The Original Big Brother Rules

Here are the updated rules for housemates living in the Big Brother house. All contestants are given a copy of these before entering the house, and are also able to refer to them in the Welcome Pack – which is left in the BB house for participants to read through during their time as a housemate.

There are twelve basic rules regarding life inside the Big Brother House. They are set out in their simplest terms below. Details regarding the rules are set out in more detail later in the document. In agreeing to take part in Big Brother you agree to abide by the rules.

  1. There is no contact with the outside world. This includes the internet, newspapers, phone calls and conversations with anyone outside the House except for Big Brother.
  2. You are filmed 24 hours a day and must wear your personal microphones at all times.
  3. The Diary Room is the only place in the House where Big Brother will engage in a conversation with you. Visits to the Diary Room are compulsory.
  4. When requested you will be required to go to the Diary Room and nominate – you must give frank and honest reasons for your nominations. You are not permitted to discuss your nominations or try to influence anyone else’s nominations.
  5. The public will decide who is evicted.
  6. You must not threaten or use physical violence towards any other Housemate.
  7. Big Brother will intervene and may remove you from the House if you break the rules, threaten or use physical violence, or behave in an unacceptable way that could cause serious offence to any other Housemate or to the viewing public.
  8. All tasks are compulsory.
  9. You may not move any of the furniture, or tamper with any of the fixtures and fittings.
  10. You must get up whenever you hear the alarm.
  11. You may not discuss any previous series of Big Brother or Celebrity Big Brother or Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. You may not discuss any members of the Production.
  12. Big Brother reserves the right to change the rules at any time.


While you are in the House you will have no contact with the outside world – no telephones, television, radio, computers, newspapers, magazines etc. Big Brother will never discuss with Housemates how they’re shown on television, how they’re being represented in other forms of media, or anything else that has happened in the outside world. Big Brother will not enter into any negotiations about what actions, conversations or events in the House will be shown on television.

Big Brother will not discuss anything that may be going on in the outside world with Housemates.

Housemates are not permitted to make any attempts to communicate personal messages to anyone in the outside world by any means (this includes verbal messages, written messages or symbols). You may not make any attempt to communicate personal messages to the outside world when you know that Big Brother is broadcasting live. Big Brother does not guarantee that anything said in the Diary Room will be broadcast. If Big Brother deems that you have attempted to communicate with the outside world, Big Brother will take appropriate action.

Big Brother will exercise the utmost care to ensure that intrusions do not occur. If there is any sort of breach of security, Housemates must follow the following procedures for their own safety.

  • Housemates must ignore any noise they hear from outside the Big Brother compound.
  • If any objects appear in the garden the Housemates MUST NOT touch or go near them.
  • If people appear in the garden the Housemates MUST NOT communicate with them.In the event of any of the above occurrences Housemates must make their way immediately inside the House and close the patio doors, even if not specifically asked to do so by Big Brother. One member of the group must go immediately to the Diary Room to inform Big Brother so that security guards can remove the items/intruders.

The only exceptions to the rules about no contact with the outside world are set out in the EMERGENCIES section later in this document.

Filming and Personal Microphones

It is a fundamental principle of Big Brother that everything you say or do in the Big Brother House may be recorded.

It is strictly against the Rules to interfere for any reason with the camera or sound equipment installed in the House and garden or to do anything that may hinder the working of the equipment in any way (this includes tapping, scratching or covering microphones or obscuring the view of cameras).

You will be required to wear a personal microphone at all times except for when you are asleep in bed, taking a shower or bathing in water. Wearing a microphone is compulsory for every Housemate.

There are also microphones positioned above the beds. Housemates must sleep at the allocated end of the bed. Radio microphones can be taken off while sleeping at night but they must be placed in the spaces provided by the beds. Housemates must not take off their microphones while lying on the beds at any other time.

When washing or showering you must wear your microphones to the wash areas. Microphones must be put on again immediately afterwards, as soon as you are dry, regardless of whether or not you are fully dressed. Spaces for microphones are provided near showering and bathing areas.

Never enter water wearing a microphone. Please avoid getting your microphone wet.

