The Big Brother phenomenon showed no signs of slowing down yesterday after the Dutch maker of the reality TV show said the UK was its strongest market last year.
Viewers were glued to their television screens by the antics of Makosi and eventual winner Anthony Hutton during the sixth series of the programme on Channel 4, contributing to an 18.4 per cent growth in UK revenues for Endemol.
It enabled the UK to pull clear of the Netherlands as the top earner for Endemol in terms of turnover, totalling 173 million euros (£118 million) during 2005.
Endemol posted a 5.8 per cent jump in group revenues to 900.1 million euros (£613.8 million) and a 15.4 per cent increase in earnings to 152.8 million euros (£104.2 million) in its maiden set of results since listing on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange in November.
Bosses described the UK performance as "remarkable" and revealed that Channel 4 has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal for Big Brother. The company added that ratings for the celebrity version of the show this year, featuring comedian Michael Barrymore and politician George Galloway, were excellent.
Big Brother consolidated its position as the top format of Endemol and it is now produced in 22 countries - nearly double the number at the end of 2004.
In Germany, the show was on air for an entire year to set a new world record for the longestrunning live show.
Endemol said its success in the UK also reflected sports reality shows such as The Match and The Games, which featured celebrities such as Kirsty Gallacher competing in weight-lifting and other sports. ..SUPL: