RadioTimes.com was lucky enough to get a sneaky peek inside the Big Brother house yesterday, just hours before this year's eager housemates move their suitcases in.
I did have to wear blue plastic bags on my feet (so the garishly green carpet stayed pristine for the contestants) but it was worth it to walk down those stairs and pretend I really was bidding farewell to the outside world for weeks on end – and, of course, to uncover the following intriguing snippets for you about the place that 16 fresh-faced housemates will soon be calling home...
1. It’s actually tiny
Sometimes I feel a little bit hemmed in at my flat. And I only live with two other humans. Imagine there being SIXTEEN of you. You'd want more than three rooms. And more than one shower. I'm not sure whether it all just looks a lot bigger on TV or if the Big Brother house is slowly shrinking, but it feels super small in there.
2. The bedroom is the smallest ever
One thing is for sure, the bedroom – which, come rain or shine, can only be accessed through the garden – is definitely the smallest Big Brother has ever proffered. The eight double beds, some of which are tiny, look hugely uncomfortable and are REALLY close to each other. That's a lot of sharing. This lot are going to have to get to know one another really quickly...
3. But you can fit a person under the bed
It might be 'intimate' in the housemate's sleeping quarters, but you can fit one human being under the white beds. Don't ask me how I know that.
4. And the pool is one of the biggest yet
It's not all small. The housemates will have constant access to one of BB's biggest ever pools. And it looked really inviting, even though it was raining when we took a gander around the grounds.
5. Don't go thinking anything is comfortable though
There might be a state-of-the-art pool, some sleek design and a few swanky fixtures and fittings, but this Big Brother house is not designed to keep the housemates in the lap of luxury. Everything is very clean and clinical, and as far as we could tell there isn't a comfy chair in sight. Those sofas? Not nice to sit on.
6. The lights are super bright
The housemates will wish they'd popped their sunglasses on before making their grand entrance (maybe some of them will). Day or night, the house is kitted out with blindingly bright lights. And I'm saying that having only experienced the softer night-time lighting... God – or rather Big Brother – only knows how bright the daytime lights are.
7. Everything changes colour
The all-seeing eye really loves lighting this year. And the many bulbs and bands of lights around the house can all change colour, completely transforming the atmosphere of the rooms. According to Big Brother’s Bit On The Side presenter – and former CBB winner – Rylan Clark, when the housemates have a party, the rooms can easily mutate into something akin to a “Russian disco”. I'm not quite sure what that means, but I am excited to find out.
8. Technology is the name of the game
The clever tricks don’t stop with the lights. To get into the diary room the housemates will have to scan their hands, and there are screens EVERYWHERE.
9. And technology could mean power
Don’t forget that this year’s theme is Power Trip. Those screens that fill the house? BB host Emma Willis told us they might just be used to feed selective information to the housemates at opportune moments… Intriguing, no?
10. There is a wall of housemates
The housemates' faces will also appear on screens on one wall of the living area (above) – and each week after nominations the colour of the screens will change to indicate the housemate’s status. You know, just in case they forgot their place in the house was at risk.
11. It's really hard to ignore Big Brother
When a booming, and very familiar voice says, "This is Big Brother. Can the journalists please gather at the sofas," it's nigh on impossible to do anything other than throw yourself in the direction of the seating area.
12. The Diary Room is pretty roomy
It's the room that looks the smallest when we watch on the telly, but it's actually a fairly big space – and this year it's on a higher level off a fairly roomy hallway. If I was a housemate, I'd be making a bee-line for the diary room at every opportunity, if only for a bit more leg room.
13. The house is really near Tesco
Thought the Big Brother house was in the middle of nowhere? Me too. Turns out it’s right next to a huge Tesco supermarket. If only the housemates knew how close they were to cake, beer, steak… and the residents of Elstree doing their weekly shop. So close, yet so far, eh?
Big Brother: Power Trip Live Launch is on tonight and tomorrow at 9:00pm on Channel 5