The second series of Channel 4's
The Circle has arrived and with it a bunch of new contestants waiting to potentially catfish each other. Hosted by former Big Brother presenter Emma Willis this time round, the reality show offers the winner — in other words, the most popular person — a £100,000 prize. And the cast of 2019's The Circle is certainly a diverse bunch.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, here's how the show works. Contestants spend several weeks living in the same building but are only allowed to communicate via a social media platform called The Circle. Because they never see other, they are allowed to form any identity. Of course, some people choose to remain as themselves, but others form a completely fake persona in order to win.
Players that are voted the least popular are "blocked" and must leave the game. But before their final exit, they are allowed to meet one of the other players IRL. As with any reality show, there are plenty of twists. One of the big ones that has already been revealed is the presence of Richard Madeley who will be playing an individual decided by viewers.
Here's the lowdown on all of this year's contestants.
The most unexpected arrival to
The Circle has to be famed presenter Richard Madeley. The 63-year-old will be playing whichever persona the viewers decide via the show's app. Madeley told Channel 4 he has turned down several reality show offers in the past, but agreed to The Circle because he's fascinated by the idea of forming bonds with people you've never met in real life. He also hopes to spend the alone time working on his fourth novel.
24-year-old Brooke is a travel blogger and disclosure officer with the Home Office. She is planning to play as herself, but
won't be revealing her job to the other players. Her tactics involve flirting and sticking to the girl code. And she's not averse to a bit of romance if the opportunity arises.
Emelle, 31, is a lesbian model in real life. She is changing up her identity for the game, masquerading as a younger, straight woman in a bid
to show the effects of "straight privilege". She admitted to asking her straight friends for advice on flirting with men.
21-year-old Georgina works in the tailoring business. She is aiming to use her time on
The Circle to raise awareness of Crohn's disease, as she does on her real social media accounts. "If you have an invisible disability or if you have a bag like I did, you still have to grab life by the balls and take on every opportunity you can," she said in a statement, adding: "I also want to promote the idea that you shouldn't judge people and that you should give everyone a fair chance, not just class them as disabled so they can't do this, that, and the other."
Recruitment consultant James is swapping his identity for a single mother named Sammie. He believes this will elicit sympathy from the other players but, if he wins, aims to use the prize money to improve his mum's life and
open a refuge for women and children. "I want to make absolutely clear I'm not exploiting young, single mums at all," he told Channel 4. "I have nothing but respect for them, and the prize money will help people in this position if I win."
During his time in
The Circle, 35-year-old farmer Sy is sticking to the life he knows. He plans to remain completely honest with the other players and has chosen photos featuring his dogs and cows as proof. However, living in an urban environment could prove to be a challenge for a rural type.
Tanning salon owner Katie is taking some family inspiration, choosing to play the game as her 25-year-old son Jay. She told Channel 4 she didn't believe a married mum of four would get very far in
The Circle, but is hoping to use her time to help her son's love life.
58-year-old Tim has chosen to remain as himself — primarily because he thinks his real life isn't very believable. "I have
a ridiculously elaborate and ill-focused past — at one point, I was a goat herder," he said in a statement. He has also trod a political path and currently works as a university academic and animator. Oh, and he describes himself as a cross between Santa and Mrs Doubtfire. "I think I will be viewed as a catfish and that's great," he finished.
Woody is just 18 years old and works in a pub. He will also play himself in the game, but is leaving out one big snippet of his life: his parents. Why? Because they are none other than DJ Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and broadcaster Zoe Ball. He wants to experience what it's like to be known for yourself, rather than your parents, but said his mum and dad had given him lots of advice. Namely, "that what you say on TV is out there forever and
you can't unsay it, and that once you share too much you never unshare it." Catch The Circle every day (except Saturdays) on Channel 4 at 10 p.m.