reality tv

"Five things I learned from inside the Big Brother house you might not notice on TV."

Earlier this year, before Australia went into lockdown, I made a sneaky Sunday afternoon trip out to the Sydney suburb of Manly to take a look inside Australia’s newest hub of reality TV.

We’re now more than a week into the 2020 season of Big Brother and viewers have been treated to a look inside the house while watching this newest batch of housemates battle it out in challenges and eliminations.  

Yet in the midst of all these latest reality shenanigans, all the little secrets dotted around the house might not be apparent to viewers.

So, here are a few little details about the house that you might not have noticed on TV.

1. The custom-built Big Brother house had a rocky road to completion

It might look all shiny and sleek on TV now, but behind the scenes, it was a race to the finish line to get the house ready for the housemates to enter and for filming to start.

The house took 50 days to build through during some incredibly harsh weather conditions, including the Australian bushfires and torrential rainstorms and flooding.

For a recap of the biggest moments in Australian reality TV this week, listen to The Spill. 

2. The cameras and technology lurking in the house give it a very science-fiction feel

Unlike the original Big Brother house that was situated on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where the mirrored paneling throughout the house was in place to accommodate cameras and crew, the new Big Brother domain has a more covert set up.

Big Brother’s voice can follow you through the walls as you walk through the house if he chooses, but most of the time the cameras and lights are out of sight. This set up makes it a lot easier to forget you’re being filmed.

Even the backyard swimming pool has been created in a fishbowl design so that the housemates always feel like they’re on display.

The giant screen in the living room is where things get a little Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter since it can be changed to reflect Big Brother’s mood, the weather or upcoming challenges. Almost like an extra passive-aggressive housemate who doesn’t like to use their words to sort through emotional issues.

"The giant screen in the living room is where things get a little Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter since it can be changed the reflect Big Brother's mood." Source: Seven Network.

3. The bathroom is where Big Brother really has all the power

In the same way that housemates are forbidden from sleeping during the day, the bathroom is also set up to keep their lives inside the house very regimented. Housemates are only allocated 60 minutes worth of hot water every 24 hours (at least that's good for the environment) and it must be shared between all of them. Big Brother can also choose to turn the water off.

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Unfortunately for any of the guys and girls with thick hair, Big Brother is not a fan of hairdryers and they are forbidden in the house. But thankfully for all the lads and lasses who are having their every moment captured for TV,  other appliances like straighteners and electric shavers are allowed.

4. The Green Room has been designed to look deceptively zen, but that's not really what it's for.

The Green Room, with its cozy sunken couches and abundant plant life, looks at first glance to be the perfect place to take a break from the hustle and gentle backstabbing of the house. However, it's really more of a place to discuss strategy or hatch a plan to exile one of your fellow housemates.

Thanks to the tucked away couches, the fact there's only one entrance and that it's actually one of the smallest spaces in the house, it's actually the only place you can go in small groups for a bit of privacy.

"The Green Room has been designed to look deceptively zen, but that's not really what it's for." Source: Seven Network.

5. It feels both weirdly powerful and also daunting to sit the Big Brother diary room chair.

Unlike the somewhat calming plant and sunlight-filled living/dining area, the path to the diary room in the Big Brother house reminds you that you're actually on a TV set, rather than chilling in a holiday home.

To get to the diary room, you have to walk down the neon-lit hallway that lights up with Big Brother's presence, with the lights highlighting his voice and eyes following you as you walk in to spill your darkest secrets (or layout your strategy).

The diary room chair is raised a lot higher up from the ground than it looks on TV and is so rigid that it feels more like you're balancing on a piece of playground equipment than kicking back for a comfy chat, which I guess is what Big Brother is all about. Nobody is there for a relaxing time.

Big Brother airs on Sunday nights at 7pm and Monday and Tuesday nights at 7.30pm on Channel Seven.


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