Knowing what the Big Brother house smells like, touching the towels that the contestants will use, spending time with the celebrities who for a few months (or weeks if they’re unlucky) will show their shame in prime time or putting your hand in the jacuzzi that so many television moments in edition after edition. It is the dream of any fan of the ‘king of reality shows’ and EL MUNDO has been able to live the experience. Big Brother VIP has returned to the television grid, becoming Mediaset’s big bet for the season after a four-year hiatus, and minutes before it opens its doors we visit the most media house on TV and the ins and outs that go on behind it.

As soon as we enter we face one of the most enigmatic voices on television: that of the famous Super. This is Floren Abad, who in addition to being the voice of conscience of the program, is the executive producer of the format. He is one of those in charge of giving us the guided tour of this 750 square meter mansion located in Guadalix de la Sierra. “We have changed the distribution for this return. The structure has nothing to do with it,” he says. This year, as a novelty, they have simulated several elevators that will act as a time machine. “It’s our DeLorean, you can go to different times, different moments in your life,” he adds.

There is barely half an hour left until the premiere of the program and a woman is quickly scrubbing the living room floor. It smells like a mix between new and freshly painted and some guys put the finishing touches on the construction here and there. The living room does not lack detail. In front of the sofa (which is harder than it seems) the program’s logo already appears on a huge screen. Far from looking like an ‘Ikea ​​house’, the personality of the chosen furniture is striking, and a striking open kitchen in fuchsia, blue and yellow tones is the main protagonist. They don’t let us relax much or take photos, but I manage to open one of the cabinets, in which I find a brand new blender perfectly placed.

On the counter there is fresh prepared fruit that shines so much that it looks like plastic – but it is not -, a teapot and several reusable water bottles. Agus Cantero, Image Director of Banijay Iberia, explains that this year they have reduced the use of plastic and have opted for recycled elements. The tables in the living room, for example, are made with materials from recycled washing machines.

They don’t want the house to look like a set, so they have designed it with construction materials – in other words, the walls are not made of papier-mâché – and they have filled it with details that will not appear on camera but that are designed to make the house look like a set. the contestants feel at home. Plants in inaccessible corners, spray air fresheners distributed throughout the rooms, a fully equipped gym with weights of all kinds or bathrobes with the program logo embroidered hidden in a closet. In addition, the contestants will enjoy two large gardens, one of them with the now legendary jacuzzi -and yes, the water is hot-. “Whenever there is a mirror, there is a camera,” recalls Cantero.

It is to look up at that moment and see mirrors in all the rooms, but so well integrated that it is not strange. In total, there are 140 microphones and 64 cameras pending on the contestants at all times: 56 of them robotic and eight studio cameras that are hidden behind the mirrors. Robotic cameras are where you least expect them. Integrated into a shelf next to various decorative figures, in the hallway, on the kitchen counter, above the dressing table or in the corners of the bedrooms. It is striking that they are located especially low, at approximately 1.50 meters high.

“I want to escape from the surveillance camera. Big Brother is about telling stories and I like to do it from the point of view that we all have: making low angle shots, showing the ceilings…”, says Marta Fernández de Bobadilla, director of production. of the program. As she explains, the contestant forgets that there are cameras on the second day of being in the house. “At first you see him looking at them, but then you see everything you think… don’t they know we’re recording them? It’s amazing,” she remembers. To do this, she herself is responsible for indicating well in advance where she wants each camera to go so that, when building the house, they integrate them as best as possible into the space.

There are only two places where privacy is assured: the toilet and the shower. In a rectangular cubicle with its own door (which the cameras do not pass through) we see a small shower tray with a glass screen. There is a neon orange terry mat placed right in front, waiting for the first celebrity who wants to shower – or get away from the spotlight for a while. The showers are inside the vanity, where several electric blue towels wait perfectly placed.

In the bedrooms, which stand out for their huge windows to bring in natural light, the beds are ready for the confidences and adventures of their guests. I’m looking forward to sitting on them to see if they are comfortable, and also to visit the confessional. Since there are only a few minutes left for the contestants to enter and everything is already prepared for them, they won’t let us.

But in Guadalix de la Sierra there is not only the Big Brother house. Around it is a network of warehouses converted into offices for the program’s editors (which even have a dining room) and huge warehouses used to store sets or material used for testing the program. All of this preceded by a parking lot in which employees’ cars are interspersed, a huge white limousine that transports the contestants and an ambulance to be used in case of emergency. In total, 180 people work in the house, divided into shifts to keep an eye on the contestants 24 hours a day.

Around the house, there are dozens of corridors full of cables through which cameras and editors go from here to there in the dark during the recording of the program. The nerves are palpable in the environment. “Sometimes, during the program, things that were planned fall apart or something very interesting happens and you stay there and ignore something else, but this is the entrance gala, there are no established plots, so everything is very staggered” , says the production manager. After 20 years working on ‘the all-seeing eye’, for her the program is “like a son.”

It may seem that the most complicated part of her job is keeping an eye on the six dozen cameras spread around the house and choosing which of them the most interesting thing is happening, but the worst thing is identifying the voices. “Although they are well-known people, there are so many that you say… who has spoken now? Especially the first week,” she explains. What surprises her most, edition after edition, is “the lack of modesty” of the contestants, who on the second day are “like at home.” “At the gala they suddenly get ready as if they were going to appear on television for the first time and you say… but we just saw you when you got up,” she remembers with a laugh.

To make the experience complete, far from being a mere editor who has come to write these lines, we are invited to appear on the screen. Along with other journalists, I occupy the first row behind the red carpet located in front of the entrance door of the GH house and I see some of the contestants pass through it, such as Pedro García Aguado, Carmen Alcayde or Jessica Bueno. Between commercial breaks, Marta Flich (the new presenter of the space) welcomes them live on a giant screen located in front of them.

Every time a limousine arrives occupied by a famous person, Raúl, manager of the program, asks us to cheer and applaud both us and the dozen extras who are behind, pretending to be an audience gathered at the doors of the house. “The person who is going to get out now is very famous,” he advances shortly before an excited Karina gets out of the limousine. And so we spent a good part of the night discovering some of the best kept secrets hidden behind the king of reality shows.