The microphones are very delicate and expensive pieces of equipment. They must be worn in accordance with the information you were given before you entered the House. Fiddling or tampering with them, or refusing to wear them, can result in ejection from the House. The cable is delicate and thin and the weight of the transmitter must not be suspended from the cable. Pouches will be provided to ensure that they can be worn safely. You will each be allocated a pouch. Please make sure you do not lose it.

You will be asked to change the batteries for the microphones twice each day. When given the fresh batteries you must do this immediately.

If you think for any reason that you may have broken or damaged your microphone you must report it to Big Brother immediately.

The Diary Room

The Diary Room is provided for you and your fellow Housemates to share your experiences with Big Brother. As it is an important part of life in the Big Brother House, it is compulsory for all Housemates to come to the Diary Room when specifically requested to do so by Big Brother. You are also free to come and talk to Big Brother in the Diary Room, at any time.

The Diary Room is a confidential room where you will make your nominations, you can vent your frustrations and share your concerns and your feelings, safe in the knowledge that they will not be overheard by the other Housemates. For this reason, Big Brother will expect you to keep all conversations in the Diary Room confidential. When Big Brother does ask you to pass on information to other Housemates written instructions may be provided for you to read aloud.

Housemates may only enter the Hallway when going to and from the Diary Room. It is against the rules for Housemates to remain in the Hallway while another Housemate is in the Diary Room. Housemates are not allowed to remain in the Hallway after leaving the Diary Room. Big Brother will not conduct a conversation in the Diary Room with any Housemate until the Hallway is empty.

Images of live conversations in the Diary Room will not be streamed onair unless the Diary Room is being used as the integral part of a task. In addition, the following rules apply:

  • The Diary Room is the only place in the House that Big Brother will engage in a conversation with Housemates or acknowledge what they say.
  • Smoking and eating is not allowed in the Diary Room at any time.
  • You may not wear sunglasses or hats in the Diary Room, unless medically required and pre-arranged with Big Brother before entering the House.
  • The Diary Room is essentially designed for the comfort of one person. Although it is not forbidden for more than one Housemate to enter the Diary Room, if two or more enter the Diary Room at the same time, Big Brother may request that one or more housemates should leave so that a private conversation may take place.
  • The Diary Room can only be entered if there is no one else in the room. If you wish to enter you should press the button ONCE (there will be no sound). Big Brother may not always respond to your request to enter the Diary Room immediately. The door will be locked while you are in the room so that no one else is able to enter and intrude on your conversations with Big Brother (a green and red light will indicate when the door is locked/unlocked).
  • Big Brother can also call individual Housemates in to the Diary Room to talk. Housemates must come promptly when called – failure to do so could result in ejection.
  • New batteries for the radio mics will normally be placed in the Diary Room twice a day.
  • Big Brother may not always answer questions immediately. Big Brother will not answer personal or general knowledge questions.
  • If a Housemate decides to leave voluntarily, they must explain their reasons in the Diary Room.
  • Occasionally Housemates may need minor medical treatment (e.g. dentist). On these occasions professionals will usually treat them in the Diary Room. It is prohibited to try and seek information about the outside world from these professionals.
  • If a Housemate is having a consultation with the psychologist (either at their request or at the suggestion of Big Brother) then this conversation will be confidential. It will not be recorded or broadcast, and members of the production team will not be able to hear or see the consultation.

The nomination and eviction process

The people who enter the Big Brother House do so completely voluntarily. However, for security reasons the front door is locked remotely. Housemates leave the House in one of three ways: they may be evicted; they can leave of their own free will; or they may be required to leave by Big Brother.

The normal way for Housemates to leave the House will be through the nomination and eviction process.


Every week you must nominate two fellow Housemates for eviction, giving your full and frank reasons to Big Brother in the Diary Room. If you or any Housemate does not give frank and valid reasons for nomination: this includes the excuse that you get on better with other Housemates than the person you are nominating, or that you have nothing in common with the person that you are nominating, Big Brother reserves the right to issue a punishment.

If you persist in giving invalid reasons for your nominations, you may be asked to leave the Big Brother House and may be replaced with a standby Housemate.

Housemates are not allowed to nominate themselves or an inanimate object.

Times and days of nominations may be changed without notice.

The two or more Housemates who receive the most nominations will face the public eviction vote that week. The minimum number of people available for eviction each week may be changed without notice.

