While many of you may be praying to see the end of Big Brother, it was one of the most popular shows on TV back in the day and was home to some of the most well-known faces we see on our screens today.
So, we’ve got the likes of Jade Goody, Chanelle Hayes and Nikki Grahame who are just a few of the stars to have made it big after leaving the show, however, we haven’t heard a great deal from those who originally took part in the experiment.
18 years ago when the show initially aired, the likelihood is that you wouldn’t have been watching it for the sole reason, it was never meant to become a phenomenon – either that, or you were perhaps still toddling, who knows?
Here are some of the original line-up from the very first series and what they’re up to now:
Before: Previous to Craig joined the show, he had a very normal job of working for a building company.
The first winner of the series, he claimed he would spend his £70,000 fortune on his friend, Joanne with Downs Syndrome. Just a week after leaving the house, Craig raised the remaining £250,000 for an operation that she needed, but sadly, Joanne passed away in 2008 after developing an infection.
When I won, it was terrifying” he says. “I was whisked off
and told, ‘The show has succeeded all expectations, it’s broken records, it’s been in every newspaper.” he told The Sun.
“I went on tour to do personal appearances and was away from home for 97 days.
I’d never been so lonely in my life.”
After: Craig went on to do great things and with his great building knowledge, found himself presenting shows such as 60 Minute Makeover, aswell as becoming an ambassador for the company ‘Checkatrade.com’.
Craig seemed extremely self-assured in becoming the very first winner of the show, and told The Sun: “There have been 14 other winners who haven’t been as successful as me. Winning first makes a difference but if you’ve got nothing else to give,you’ll fade away.”
“The big story was me falling out with Nasty Nick but we became great friends. We’d walk into a pub and people would cheer me and abuse him.
“I still watch Big Brother sometimes but it’s lost its edge. They’ve brought in weirder and wackier people desperate for fame, which is an insult to the public.”
Over the years, he is said to have earned over £7,000,000 but has claimed that it’s time Channel 5 pulled the plug on Big Brother.
Before: Prior to Darren joining the show, he had ambitions of becoming an actor or dancer, therefore a spot on the reality series would certainly get his name out there when it came to finding professional work.
However, when it came to the way he was portrayed on TV, Darren admitted that was aware of the cameras and was afraid of embarrassing his family when it came to speaking his mind: “I had to restrain my b****y side as I had three kids and I
didn’t want to embarrass them.” he admitted to The Sun.
After: He has since come out as gay, but admitted that during the series, he would shy away from this and wondered when would be the right time to come out:
“If I did it again now, the Darren you would see would be gay. I hadn’t had any gay relationships then but in my mind I was wondering at what point I was going to embrace being gay.” he told The Sun.
“I had a very beautiful, warm reception from friends and family when I told
them in 2004.”
Although Darren didn’t make a break in acting or modelling, he did go on to find work in the entertainment industry presenting a variety of shows. In later years, he claimed that Jade Goody’s success in series 3 definitely outshined him when it came to finding presenting jobs.
Despite the setbacks he’s faced since appearing in the show, Darren admits that he wishes he could rewind back time and relive his moment in the spotlight: “I want to put on some rhinestones and revive my little 15 minutes of fame.”
He currently works for a research company.
Before: Claire was a florist by profession before entering the BB house. She may never have been a part of the original line-up if it wasn’t for Nasty Nick getting booted out of the house.
After: The experience was far more beneficial for Claire’s personal life than her career one may argue, after hooking up with fellow housemate Tom McDermott. Upon leaving the show, the pair stayed together and went on to have a baby boy together named Pierce.
As they say, ‘all good things come to an end’ and the couple separated just a year later, despite making a bold move to Spain. Claire stayed in the country though and later found love again.
Discussing the traumatic split between herself and Tom, she told The Sun: “Tom and I did our best to make it work but it came to a head. Pierce knows he is the first Big Brother baby and got quite a kick out of being famous for the day when he first told his school friends.”
“I do think about some of the other housemates and wonder if they’re OK. It was quite an experience and I think you had to be strong to get through it.”
She currently lives in Marbella and owns a number of bars in Essex.
Before: Prior to Big Brother, Anna was an office manager, and definitely one of the more fun members of the Big Brother household; persuading the other housemates to participate in kissing games in the jacuzzi.
