Is Big Brother UK about to turn into Secret Story?

9 comments - Posted on May 17 2013 at 05:50pm

Secret Story logo

The new Big Brother 2013 ‘What’s the secret?’ teaser advert has left fans speculating that BBUK is going all Secret Story. But what exactly is Secret Story? Here bbspy fills you in…

Regular readers may remember that in the run-up to Channel 5’s first series of Big Brother in 2011, we shone a spotlight on two alternative formats they could adopt for their relaunch.

One of these was Secret Story, a format that started life as the French version of the show, but has since become popular enough for producers Endemol to begin selling it separately.

Needless to say, bosses opted to stick with the default BB formula, throwing in the occasional twist – some proving popular, others not so much (the Crypt, the White Room, the constant earpiece tasks, the dreaded friends and family nominations…)

But this morning, Channel 5 premiered an eye flash for this summer’s fourteenth series with the hashtag ‘#whatsthesecret’, sending fans in to a frenzy of speculation.

With the pre-eminent rumour being that BBUK could be about to borrow from Secret Story after all, now is the ideal time for a refresher course – below we explain its format (again) and bring you up to speed with how it’s been adapted around the world.

How Secret Story works

At first glance, Secret Story is identical to Big Brother – a group of contestants move in to a house isolated from the outside world, and nominate each other for eviction, with the public getting to decide who stays and who goes.

The difference is that each of them has a secret, which they must do their very best to keep hidden – as it is the other housemates’ objectives to work it out.

Each housemate has their own personal prize fund, and if someone else correctly guesses their secret, their entire prize fund goes to that person. Anyone who makes the final gets to keep their prize fund – and the winner scoops an additional jackpot prize.

Some housemates simply have to conceal their job, relationships or achievements, while others’ secrets are a bit more unusual. Examples from the French version include:

  • I have more than 100 tattoos
  • I was born with twelve fingers
  • I survived a plane crash
  • I was held hostage by suicide bombers
  • I have made contact with extraterrestrials

Big Brother (or ‘The Voice’ as he’s known on Secret Story) also gives housemates opportunities to boost their prize funds with secret missions. Meanwhile, the house itself also holds its secret – and the person that discovers it gets a ticket to the final.

In its own right, Secret Story has aired in France, Lithuania, Peru, Portugal and the Netherlands – but two other countries have incorporated it in to their editions of Big Brother.


In 2011, the German version was relaunched as a Secret Story clone entitled ‘Big Brother – The Secret’.

There were no personal prize funds, and instead anyone whose secret was guessed automatically faced eviction – and the housemate that guessed it won the ticket to the final.

However, they could only keep the final pass as long as no other secrets were guessed. If someone else managed to correctly identify a secret, the ticket was passed on to them, until a certain point in the series when the holder of the ticket was allowed to keep it for good.

In addition, those who made incorrect guesses were also put up for eviction.


Last year, Big Brother Australia aired for the first time since 2008 – and it returned with a launch twist heavily inspired by Secret Story.

Seven men and seven women entered the house, and in the first week, the women were given a list of secrets which they had to match to the men. If they were successful they won immunity from the first eviction – but if they were unsuccessful, the men won the immunity.

In the second week, the tables were turned and the men had to identify the women’s secrets.

Is the UK next?

Following the teaser ad, it seems highly likely that BBUK will be the next version to follow suit – let’s not forget that we looked to Australia for last year’s White Room twist.

Personally, we’re hoping that the producers have something new and original up their sleeves – and given that the hashtag refers to one ‘secret’ rather than multiple ‘secrets’, it’s not entirely out of the question.

While Big Brother has been lacking in creativity since it moved to C5, the Basement twist from January’s Celebrity run indicates that they’re at least thinking differently this year.

After all, it’s probably best that Endemol keeps Secret Story back for when BB eventually gets axed again!

#Whatsthesecret? Let us know your theories below…

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9 comments on this article

  1. bigbaby says:
    Fri 17 May Reply !

    Wasn’t the show reported to go back to a ‘social experiment’? Hmmm. I like the sound of this idea but I hope it doesn’t become too much about gameplay, because in my opinion, bitchiness and fighting is far more interesting. :up:

  2. Luke says:
    Fri 17 May Reply !

    Hmmm, not sure about it. Nothing wrong with the current format in my opinion.

    One thing I do hate though, the stupid background ads on this site, they’re so invasive. Ads shouldn’t overlay content.

  3. JJ says:
    Sat 18 May Reply !

    The “format” really isn’t the problem but the execution is poor and the constantly repeating twists really don’t help… The constant interference and allegations from the fandom of pretty much every aside from treason have also put a damper on things… And pimping the outright nasty and vile arguments between the cast have sucked pretty much all the fun out of the show for me…

    All that being said BB isn’t the show it used to be, and anyone willing to subject themselves to the BB house is wise to how the “game” is played… And while the basic format is viable IMO the best BB series came when BB threw out the old rule book and wrote a new one…

    Secret Story or a variation thereof seems too easy and too gimmicky for my tastes… It will have little impact on the series in the long run and any excitement surround it will have worn off within the first two weeks… The casting will remain the same, as it’s really not that hard to dig up a cheesy story and exploit it on the show…

  4. roevka says:
    Sat 18 May Reply !

    Not sure how the French produced it but I’ve seen the Dutch version. All those secrets caused a lot of confusing. The viewers couldn’t care less about the secrets. We had free live streams and 2 big cable companies streamed Secret Story on a special free TV channel as well. The house mates hardly did do any tasks. Producers tried to make cheap story lines with the secrets. It was just a big fail. Only secrets is not going to make good telly.

  5. BB2013 says:
    Sat 18 May Reply !

    This sounds exciting and everytime I read about this years BB its sounding more better! But would be so brillant and amazing if there was 24/7 Live Feed! :grin:

  6. Brooke says:
    Sun 19 May Reply !

    Not too sure about this idea, will still watch the launch anyhow but I prefer the regular format of the show tbh

  7. irene pearson says:
    Sun 19 May Reply !

    Not holding my breath. Thank you to whoever got rid of those dreadful swamping ads. JJ thanks for the tip about the browser. I agree that new housemates are too wise and comfortable because of the sameness. Boredom ensues for all.

  8. Matt says:
    Mon 20 May Reply

    @irene pearson

    As a free to access website bbspy relies on advertising to remain online. However, as a user myself I agree that the recent campaigns which included animations overlaid over the content have been a bit too intrusive, so I have written to our ad provider to raise your concerns.

  9. emad says:
    Fri 26 Jul Reply !


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