In the event that any Housemate refuses to comply with these rules Big Brother reserves the right to issue a punishment the most serious of which would be ejection from the House.

The results of Nominations will be announced at Big Brother’s discretion.

NB. Big Brother reserves the right to change the frequency or number of evictions at any time.

Discussion of Nominations

It is against the rules for Housemates to discuss their nominations with each other. This includes:

  • Any discussion with another Housemate that could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to influence their nominations.
  • Discussing or hinting at who you might nominate in the future or have nominated in previous weeks.
  • Predicting or guessing who may be nominated.
  • Discussing the reasons you might use for nominating someone for eviction.
  • Asking or intimating fellow Housemates to nominate you.
  • Writing down or using materials at your disposal to form names, initials or other symbols – this is why the use of pens, pencils or any written communication is strictly against the rules.
  • Any conversation, which Big Brother deems to be a coded discussion or any other method of hidden communication relating to nominations e.g. writing initials with your finger.

To clarify, as Housemates, you are free at any time to talk to each other about how you feel about your fellow Housemates – what you like and don’t like about them – but NOT as part of a discussion about nominations.

It is entirely at Big Brother’s discretion to determine whether the nominations rules have been breached and what punishment to bestow.


The eviction will ordinarily take place in the evening.

The public will vote via telephone lines. Voting lines will close minutes before the announcement is made to the Housemates. An official independent body will validate the results. The Housemate voted out of the House will be informed of the voting result via an audio link.

Big Brother will ask all nominees to pack their suitcases on eviction day and deliver them to the Store Room (or another location at Big Brother’s discretion). Nominees must pack all clothing, toiletries and personal items that they have taken into the House. If they wish to leave any items as gifts for their fellow Housemates they must clear this with Big Brother beforehand. Big Brother will make an inventory of all items taken into the House by each Housemate. This will be checked when they leave to ensure that all items are removed.

When the Housemate to be evicted is announced, Big Brother will instruct the evictee when to leave the House. When the evictee leaves, all other Housemates must remain where they are until further notice. The evicted Housemate should make their way along the designated route to the front door and leave the Big Brother House. They will be met and participate in an interview about their Big Brother experience.

Alternatively, Big Brother may make other arrangements for the eviction procedures.

Other methods of departure

Other than eviction by public vote there are two further methods of departure from the Big Brother House.

Voluntary Departure

It was made very clear during the selection process that you should consider very carefully what entering the House may mean to yourselves and your families.

Of course, no one will be held in the Big Brother House against their will. If you wish to leave voluntarily, you must go to the Diary Room and discuss your full and frank reasons for leaving. You will also need to give Big Brother some time to prepare for your sudden departure. It may not, for example, be possible to leave the House on the same day that the request is made to leave. However, Big Brother may demand that those who want to leave, do so, immediately. The well-being of Housemates who leave the House without co-operating with Big Brother cannot be guaranteed. Housemates leaving voluntarily must take all the belongings that they brought in.

Non-Voluntary Departure

Big Brother may remove Housemates from the House if they break the rules or if Big Brother deems their behaviour to be unacceptable.

Also, if at any stage the Big Brother psychologist or doctor feel that a Housemate needs to be removed from the House for whatever reason, Big Brother reserves the right to remove that person from the House for their own good, whether or not this is against their will.

Such decisions will be entirely at the discretion of Big Brother and there will be no appeal against such decisions.

Unacceptable Behaviour

Big Brother will intervene and take appropriate action if Housemates behave in a way that Big Brother considers is unacceptable. The form of intervention by Big Brother and any punishment will depend on the seriousness of the incident in question.

Unacceptable behaviour includes:

  • Violent behaviour towards any other Housemate (including threats of violence and actual violence) or other violent acts.
  • Behaving in a way that could cause serious offence to either their fellow Housemates or members of the viewing public (including serious offence based on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation).
  • Serious harassment or abusive behaviour directed at another Housemate including bullying.
  • Actions likely to endanger the safety of Housemates.
  • Saying anything which is calculated to bring Big Brother, the producers or the broadcaster into disrepute.
  • Damaging the House or its contents.
  • Making allegations either recklessly or that they know to be false or libellous.
  • Any other matter which Big Brother considers serious enough to warrant an intervention and punishment.

