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Big Brother Winners to be interviewed at Tees Valley International Film Festival

The reboot of Big Brother that begins on ITV next month has fans of the ground-breaking show watering at the mouth, but reality TV lovers in the North East are in for an even bigger treat as two “Godfathers of Reality TV” head to Arc in Stockton to talk about their time in the famous house.

Former Big Brother winners Anthony Hutton and Pete Bennett, statistically the most popular BB winners of all time, will take part in an honest and open onstage interview that will delve into their thoughts on being thrown into celebrity, how Big Brother revolutionised the British television landscape and how they had to rebuild their lives after their star power faded.

Anthony, winner of the 2005 season of the show and a passionate advocate of men’s mental health, is keen to share his experience of how hard the Big Brother comedown hit him and how he rebuilt himself as a successful barber and bar owner in Darlington.

He said, “Big Brother was the first of its kind, we were almost like guinea pigs. We had no form of media training after we came out, so the extreme taste of fame we received was an excellent experience, but it brought a bad hangover when it left. I hope my story of recovery from mental health troubles might do someone in the audience some good.”

Pete Bennett won the hearts of the nation in 2006 as he raised awareness for Tourette’s Syndrome and sparked a romance with fellow housemate Nikki Grahame, who sadly died in 2021 from anorexia. But winning £100k at the tender age of 24 didn’t lead to a boosted savings account.

He said, “It all went on bailiffs, the tax man and drugs. It was a crazy whirlwind, but the fame pushed me in a way I didn’t want to go. The work dried up pretty fast, no one would touch me with a barge pole because of the Big Brother stigma. I lost it all”.

The pair will be interviewed by former Good Morning Britain Presenter and current national Broadcast Journalist, Rachel Sweeney.

Rachel said, “The TVIFF has chosen to recognise reality television because of the weight the show held in influencing television production in the UK. We only have shows like Love Island now because of the impact Big Brother had on audiences. It forever changed the way we make and watch TV. Anthony and Pete had a fascinating experience and I plan to ask them absolutely everything – from time in the house to facing the tabloid press. It will be the ultimate night for Big Brother fans.”

The show is part of the Tees Valley International Film Festival, which takes place at Arc in Stockton from 25th to 28th October.

‘An Evening with Pete Bennett and Anthony Hutton – The Godfathers of Reality TV’ takes place on the opening night of the Tees Valley International Film Festival and is one of several celebrity events that make up the four-day celebration of film and TV.

Festival Director Michael Luke said, “The aim of TVIFF is to kickstart a new generation of actor, writer and filmmaker in the Tees Valley. Success in those fields invariably brings fame and who better to prep our future Tees Valley stars for fame but two people who experienced the height of celebrity and the dark side of fame in such a short space of time. So Pete and Anthony’s stories will be advisory to some, but fascinating to all.”

The festival will culminate with its headline event “An Evening with Robson Green” in which the North East acting favourite will be interviewed onstage at Arc by Middlesbrough’s Bill Fellows, who currently plays Stu Carpenter in Coronation Street.

Click here for tickets and more info on all TVIFF events:

Video Credit: Rachel Sweeney Media.


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