Sixteen people have entered the Big Brother house as the ninth series of the reality TV show began last night.

The contestants are a typically eclectic bunch, including an albino deported from the US, a blind radio producer and a Girls Aloud reject.

They will spend the summer months competing for the Davina Mccall-fronted show's £100,000 top prize.

Real-life couple Mario Marconi and Lisa Appleton were the first to enter the house, later joined by Stephanie McMichael and Luke Marsden, with all four being booed as they bid goodbye to the outside world.

In the first task to be unveiled, Mario and Stephanie were told to pretend to be a couple, with Lisa and Luke joining them in being evicted if any of their fellow housemates discovered the truth.

Mario and Stephanie were also warned they would have to go along with an on-screen wedding, but, unbeknown to them, Davina assured viewers the ceremony would not be genuine.

Later the other 12 housemates traipsed into the house, including Hamleys worker Mohamed Mohamed, albino Darnell Swallow and Croydon socialite Alexandra De-Gale.

Blind radio producer/part-time comedian Mikey Hughes, dance teacher Dennis McHugh, trainee teacher Rachel Rice, nursery nurse Rebecca Shiner, chef Rex Newmark, model Jennifer Clark, masseuse Kathreya Kasisopa and students Dale Howard and Sylvia Barrie complete the roster.

The house - given a traditional annual revamp - includes a luxury bedroom equipped with double-bed, velvet cushions and a walk-in closet - it also features a dormitory-style room complete with short beds and uncomfortable blankets.

And the diary room has been moved under the house stairs to increase the sense of isolation when talking to Big Brother and the garden in the new house includes a 'jail' of sorts, with a small area barred off from the rest of the lawn.

06/06/2008 09:17:39