Interventions and Punishments

Where Housemates have behaved in a way that is unacceptable, Big Brother can apply any one of the following forms of intervention and punishment depending on the seriousness of the incident:

  1. Close Monitoring by Big Brother.
  2. Intervention Diary Room Discussion with Big Brother. Following an incident that Big Brother deems to be potentially unacceptable or a series of incidents that Big Brother deems cumulatively to be potentially unacceptable, Big Brother may call the relevant Housemate or Housemates to the Diary Room, at Big Brother’s discretion.The precise nature of this Diary Room will depend on the nature of the incident and the events leading up to the incident. However, Big Brother may use this opportunity to give the Housemate examples of their behaviour which has resulted in them being called to the Diary Room.
  3. Formal Diary Room Discussion Following an incident or series of incidents that Big Brother deems cumulatively to be unacceptable, Big Brother will call the relevant Housemate or Housemates to the Diary Room, at Big Brother’s discretion.Housemates will be called to the Diary Room where they will be reminded by Big Brother of their actions or words. They will then be given the opportunity to explain their behaviour before being reminded that such behaviour is unacceptable. Any repetition of such behaviour can lead to more serious action being taken by Big Brother.
  4. Formal Reprimand and Warning.If the behaviour is more serious or a Housemate has previously ignored Big Brother’s instructions that such conduct is unacceptable, the Housemate will be called into the Diary Room to receive a formal reprimand. The Housemate will also be warned that any further repetition may lead to their immediate eviction. Big Brother can issue a formal reprimand and warning without the need for a formal diary room discussion depending on the severity of the behaviour.
  5. Immediate RemovalHousemates who are violent or who act in a way that is seriously unacceptable or who ignore a formal warning will be removed. If anyone refuses to leave the House they will be removed by security. To be clear, Big Brother has the right to evict any Housemate without any warning. This is completely at the discretion of Big Brother and if Big Brother thinks any Housemate’s behaviour warrants it.Interventions and punishments will be entirely at the discretion of Big Brother and there will be no appeal against such decisions.

New Housemates

New Housemates may be introduced into the House at any time, at Big Brother’s discretion.

The current Housemates cannot ask the new Housemate(s) any questions regarding the outside world.

The new arrival is forbidden to talk about events in the outside world (including the current, or departed Housemates’ participation in the programme so far), and can be ejected at the discretion of Big Brother if they break this rule.

Shopping Tasks & Buying Shopping

Big Brother may set the group tasks and challenges which Housemates will have to complete. The tasks vary from physical to mental challenges.

Housemates may also be given daily tasks at Big Brother’s discretion.

All tasks and challenges are compulsory. Failure to participate in a task or challenge may result, ultimately, in ejection from the House.

Housemates will be required to take part in tasks in order to determine their shopping budget. If Housemates pass the shopping task, Housemates will receive a luxury shopping budget; if they fail, they will receive a basic shopping budget.

After Housemates have completed the shopping task, Big Brother will provide a shopping list, a blackboard and chalk. Housemates must choose the provisions they require from the list provided, and list them on the blackboard along with each item’s price.

One Housemate must come to the Diary Room and read out the items that the Housemates have selected to buy – this Housemate will be given one opportunity to do this.

If the Housemates have under-spent, the under-spend will not be carried over.

If Housemates have overspent, Big Brother will only provide provisions that can be purchased within the budget – Big Brother will remove items from the list until it comes under or on budget, Big Brother will begin by removing the last item on the list and work backwards.

It is the Housemates’ responsibility to ensure they do not under or over-spend.

Housemates are not permitted to request different brands or products, other than those listed i.e. Housemates can only purchase items as specified on the shopping list.

Tokens will be available for purchase on the shopping list. Each token costs £1 and a maximum of 10 can be purchased from each shopping list. Each of these tokens can be redeemed for the following:

  • – 1 hour’s use of hair straighteners or,
  • – 1 hour’s use of a hairdryer or,
  • – 1 day’s worth of hot water (each hot water token is valid from the time of request to midnight on the day of request)
  • – On occasion Big Brother may offer Housemates the opportunity to exchange tokens for other luxury items. This will be at Big Brother’s discretion.

