E / 27.85889°S 153.31472°E / -27.85889; 153.31472Coordinates: 27°51′32″S 153°18′53″E / 27.85889°S 153.31472°E / -27.85889; 153.31472 within Dreamworld, a theme park in Coomera, a northern suburb of the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Only slight modifications were made to the interior of the house for the second series and the special Celebrity Big Brother Australia series that were screened in 2002. Subsequent to those series, the interior of the house has been rebuilt or extensively remodeled for each new series. Two separate houses were built for Big Brother 2003, and they were merged twenty-three days into the series when previously hidden connecting rooms were revealed. The fifth series introduced a Friday Night Live games arena. An animal enclosure was added to the side of the compound for the sixth series. It was retained for the seventh series.

Footage from the house is monitored and edited in Dreamworld Studios.[13] There is also an open-air auditorium where the live audience shows, such as the eviction and finale episodes, are staged.

During production on the series, visitors could access the Big Brother auditorium and view live footage from the house. This feature was, however, discontinued with the start of the ninth series.

The auditorium was an existing facility at Dreamworld used for live stage shows prior to the first series of Big Brother. It was leased to Endemol Southern Star for the duration of the series each year.

In November 2009, the house was opened to the public as a function room.

On 22 February 2012, it was confirmed that Dreamworld would be used again as the location for the ninth series.[9]

In August 2012, a second Gold Coast house was featured in the series for a two-week period, as part of a prank played on the 2012 Housemates. The Housemates were led to believe they were competing with a second 'Big Brother' house, referred to as 'House One' (leading the real Housemates to believe they were in fact staying in 'House Two'). Scenes from the fictitious second house were recorded at a waterfront holiday house situated in the suburb of Paradise Point, called Paradise at the Point.[14]

For a brief period, The home had become a popular accommodation choice for fans of the show visiting the Gold Coast.[citation needed]

On the 16th anniversary since the show's first screening on 24 April 2001, a tourist approached Dreamworld to request a tour or access to the site. The staff and security advised the tourist that the house had been stripped bare and that the house was condemned under health and safety laws. There was no possible way to visit the site even if escorted by security.[citation needed]

Theme music[edit]

The theme music was adapted from the original theme used in the original Big Brother, which aired in the Netherlands. The theme for Big Brother Australia was written by Siew Ooi and 001 Productions in Melbourne. The track is an extended version of the main title theme used in the first two seasons of Big Brother Australia, and tracks heard throughout the seasons that followed are shorter, remixed versions of this track. The original track can sometimes be heard in the background when eviction votes, or the nomination tally in the Nominations show, are shown on screen, or when eviction phone numbers are during a show. In 2008, the theme music was retooled into an electric amplified remix, in counterpart of the format changes that were made that year. Four years later in the 2012 revival of the program, the original theme song returned with a futuristic remix.

The title theme was initially released as a single. The track was an extended mix of the main title theme used in the first two seasons, and was released with an acoustic "Diary Room" mix and more trance influenced "Eviction" mix. It barely scraped in the top 50, but was re-released a few months later where it reached #12 on the ARIA charts in 2001 with a B-Side of The Sirens' hit "Don't You Think That It's Strange", which was also co-written by Big Brother 2001 housemates; the Diary Room mix; and an extended version of the Big Brother Uncut theme.

Companion shows[edit]


Criticism and controversy[edit]

The series received some criticism from commentators and audiences for its sexual content. The series was occasionally referred to as "Big Brothel" in the press, in reference to the sexual content of the Uncut episode.[15] Criticism was also voiced in the Australian Government, with one politician referring to it as "toxic television".[16] Complaints about Uncut led to it being rebranded Big Brother: Adults Only for the 2006 season. Adults Only was cancelled early in the season due to continuing controversy.[17]

After the 2005 series, complaints prompted the Australian Communications and Media Authority to launch an investigation into Big Brother: Uncut.[18] The main complaint was that Network Ten had breached the industry code of practice by broadcasting footage that went past the maximum MA15+ rating for Australian commercial television. The ACMA found Network Ten had breached the code on two occasions: the airing of housemate Michael massaging Gianna with his penis exposed, and the song about sexual fetishes.[19] The ACMA did not impose any direct punishment on Network Ten, however outlined requirements for the 2006 series of Uncut. Included in those requirements is a commitment by Network Ten to compile episode footage early enough for censors to evaluate it. Two censors were taken on by the network specifically for Big Brother, and crew were trained on the restrictions of the MA15+ television rating. As a result of criticism, the show was renamed Big Brother: Adults Only for the 2006 season.

2006 alleged sexual assault controversy[edit]

On 1 July 2006 two housemates, Michael Cox (using the alias Ashley for the show) and Michael Bric (using the alias John), were removed from the house for allegedly sexually assaulting, "Turkey slapping" female housemate, Camilla Halliwell,[20] in a season of the series that had already attracted significant controversy. Following the incident the live feed was temporarily replaced by an old UpLate update of the housemates completing their football task, continuously looped[citation needed], and the forums on the Big Brother website were removed. Queensland Police were shown the relevant footage, but opted not to conduct a criminal investigation.[21] Subsequent to this incident former housemate Rita Lazzarotto reported that she had been subjected to a similar incident during her time in the Big Brother house in the 2005 series.[22]

Then Australian Prime Minister John Howard asked for Big Brother to be cancelled, saying, "Here's a great opportunity for Channel 10 to do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid program off the air"; Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley and Senator Steve Fielding supported this view. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie argued that the show employed many Australians in production and that, because of the already diminished size of the Australian television industry, the show should continue.[23]

Housemate selection[edit]

