"My house, my rules, my game. I am Big Brother." — Big Brother Australia
Big Brother (person), considered as the most important element in the series, is the unseen voice that controls the housemates' lives inside the house.
The titular character is loosely based on a fictional character with the same name from George Orwell's novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the reality series was inspired from.
Within the infamous reality series, Big Brother is known as the owner of the Big Brother House, wherein a group of housemates live under his command and must avoid evictions. However, Big Brother is considered to be an unseen, omnipresent, and omnipotent entity that watches the housemates' every move, and neither the contestants nor the viewers can see him physically. However, the housemates can privately converse and express their thoughts and emotions with Big Brother through a special room in the Big Brother House called the Diary Room, or a Confession Room in some versions.
Interestingly, in many versions of the series, Big Brother is addressed in many terms, oftentimes in their country's national language. In the Philippines, Big Brother although officially called as such, is also called as "Kuya", a Filipino honorific/kinship term normally used to refer to an elder male sibling or an older male friend. In Indian versions of the series, the contestants call him instead as Bigg Boss. Meanwhile, in the Big Brother Nigeria, the contestants also call him with the nickname Biggy. In other versions, they call Big Brother in their languages' translation of the term such as Grande Fratello in Italian and Gran Hermano in Spanish.
Man of the House
In most of the international versions of the series, Big Brother is known to have a deep, father-like voice and often has a commanding persona. It is a major rule in the house to follow Big Brother at all times, and refusing to do so is considered as a major violation and would have corresponding punishment, the worst being ejection. In most versions of the series, his strictness towards the housemates may vary; in some seasons, Big Brother can be strict, while in other seasons, he can be tolerant of the actions inside the house. Oftentimes, these changes are caused by certain twists within a season.
Another thing that varies between different versions of Big Brother is his personality. In some versions, notably Big Brother Australia and Pinoy Big Brother, Big Brother is characterized as a wise authority figure with a right combination of humor, mischief, seriousness and strictness, which is often seen throughout the series during Diary Room conversations, tasks, and during the twists he implements inside the house.
In the Philippine version for instance where it is notable for producing Teen seasons and casting teenagers, Big Brother's characterization in the show has evolved into an all-knowing and wise father figure who often shares a lot of wisdom and life advices towards his adolescent and adult houseguests.
In some versions, Big Brother is considered a less prominent character in the show or even non-existent at all. Big Brother (U.S), for example, is notable for lacking a prominent Big Brother figure, although a Big Brother voice can sometimes be heard in the show only when commanding houseguests to do certain actions such as going to the diary room, or turning on the lapel microphone if it's accidentally turned off by the houseguests. Since it's not a prominent character in the show, most of the duties done by the role are carried out by the producers themselves, oftentimes Allison Grodner, such as giving various announcements to the house. Instead, the persona became more known in the show simply as "production", rather than "Big Brother". As a result of the minimized appearance of the Big Brother character, the housemates themselves and even host, Julie Chen have taken out some duties often performed by Big Brother in other versions, such as hosting the competitions and presiding the nominations and evictions.
Despite the Big Brother voice having less impact on the American version's narrative since the 2nd season, it has been revealed in a 2020 article that majority of the houseguests have formed a connection with Big Brother throughout their time inside the house. Many fans who watch the show's live feeds have also been familiarized with Big Brother commanding his houseguests despite that such moments weren't usually included in the show's television broadcast.
In Big Brother UK, Big Brother is also not a prominent character on the show, instead, the role is carried out by various producers, lacking the mystery of a larger figure and presenting events as more adult and realistic. The producers usually talk with a very straight and serious tone, although sometimes making minor efforts at humor. When housemates are violating the rules, they will either be called into the Diary Room and be told off or will scold housemates from a loudspeaker.
Big Brother's Moments
Big Brother Australia
Pinoy Big Brother
Big Brother UK
Big Brother US
- Big Brother's identity is highly confidential, and has remained a mystery among its viewers. Nevertheless, some versions have publicly revealed the man behind the iconic voice.
- The Australian Big Brother of the Australian version was revealed to be the voice artist, Leon Murray until it went into hiatus in 2014. Since Channel Seven's reboot of the series, voice actor Chris Coucouvinis has been revealed to be the new Big Brother, replacing Murray.
- The American Big Brother in Big Brother U.S. have been voiced by Don Wollman.
- Big Brother in Big Brother U.S. is rarely heard at all on the main show but can often be heard in the live feeds.
- Big Brother in Big Brother UK is voiced by several voices of both genders.
- In Pinoy Big Brother, Nene Tamayo was the first housemate to stand up for the Housemates and refused to follow Big Brother's unjust commands during Pinoy Big Brother 1, unbeknownst to her, Big Brother's unjust commands were part of a situational challenge to test their character. She ended up becoming the very first Big Winner and became known for standing up to her beliefs.
- Throughout the Weeks 13 and 14 of Pinoy Big Brother: Double Up, Big Brother seemed to be sick as his usual voice sounded congested, most of the housemates noticed it, but Big Brother still continued to guide his housemates for their New Year's Concert Task. Throughout the week, the housemates became overly worried about Big Brother's condition. On Day 92, while talking with Marielle Sorino in the Diary Room for the week's nominations, Big Brother suddenly passed out, unaware of the situation, Marielle thought it was a technical error. She was then told through the Diary Room's TV Screen to return to the house. Big Brother was admitted to the hospital, leaving the upset housemates without knowing what to do for a day. On Day 93, Big Brother was replaced by his villainous younger brother called Big Utol, who made evil tricks on the housemates while Big Brother was gone.
- During the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Pinoy Big Brother, Big Brother revealed himself behind a silhouetted booth and gave his heartwarming message for the viewers and the housemates.
- In Big Brother 11 (US), Chima Simone made several violations and even refused to follow Big Brother's commands when she was told to come to the Diary Room. It eventually led to the point where producer Allison Grodner speaking up to the loudspeaker to force Chima to come to the Diary Room, where she was expelled.
- On Day 48 of Big Brother 19 (UK), Big Brother began the day behaving uncharacteristically agitated, tired and annoyed. They would be very short with housemates, including telling Brooke Berry that "if you have something to say, Brooke, spit it out." Following an incident where Brooke, Sîan Hamshaw and Cian Carrigan were caught sleeping, two producers could be heard talking to each other, insulting the housemates for not being able to follow simple rules. One female voice could be heard saying, "do you think we should sod this off?", with a male voice agreeing. The Diary Room door was left open, and Big Brother would not respond to any housemates. Former housemates, Kim Woodburn, Josie Gibson, and Nikki Grahame then took over the responsibilities of Big Brother for the rest of the day. Kim Woodburn scolded housemates for being unhygienic and ordered them to clean. Later, Josie Gibson paired the housemates that knew each other the least and had them go on a 'date'. Finally, Nikki Grahame used this opportunity to enter the house and gossip with the housemates before leaving later that night. Big Brother returned upon Nikki's departure and resumed standard practice.
- Grant, Tamara (4 March 2020). ‘Big Brother’ Casting Director Robyn Kass Reveals the Man Behind the Show’s Iconic Voice (in English). cheatsheet.com.