A closer look at the Big Brother 2016 house extension

We examine the plans for the show's biggest revamp in over a decade
1 comment - Posted on June 1 2016 at 10:30am

Aerial view of the Big Brother UK house

It’s the worst kept secret in BBUK history: a huge new extension to the house has been built for Big Brother 2016 – but what can we expect from it? Here bbspy examines the plans…

It seems Channel 5 was serious when it promised change for Big Brother this year. A bold move was needed to recapture the public’s attention, and there are none bolder than a bigger house.

The original building – located at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire – was constructed in 2002, and in the many years since it has pretty much been left untouched (Channel 4 demolished and rebuilt the back end in 2008, but the end result was pretty much the same).

But in January it emerged that C5 and Endemol were working on its biggest revamp in fourteen years – and in March the local council approved a gigantic extension and refreshed live show set.

So what does that entail? Here we sum up planning documents released in January for an idea of what’s in store. (Disclaimer: This is just us going through what six-month-old documents appear to show – while there definitely is a new extension and set, the plans may have been altered since!)

It’s very big

This isn’t a little annex: it’s a proper extension comprising 488 square metres of interior and 185 sqm of exterior space, as well as 165 sqm of camera runs for the crew.

That’s a total of 838 sqm being added on to the house. To put that in to context, the original building has 1,285 sqm of interior space.

Endemol's proposed extension to the Big Brother UK house

It has its own garden and pool

The extension isn’t all indoors – it has its own garden, complete with a circular pool. It’s further away from the original garden than, say, BB7’s House Next Door was – although we imagine housemates in both yards would still be able to hear each other if they shouted loud enough.

It seems to have two floors

Judging by the construction pics our friends at Tellymix have been taking (you can see one below), the new wing looks tall enough for two floors – and indeed a floorplan in the files refers to a ‘2nd floor interior space’ and a ‘poss toilet on 2nd floor’.

Don’t get excited yet though – while a second floor may be ‘poss’, there won’t necessarily be one for the housemates: it could be for the producers’ use only. As always we’ll have to wait until the finished house is unveiled to find out exactly what features it has.

Big Brother 2016 - house extension construction

It could be a house on its own

You’ve probably heard the rumour there will be two houses this summer: the Daily Star even claims that two relatives could be split between the opposing sides without knowing the other is there.

Again, such chatter at the moment is highly speculative, but there is a good basis for these rumours: one of the planning documents actually calls the new extension the ‘2nd house’.

It’s connected to the main house by a corridor

In addition, the floorplan suggests it will not be directly incorporated in to the main house, as there will apparently be a ‘new linking corridor ramp’ connecting the two.

Big Brother 17 house extension floorplan

Fans have also suggested that the background of the recently-leaked title card could represent a hallway linking two completely separate houses.

There are 2 entrances in the new live show set

As if all this wasn’t exciting enough, a fresh set has also been built for the live shows, complete with a permanent indoor studio structure, and an LED wrap around wall. Thankfully, it should now be suitable for use in most weathers.

Unfortunately there’s a caveat: the house extension covers some of the old crowd area at the front of the compound, so the new outdoor set is smaller, with crowd capacity cut from 470 to 400 people. The reduced size is likely behind the move to ban punters from taking banners this year.

However, the floorplan for the set further backs up the two houses rumour. It shows two entrances, one for each side of the building – and they have their own staircases leading to the stage!

Big Brother 17 house new set

So there we have it: the new Big Brother house extension. Again, the plans may have been tweaked since the files were published – we know it’s relatively easy for bosses to make changes – but even if some of these ideas don’t make it to screen this year, they could well resurface in the future.

We don’t have long to wait until we can see the fruits of Big Brother’s labour – the show kicks off next Tuesday at 9.00pm on Channel 5, and official pictures of the house are expected to be released imminently, so stay tuned to bbspy to see them!

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1 comment on this article

  1. Jake says:
    Wed 01 Jun Reply !

    I’m so f***ing excited to see the house!

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