Emma Willis admits she was reluctant about hosting Big Brother ‘replacement’

Emma Willis has admitted that she was initially sceptical about hosting The Circle, which has been dubbed Channel 4's Big Brother's 'replacement'.

The reality TV show is returning for a second series this year but with Emma replacing Maya Jama and Alice Levine at the helm.

There will be another change to this year as the Friday episodes will be live for the first time, with Emma hosting the blocking.

While admitting that it felt like presenting the show felt like a "natural thing to do", she also said she was worried before watching that it was "glorifying everything wrong with social media".

The Circle is basically a game show where contestants are each placed into a flat by themselves and can only interact with one another using a social media-type chat called The Circle. Each person creates a profile and can either be themselves or pretend to be someone else. The aim of the game is to become the most popular person.

At the end of it, the most popular person can win up to £100,000.

"Before I'd watched it, I was like, 'This is glorifying what is wrong with social media, where anyone can be anyone. You don't know who you're talking to'," Emma explained. "But I hadn't watched it and that was just my opinion. Then I watched it and I thought 'This is a glowing beacon to teach people, do not trust who you're talking to online. Because you just don't know!'

"So I think it's a brilliant vehicle for education in the way that a game is showing you that you should be so wary of anything that you're doing online, who you're talking to. It's fascinating to see what people are going to do. How are they going to play it, who will be themselves?

"What I also loved about the first series was there was the game play element, there was the social interaction element, but then there were also the human stories. Like Genelle, she wanted to know what it was like to not just be seen as a mum. You know? Yes, she's a mum. That is a massive part of her life, but she's also herself.

"And Freddie wanted to know what it was like to be seen as a man rather than a gay man and have those tags assigned to you. I really loved that part of it last year as well. So I'm hoping there's more elements of that this year and people playing it for that reason."

Emma presented Big Brother while it was on Channel 5 from 2013 until 2018 and said that she thought of The Circle as similar to Big Brother in that it's like a social experiment for modern society.

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