The hours cannot be broken down into smaller increments of time either for purchase or use. Tokens will expire after one week. If Housemates wish to redeem a token for one of the above, they must bring it to the Diary Room and tell Big Brother what they wish to redeem it for. When requested to do so by Big Brother, Housemates must post the token into the box provided in the Diary Room. Tokens must be stored in the token holder situated outside the bathroom.

Big Brother may not always respond to the request immediately.

In the event of Housemates running out of food, there will always be an emergency supply of chick peas, lentils and rice in the store room.

Big Brother will supply Housemates with a complimentary selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to purchases Housemates make from the shopping list.

General Housekeeping

It is Housemates’ responsibility to look after the House, garden and their contents.

It is important that Housemates refer to the relevant sections of this Welcome Pack and familiarise themselves with the operation of all facilities before they use them.

Items within the House should be kept in working order. It will be up to the discretion of Big Brother whether or not to replace items that are broken or damaged. All furniture and fittings have been positioned in the House by Big Brother and should not be moved.

Housemates must refrain from touching the plasma screens unless asked to do so by Big Brother. The plasma screens must remain switched on at all times.

Big Brother will from time to time request that routine maintenance or cleaning should be carried out by the Housemates (such as cleaning the mirrors). Big Brother will provide any necessary materials. These chores will only be required if they are necessary for the health and safety of the Housemates or to facilitate filming. For this reason, these chores are compulsory and must be carried out as soon as is reasonably possible.

If any items are lost over the wall of the garden (such as a ball) it will be entirely at the discretion of Big Brother whether or not to return the item. Any items that are removed from the House or garden will be kept safely and returned to their owner(s) once the series is over.

You are reminded that this is a residential area so please respect your neighbours, especially in the evening. For this reason you are not permitted to sleep outside overnight.

It is also against the rules to climb on any part of the House, which includes scaling walls or attempting to climb on the roof – this is for the health and safety of Housemates.

Blankets and bedding are not permitted to be removed from the bedrooms.

Housemates must not tamper with or move the clock from its position in the kitchen.

Housemates are only permitted to smoke whilst sat in or on the ashtray in the garden. This is the only place in the Big Brother House where Housemates are permitted to smoke. It is the Housemates’ responsibility to clean out the ashtray bucket into the bins provided.

Big Brother will supply Housemates with cleaning products, sanitary products, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Housemates must purchase toilet paper from the shopping list.

Big Brother will provide Housemates with budget toilet roll at all times, this can be found in the ‘Supplies Cupboard’ in the Living Room toilet. If Housemates wish to purchase luxury toilet roll they can do so from the shopping list.

Housemates will be provided with a vacuum cleaner for half an hour once a week.

The House will be equipped with a hairdryer and hair straighteners which Housemates will be able to rent. In order to rent them, Housemates must exchange tokens, which can be purchased from the shopping list.

Hot water will be provided in exchange for a token. Hot water will be provided from the time Housemates come to the Diary Room with a token to request it, until midnight on the night of the request. This is at Big Brother’s discretion.

Personal Belongings

Before entering the House, Housemates must inform Big Brother of any personal items that they wish to bring into the House that are not specifically covered in this section. Any item not approved by Big Brother must not be brought into the House.

Any prohibited items will be confiscated and returned when the relevant Housemate leaves the House.

Housemates will be thoroughly searched to ensure that they comply with the following rules and failure to comply may result in eviction. A non-definitive guide of prohibited items can be found on the following page.

Big Brother reserves the right to enter and search the House and confiscate personal items at any time. These will be returned once the relevant Housemate(s) have left the House.

While living in the House you may not: wear clothes with prominent commercial logos, branding or copyrighted images; or clothes that are intended to send a message to friends or colleagues in the outside world. If you take an item of clothing into the House that is later deemed to have too prominent a logo, Big Brother may decide to remove the item for the duration of your stay in the House. In addition Housemates may not wear items of clothing that have thin stripes on them as they can interfere with the cameras causing a strobing effect.

You may only bring up to three photographs into the House if they have been seen and cleared by a member of the production team. This is because of legal requirements from Channel 5 about copyright and privacy. In particular photographs of children under the age of 18 can be problematic unless they are your children. Any photographs you bring in must have been taken by you or a friend due to the copyright issues associated with images taken by professional photographers.