Talking to The Sun, she said: “I remember persuading everyone to get in the Jacuzzi and do kissing games, but it was like a chaste playground thing compared to the
naughty things they get up now,” she said.
“Our tasks were really boring, like going on an exercise bike for 24 hours or
learning Morse code.”
Upon entering the house, housemates were shocked to learn that Anna was, in fact, a former nun, but since came out as a lesbian – therefore made her name as the very first openly gay housemate.
After: Anna did really well out of appearing on the show and landed herself in second place. Upon leaving the house, she went on to present a number of TV shows and became great friends with host Davina McCall; still keeping in contact to this day.
“Davina for some reason liked me and was really protective of me.” she said. “I had tons of offers but I felt it was important to turn down certain jobs and make smart decisions.”
‘Nasty Nick’ Bateman
Before: ‘Nasty Nick; was a London City broker before entering the BB house.
It goes without saying that Nick is probably one of the most iconic housemates of all time, after cheating and later thrown out of the house due for rule-breaking. If you’re a regular viewer of the show, you’re more than likely aware that nominations are strictly confidential, however, Nick was caught writing names down on a piece of paper.
After: Although he truly lived up to his ‘nasty’ nickname, he still went on to have a successful career in media and made many pantomime appearances and stage shows across the country. He also wrote a mini-biography and trained in camera work for television.
Before: Unlike other members of the house, Melanie was always more interested in being behind the camera rather than in front of it and wished to learn more about the technical side of television. Before making her name on the show, Melanie had a career in marketing and sales.
“I loved the cameras, the live feed, and editing 24 hours down to one show.” she told The Sun.
After: Once the show came to an end, Melanie gained a successful career in writing after getting her own magazine column. She stated that she would never do the show again, due to learning the set-up of the show and the way in which certain characters are perceived by the public. At the current time though, she has decided to take a short break to spend time with her family.
Before: Prior to entering the house, Sada had already trained to be an actress and had high hopes to boost her career out of the publicity she would receive. She also did a spot of writing alongside these ambitions.
After: Upon her exit, she had a brief relationship with fellow housemate Nichola and also went on to secure a few advert deals. Since then, she’s moved abroad – to Argentina to be exact; has changed her name to Guru Amrit Dev and married a musician named Sat Man Swaraj.
She doesn’t seem to have used her acting qualifications to take on jobs in the industry in recent years though, as it’s been reported that she’s now a yoga instructor.
Before: Tom was a farmer from County Tyrone in Ireland, therefore the Big Brother house was a far cry from his usually peaceful surroundings.
During the show, Tom got together with another housemate, Claire Sutton and as previously mentioned, the pair went on to have a baby, but split just a year later.
After: Upon his exit, Tom had his fifteen minutes of fame, making appearances all over the country in bars and nightclubs, but has since gone on to have a successful career in property.
Despite their split, Tom and Claire have remained friends, and his former wife even did the flowers for Tom’s second marriage!
Before: Nichola’s profession was as a teacher – and a very cool one at that!
During her time in Big Brother, Nichola was best remembered for encouraging the other housemates to strip, which caused quite a stir at the time. A free spirit, she went on to appear in a few adult films in 2004 and 2005.
After: After leaving, she had a brief fling with fellow housemate Sada, but the pair split up soon after. She’s currently said to be a single mum to a seven-year-old girl, living in Bolton.
Before: Before entering the house, Caroline was unemployed and thought the Big Brother experience would be a great new challenge.
She is best remembered for her ‘irritating’ laugh than many associated with a hyena and was best friends in the house with Sada and Nichola. It came as no shock when Caroline was given the boot just three weeks into the show after receiving almost a million votes.
After: Soon after leaving the Big Brother house, Caroline went back to her usual everyday routine and even tried launching a music career, which failed. These days, she has her very own website with the aim of boosting an acting career.
It was reported that she had been suffering from depression in recent years, but has since made appearances on Ultimate Big Brother in 2010 and TOWIE in 2016.
Before: Prior to the show, Andrew was a marketing manager, while his brother is Formula One driver Anthony Davidson.
He is best remembered for his flirty relationship with Mel, who he went on to kiss, and was later branded as ‘Randy Andy’.
After: Following his stint on Big Brother, Andrew went back to his career in marketing, but moved to MTV and later, Flamingo. He also went on to work with a number of other well-known brands such as McVities, Starbucks and Weetabix. Unlike other housemates, he has decided to step out of the limelight altogether.