With the return of Big Brother after a more than five-year break from our screens, fans across the North East and UK have said they will be applying.

Thousands are set to apply for the chance to be on the iconic show when it returns to its brand new home on ITV2 next year.

The details of who can apply - and when are among those which have not yet been revealed by ITV show bosses after the deal was agreed this week.

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But speaking to The Northern Echo, Darlington's Big Brother winner Anthony Hutton issued sound advice to anyone thinking of going in.

The Northern Echo: Picture: CHANNEL 4Picture: CHANNEL 4

He said: "The advice I would give would be firstly, go in there and enjoy it and go in and have fun. They are the main things that I had in my head when I was going in.

"People will feel different things. For me, there was a lot of adrenaline and excitement walking into the house - I was such a huge fan and to get on it I was like 'wow, I can't believe it,' going into this iconic, nostalgic house."

Anthony, originally from Consett in County Durham but lives in Darlington and runs Mr Hutton's Barbers & Bar - and now a barbering academy, rose to fame back in 2005.

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Surviving a rollercoaster 78 days in the house, he won the sixth series after stealing the nation's heart with his cheeky and loveable personality.

Adding to his message, he warned of the impact appearing on Big Brother can have on mental health and urged people to be mentally prepared. 

He said: “Make sure you are in the right place (mentally), and take into consideration that there will be elements of negativity.

The Northern Echo: Picture: JIM SCOTTPicture: JIM SCOTT

“You’re putting yourself out there, you’re going to get exposed. Especially with the first one coming back to ITV, there’s going to be a lot of eyes on it."

Following ITV's announcement, Anthony has been among a string of ex-housemates urging show bosses to go back to basics, saying he would prefer a "diverse" mix of contestants.

Read more: Big Brother's Anthony Hutton to open an ‘academy’ in Darlington

Speaking on This Morning on Tuesday, he said: "It's such a nostalgic show, if it's done right, I want them to make it diverse with characters, I was over the moon it's coming back."

He went on to say: "You don't want loads of almost-famous people like they've got loads of Instagram followers, I want Frank from Wigan who's middle-aged, he's not in the best shape, get a real diverse people in."

Speaking to The Echo last night, Anthony revealed whom he wanted to present the new series on ITV2.

He said: "For me, personally I would just like them to get that nostalgia back, I would love Davina to come back.

“I would like them to almost recreate the Channel 4 days. Not making it heavily produced, having situations happen organically. Things will happen.”

He had last night called on show bosses to bring Teessider Marcus Bentley, who had narrated the show since it began on Channel 4 in 2000.

It is believed the show will make a return for summer 2023, bringing it more in line with previous series' when it aired on Channel 4.

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