A heavily tattooed glamour model, a former male escort and a woman who runs a "gold-digger" website were among the housemates who have begun a stint on TV's Big Brother - unaware that a professional actor has joined them in the house to create mayhem.
29-year-old Michael has told his housemates he is a postman from County Cork in Ireland, but he is really an actor recruited by the programme to "spin a web of secrets and lies".
The first part of the series launch came as police warned broadcaster Channel 5 over the risks of having a former police officer as a contestant. A newspaper claimed that a detective constable who worked on a high-profile case will be appearing on the show.
The Daily Star - which is owned by the same media mogul who owns Channel 5 - reported that the contestant played a key role on Operation Yewtree, the investigation into Jimmy Savile.
The former officer, who has not been identified, is expected to enter the Big Brother house on Friday. The launch of the show has been given a staggered start with a further selection of hopefuls to be added later. Other housemates to go into the house included a deaf footballer and identical teenage twins who work in a supermarket.
As ever, the show has attracted an array of wannabes. They include nude model and aspiring DJ Sallie Axl, a mum-of-one with a full sleeve tattoo who claims to have slept with 70 women. She also claims to have had liaisons with celebrities and footballers and was pictured with one of the stars of The Only Way Is Essex earlier this year.
Also taking part is Dexter Koh, who claims to have been a highly paid escort, strip club manager and magician, calling himself a "jack of all trades" and a "social chameleon". Jemima Slade owns a dating website, said to have 40,000 clients, which puts women in touch with wealthy men, and the 41-year-old says she likes to date toy boys.
Another contestant is Sam Evans, who was born with severe hearing loss and as a result has had difficulty with speaking clearly. He has represented national deaf football teams and has never had a girlfriend.
Stage musical-loving twins Jack and Joe Glenny have shared a bedroom for years and say of themselves: "We're funny, we're friendly and we're fat." Callum Knell, 28, a children's sports coach, who said he is worried that his housemates will be annoyed by his "very good looks", was the next person into the house.
Wolfy Millington, 20, a student who is a practising Shaman and Sophie Lawrence, 20, a dental nurse and black belt in karate, also took their places in the house. This series sees a new presenter Emma Willis taking over the show, with former X Factor contestant Rylan Clark now co-hosting the spin-off show Big Brother's Bit On The Side.