Please note that although you are allowed to take sunglasses into the House, Big Brother requests that you do not wear them inside the House, unless they are medically required and pre-arranged with Big Brother before entering the House.

A reasonable quantity of toiletries and make-up may be taken in to the House as long as they fit into your suitcase. Sanitary items will be provided by Big Brother.

Housemates must consult Big Brother prior to entering the House regarding any non-clothing, non-toiletry products which are not on the prohibited list that they wish to take in. This includes all medication.

If Housemates break or ruin any personal belongings, Big Brother will not replace or mend them – the Housemates are responsible for repair & upkeep of their personal belongings in the house. Big Brother will not look after any personal possessions that Housemates no longer want or need in the House.

Prohibited Items

Mobile phones, pagers or any telecommunication devices.

Radios, Personal Stereos, MP3 Players or any music playing devices.

CDs or any form of recordable media.

Computers, PDAs such as Blackberries or any form of electronic organiser or computing device.

Games of any description.

Television, VCR or DVD Player.

Calendars of any kind.

Timepieces of any description.

Drugs and Narcotics.

Weapons (or any item that could be considered to be a weapon).

Clothes with Prominent Logos.

Money, chequebooks, credit/debit cards or any form of currency.

Diaries, agendas or journals.

Books, magazines or any kind of reading material.

Strong Alcohol.

Pens, pencils or any similar writing implement including.

Paper, writing pads.

Musical instruments.

Any ready made games including playing cards.

Any other item which Big Brother considers inappropriate.

The Alarm

Big Brother will wake Housemates each morning with an alarm. When the alarm sounds, Housemates must wake and sit up. The alarm will continue until all Housemates are awake and either sitting up or out of bed. The time at which the alarm is sounded is entirely at Big Brother’s discretion and may vary from day to day.

If Housemates fall asleep in the daytime, Big Brother will sound the alarm until all Housemates are awake.

Bedroom lights must remain on until night time.

Discussing Previous Series of Big Brother

This series of Big Brother is a unique experience for the Housemates. Big Brother will never refer to the previous series in any conversations with the Housemates. It is against the rules to discuss the previous series, or refer to previous Housemates from Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother or Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack.

It is also strictly against the rules to discuss any members of the production team, agents or the booking process.

Housemates may not discuss their fees.


Housemates will be provided with a plan of the House detailing the fire exits. You should study this and become familiar with their location. If Big Brother asks Housemates to move to a particular room they must do so immediately. In the event of an emergency, Housemates will be advised on how to react by Big Brother over the tannoy.

Big Brother may also practise fire and/or security drills with Housemates. The Housemates must obey the orders of Big Brother at all times for their own safety. Failure to do so may result in ejection from the House. The front door to the House will be locked remotely, but can be opened at a moment’s notice.

It is possible that people will try to get into the Big Brother complex – if this were to happen Housemates should inform Big Brother via the Diary Room. If it is an emergency, shout, and Big Brother will respond immediately. Housemates should always wear their microphones so Big Brother can hear them at all times.

Even though the Housemates are isolated from the outside world, Big Brother will ask each of you for a list of no more than three serious private/domestic events that you would want to be notified about if they happen. If something happens that isn’t on the list, your named contact will decide whether or not you should be told about it. Big Brother will pass on this information and only this information, and cannot be held responsible if a Housemate is not told of something that they wish they had heard, or hears about something that they would rather not have known about.

Medical Matters

If there is a real emergency – for example a situation necessitating hospital treatment- Big Brother will judge each case on an individual basis to decide if the occupant may return to the House. If a hospital (or similar) visit is necessary a member of the production team will accompany the Housemate to ensure that there is no (or minimal) contact with the outside world. If a hospital stay of longer than one day is required Housemates may not be able to re-enter the House.

All medical requests must be made to Big Brother in the Diary Room.

Housemates must not share medication with other Housemates.

Any consultations with the psychologist will not be filmed or overheard by the production team. Although we will not breach client confidentiality, the psychologist will make producers aware of any relevant issues or vulnerabilities, with Housemates’ consent. This is to help us monitor your well-being.

Big Brother reserves the right to change the rules at any time. Big Brother’s decision is final.