Duty of care protocols revealed ahead of Big Brother return to screens

Housemates will be given the training to prepare them for life within the house, ITV said.

ITV reveals duty of care protocols ahead of Big Brother return to screens ITV

Big Brother contestants will receive respect and inclusion training to set out the “expectation for appropriate behaviour and language” before they take part in the upcoming reboot of the reality TV show, ITV has announced.

All housemates will be given the training to prepare them for life within the house – as well undergoing psychological and medical assessments, background checks and a social media review.

The measures are part of ITV’s duty of care protocols, developed with the show’s producers Banijay UK, which have been announced ahead of the reality series’ much-anticipated return to screens on October 8.

The show will air every night on ITVX following its revival by the broadcaster five years after it was axed by Channel 5 amid a ratings slump.

Each of the contestants taking part will have an individual support plan that includes sessions with the show’s mental health professionals prior to, during and after their time in the house.

Alongside the medical assessments, housemates will be required to disclose in confidence any medical history or other relevant information.

Contestants will also be talked through the house rules, the possible positive and negative implications of participating and key aspects of living in the house.

Similar to recent series of ITV’s Love Island, contestants will also have to disable their social media accounts ahead of entering the house.

Housemates and their family and friends will be asked to not post any content on their individual social media accounts for the duration of their time on the show.

The show’s welfare team and other members of the editorial and production crew will also receive training in mental health first aid and respect and inclusion.

During the show’s run, the welfare of the contestants will be monitored “24 hours a day” with daily meetings scheduled to discuss and work out a solution if any issues arise, ITV has said.

Mental health professionals will also be available to the housemates and a session will be mandatory after they leave the house.

Training on dealing with social media and press will also be giving after they depart, and further support will be provided based on individual needs.

The show’s new hosts, AJ Odudu and Will Best, will also be offered this support and will receive the respect and inclusion training.

The Big Brother launch show will see a new cast of “carefully selected housemates from all walks of life” arrive at the brand-new house in front of a live studio audience.

ITV said the famous house featuring a “contemporary new look” will see the return of tasks, nominations and live evictions – with the voting public playing a “crucial role” through the series, before voting for the winner of the show.

The social experiment programme, which sees housemates live together in a custom-built home for weeks without access to the outside world in a bid to win a cash prize, started in 2000 on Channel 4 before Channel 5 took over in 2011.

ITV has said the show’s welfare protocols have “evolved” over its more than 20-year history and that the 2023 plan has been “evaluated and reviewed” with ITV’s compliance and duty of care team, the mental health professionals engaged for the series and Big Brother’s welfare team, including Banijay UK’s head of welfare.

Banijay UK, which bought Endemol – the company formerly commissioned by Channel 4 to produce a number of Big Brother spin-off shows which were presented by Russell Brand, is currently undertaking an investigation into his behaviour while he was working on its programmes.

Head of welfare for Banijay UK Kym Langer said: “The welfare of everyone involved in the making of Big Brother is of paramount importance to us and the welfare protocols for Housemates delivers robust assessment of suitability to participate, informed consent and support throughout the casting and filming process and beyond.

“The protocols in place for the 2023 series have been carefully considered bringing together the experience of ITV’s compliance and Duty of Care team together with the independent mental health professionals we have engaged and our own in-house production, editorial, casting and support teams.”

Big Brother: The Launch is on ITV1, STV, ITV2 and ITVX on October 8 from 9pm.

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