Entertainment TV Big Brother Australia 2020: Looking back on 20 years of 24/7 filming

Big Brother Australia 2020: Looking back on 20 years of 24/7 filming

Big Brother Australia 2020
Big Brother is coming back to Aussie screens this year, hosted by Sonia Kruger. Photo: Channel Seven
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As if we haven’t done enough sitting around in houses lately, Australian TV is gearing up for the return of Big Brother.

It has been almost 20 years since the pioneer in reality television hit our shores.

The question at hand is, are we still curious about what people do when they’re locked in a house with no way out?

We’ve been living it for the past six weeks, after all.

Regardless, the 2020 rendition is on its way.

Last week, we got a peep at the house and on Sunday, the first housemate was introduced.

It sounds much like the format we’re used to: There will be 20 housemates, aged between 19 and 62.

They’ll have their movements recorded 24 hours a day.

Each week they’ll compete in challenges, undertake set tasks and record salacious diary room entries.

However, this time it will be the housemates who nominate and also evict one another.

Australia will still get to decide the ultimate winner in a live finale.

That housemate will head to their real home with $250,000 in their pocket.

It’ll be hosted by The Morning Show‘s Sonia Kruger, and air on Channel Seven in about five weeks.

So while we’re waiting, here’s a look back at some of the more memorable moments from Australia’s Big Brother.

Season 4 (2004) – Merlin’s eviction protest

Housemate Merlin made his left views known during his time in the house. (Those who watched the season will remember the long-running politically fuelled feud between him and Paul.)

And it’s clear Merlin had a plan all along, to publicly raise attention to ending the mandatory detention of asylum seekers seeking refuge in Australia.

Before he entered the house, he sewed some black tape and a patch proclaiming ‘FREE TH(E) REFUGEES’ into a shirt, which he wore on nights when he was up for eviction. (The ‘E’ fell off at some stage.)

During his path from the house to the stage with then host Gretel Killeen, he made his move.

What follow next was minutes of Killeen trying desperately to probe a live eviction interview with Merlin, who remained stoic in his protest.

Season 6 – That slap

For a bunch of bored people sitting around a house all day for weeks on end, there certainly were a lot of political and cultural markers in Big Brother.

In 2006, much of Australia learnt what a turkey slap was for the first time, when two housemates Michael “John” Bric and Michael “Ashley” Cox held down fellow contestant Camilla Severi, so “Ashley” could hit Camilla in the face with his penis.

The Up Late moment that outraged viewers and politicians. Photo: Channel Ten

It was aired as part of Big Brother Up Late  (basically they’d feed the housemates booze until they did something interesting), and ultimately the act led to its axing.

PM at the time John Howard called for the whole program to be cut.

And one wonders, if that happened today, would the whole country ask for the same?

Season 5 – Gotcha

This one didn’t technically happen on screen, but it also kind of did.

Before 2005 season runner-up Tim Brunero entered the house, he sat down with his mate from The Chaser Chas Licciardello to carefully construct a Big Brother edition of Tim Brunero.

tim brunero
Tim Brunero is now a journalist. Photo: Instagram

“We sat down for hours and hours and hours working out strategies and how we were going to attack it,” Brunero has told The New Daily.

Did it work? Well, he did come second.

It was the social experiment to outwit the social experiment.

Season 5 (again) – The twins

The show’s producers must have been sharing some serious brain power to come up with this one.

They found a set of identical twins, and decided to enter them in the house as one person. And hence, Logan was born.

Greg and David Mathew shared the role of one person in the house, and were periodically called upon by BB to swap, having mere seconds to exchange information on who they’d been chatting to.

Greg and David Mathew entered the house as Logan, named after their shared middle name. Photo: Channel Ten

They had to continue the charade unnoticed for two weeks, then they’d be granted the opportunity to enter the house as individuals.

If they were found out by housemates before then, they’d be nominated and evicted as one.

It was a week before the gig was revealed, by “Shearer” Glenn.

Greg went on to win regardless.