The show's producers aim to get "real people" in the house. This has been done by personality testing, engaging with people around the country and appearances. While there are housemates who are "unique" and reflect many diverse people in Australia, there has been a high number of individuals each season who come from a modelling background which has alienated them from the public audience.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2002 Logie Awards Most Popular Reality Program Won
2003 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated
2004 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated [24]
2005 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated [25]
2006 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated
2007 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated
2008 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated
2013 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated
2014 Most Popular Reality Program Nominated [26]

Other media[edit]

On 8 July 2003, a DVD entitled Big Brother: Unseen/Uncut/Unreal by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, featuring risqué moments from the series was released and became marginally successful. It was rated M which means that the DVD requires a mature perspective, however there is no legal restriction on access.[27] The DVD is broken down into three sections. Unseen showed Launch and Eviction episodes, while Uncut features clips from Big Brother Uncut; speaks of how television censorship laws of different countries that have Big Brother seasons differ to Australia's; footage of the audition process; and a package where Peter Abbott, the voice of Big Brother for the first three seasons, was "Big Brother'd" for a day, where a camera followed him from the time he woke up to when he went to sleep. Unreel section has information on the first three seasons' housemates, including Big Brother 2003's housemates' introduction packages shown at In They Go; an image gallery with information on what the 24 original housemates of the first two seasons were doing at the time of the DVD's release; and an interactive tour of Big Brother 2003's Houses before and after they were merged.

Notable contestants[edit]

  • Heidi Anderson originally co-hosted the "Heidi, Heath & Normy" morning show on NXFM in Newcastle but now co-hosts 92.9's morning show in Perth.
  • Ben Zabel is introducing his own line of Peter Alexander Pyjamas.
  • Tim Dormer entered the Big Brother Canada 4 house after a wildcard vote.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Devlyn, Darren (9 September 2011). "Big Brother returning to Australian television in 2012". Herald Sun. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Big Brother Australia". TV3. 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Four children charged with burning down former Big Brother house". ABC News. 22 June 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Big Brother evicts controversial host Gretel Killeen". The Sunday Times. 27 October 2007. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  5. ^ Moran, Jonathon (28 October 2007). "Big Brother dumps Gretel Killeen". Sunday Telegraph.
  6. ^ a b Idato, Michael (14 July 2008). "Channel Ten evicts Big Brother". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 16 July 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  7. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (14 July 2008). "Ten Network drops Australian Big Brother after Pamela Anderson fails to save show". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013.
  8. ^ "All eyes on Channel 10 for Big Brother revival". Daily Telegraph. 3 June 2011. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  9. ^ a b "DREAMWORLD CONFIRMED AS HOME OF BIG BROTHER 2012". Dreamworld. February 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012.
  10. ^ Lewdon, Courtney (17 January 2012). "KRUGER: BIG BROTHER TO BE MORE 'FAMILY FRIENDLY', 'MORE EMPHASIS ON CHALLENGES'". Throng. Archived from the original on 22 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Jamie wins Big Brother". Sydney Morning Herald. 31 July 2006. Archived from the original on 20 March 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2006.
  12. ^ Rogue, Ridge (15 June 2008). "Rhianna evicted, series prize revealed!". Big Brother Chaos. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008.
  13. ^ Molloy, Shannon (25 May 2007). "Big Brother: Behind the scenes". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  14. ^ Paradise at the Point
  15. ^ "Big Brother or Big Brothel?". The Age. Melbourne. 22 June 2005. Archived from the original on 4 December 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  16. ^ Weston, Paul (12 June 2005). "Anger at Big Bro sex". Sunday Mail. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  17. ^ "Axe falls on adults-only Big Brother". The Cairns Post. 24 June 2006. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  18. ^ "'We're Sorry': BB". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 June 2005. Archived from the original on 7 May 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2006.
  19. ^ Investigations No. 1557, 1558, 1559 (PDF) (Report). 15 September 2005. Retrieved 8 October 2006.
  20. ^ Stafford, Annabel (3 July 2006). "Big Brother in bigger bother". The Age. Archived from the original on 5 July 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  21. ^ "Police rule out BB probe". The Age. 3 July 2006. Archived from the original on 16 July 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  22. ^ Packham, Ben; Devlyn, Darren (4 July 2006). "Big Brother should be axed, says PM". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 5 July 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  23. ^ Australian Associated Press (3 July 2006). "Axe 'this stupid program': PM". The Age. Archived from the original on 5 July 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2006.
  24. ^ "2004 Logies nominations". The Age. Fairfax Media. 16 April 2004. Archived from the original on 22 May 2004. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  25. ^ "TV WEEK Logie Award Nominations". TV Week. ACP Magazines: 8–9. 9–15 April 2005.
  26. ^ Knox, David (27 April 2014). "Logie Awards 2014: Winners". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 23 May 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  27. ^ "BIG BROTHER, UNSEEN, UNCUT, UNREEL". Australian Classification. Australian Classification Board. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Krystal's on a high note". The Daily Telegraph. 23 April 2007. Archived from the original on 3 May 2007.
  29. ^ Van Leuveren, Luke (3 June 2007). "Big Brother's Krystal to appear in new Need for Speed". Pal Gaming Network. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  30. ^ "Cleo's 50 hotties offer brains and brawn". 17 March 2009. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Cleo announces Top 50 Bachelors of 2008". Daily Telegraph. Adelaide Now. 18 February 2008. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.


  • Johnson-woods, Toni (2002). Big Bother: Why Did That Reality TV Show Become Such a Phenomenon?. Australia: University of Queensland Press. p. 256. ISBN 0-7022-3315-3.

External links[edit]