:: Brian Interview
In 2001, Irish air steward Brian Dowling walked away as winner of Big Brother 2. Last year, he was voted most popular housemate - ever in a Channel Four poll, but, is Brian still living the dream?
Having won Big Big Brother, Brian "dissapeard" from our screens before re-emerging as the first, openly gay kids presenter on British television. "When I left the show (Big Brother), it wasn't about being a celebrity for me. I turned down magazine deals and the going out bit. I signed up to Blaze Television to train as a TV presenter for five months, and then I landed SM:TV." It was only now that Brian began going out to the showbiz parties, and Brian says he only got accepted on the celebrity circuit once he became a TV personality in his own right. "When I started on SM:TV I kind of met people through Tess (Daley), and she was already established so it was easier for me. It was through her going out with Vernon (Kay) that I got to know quite a few people, and also doing a show like that you get to see familiar faces and become friends with them. Initially though, i was shitting myself".
Since SM:TV, Brian has hosted a whole range of shows, from The Good Soap Guide to The Salon. "The Highlight for me so far has been having my own series, Brian's Boyfriends on ITV1, and SM:TV. Working with Tess Daley and winning a Bafta for best kid's show was amazing. I've been very lucky coming from reality TV and still being here and being liked is quite an acheivement. The slot on Radio 1 with Vernon came about after I went on to discuss Big Brother and they got loads of emails saying bring me back, so I'm now there every week doing the entertainment slot, Brian's World".
BRIAN ON... BIG BROTHER
Having been voted Big Brother's Most Popular Housemate....Ever last year, Brian accepted a lucrative magazine deal to write a regular commentry of the series. Brian's not sure if that's something he'll do again, as he feels that the show has changed. I was interested to hear Brian's opinion on more recent housemates, like Chantelle. "When the show was done years ago, I think people took it more seriously. Now people go on it just to become glamour models or to become glamour models and to go to China Whites. Back in the day it wasn't about that. My reasons for going on the show had nothing to do with fame. I got an application form for the first series and I was in a relationship at the time and was told I couldn't do it, and then my parents said no. I saw the first series and at the time I was single, so I filled out an application form for series two on valentines day, and the rest is history".
Brian's modest about his popularity though, "I do believe that I could only have done well in the series I was in and I could only have won the series I was in. I couldn't have been on any other year, it wouldn't have worked at all. When they told me I was number one housemate of all timea I was ecstatic over it. Big Brother was such an amazing part of my life, that I wanted to be number one, and I would've been gutted if I wasn't. It's cool to think people still think of me as the original housemate."
He goes on, "I don't think a lot of the winners have done as well as they could. They always say there's a star and there's a winner and I don't think you have to win to be successful. I watched Celebrity Big Brother, but I don't know Chantelle. I gave her some advice, and said don't take it so seriously and put your eggs in onc basket. It might work for her, it might not, so she needs to just enjoy it".
BRIAN ON... ACTING
Brian has been closely linked with Coronation Street actor, Anthony Cotton. "We've never been anything more than just mates - we're like two sisters". Would he consider acting himself? "I have considered acting, but i've never done more than the sketches on SM:TV. I think that actors are actors and presenters are presenters and you shouldn't pretend you're anything different. I was offered a walk on part in Footballer's Wives, playing myself which was a bit random, but I was too busy to do it. I would LOVE a role in Coronation Street but I don't know if Anthony could handle me trying to steal the scenes. Maybe I could have a fight with him or something? "
BRIAN ON... RELATIONSHIPS
Although he's been linked with all manner of people, Brian feels he's been lucky in love. "I think you've got to go with your gut instincts with relationships, and I think I'm a good judge of character. I was an air steward for four years you know. I've never had any kiss and tells because i'm a good boy and I behave very very well. My current relationship is going swimmingly well, it's amazing. He's a dancer so he's kind of in the industry, but i've always kept my private life private so I don't advertise it that much". Any plans to marry? " I don't have plans to get married, we don't even live together. I'm much too young; I'm only 27. This is not for life, it's just something that works right now - I am very independent, although I think I would like a kid eventually. I am the godfather to Narinder's baby and I take the job very seriously. I'm very hands on, I wipe up all the poo and all that. I'm like a cross between Bree from Desperate Housewives and Monica from Friends... a domestic goddess!".
"If I wasn't single, my ideal date would be someone with an amazing personality, looks aren't everything so they have to be charming. Nice eyes, nice teeth and a non-smoker. First date would be to go to dinner and then maybe a second date in the second week, take it all nice and slow and romantic. I'm happy at the moment though".
BRIAN ON... THE MIDLANDS
"I've been out with Narinder to a Bangra night in Leicester and she took me to some gay bars too - i've been once and that's saying enough. I've also been to Newcastle is that in the Midlands?" Erm no, Brian, think Nottingham...Derby...Birmingham... "Oh Birmingham! I did a couple of things at the Nightingale, one with Anthony and one with Nadia and it was really good, we got really drunk. I do tend to stick to Soho though".
BRIAN ON... THE FUTURE
At the moment, you can catch him on the latest interactive game show, The Mint. "The Mint is live, 7 nights a week", says Brian. "It's on ITV1 and it's an entertainment-interactive show with studio contestants. The first hour will be celebrity chat with a guest, and then they'll be prizes for studio guests and the last hour or two hours we'll set competitions for viewers at home to win loads of cash. It wont be heavily scripted, and I can be myself so that's quite good"
"I did three or four series of I'm Famous and I'm Frightened which was really good but they've got a new controller of Entertainment now, so I don't know what will happen to be honest. I'm doing the first three months of The Mint, so we'll see how that goes and ideally I'd love to get a dating show - I loved Streetmate so that would be my ideal show". I suggested to Brian that maybe he could use part of his Radio 1 slot as a dating feature. "What Me, myself date loads of men?! Oh yeah, it could be called Brian's a Skank - date me!. I'll tell Vernon we are going to do a dating slot on the radio then!
"THE MINT" RUNS ON ITV1 UNTIL SEPTEMBER.
BRIAN CAN BE HEARD ON VERNON KAY'S RADIO 1 SHOW EVERY SATURDAY BETWEEN 10:00AM - 13:00PM.