It's a staggering 20 years since Big Brother brought the world of reality TV crashing its way right into our front rooms - and telly hasn't been the same since.
With unforgettable shows like The Apprentice, X Factor and Love Island coming up behind it to make overnight stars of countless boys- and girls-next-door, the landscape of celebrity was transformed forever.
And at the heart of the UK's biggest ever reality shows, were some of our very own famous faces.
Here we catch up with four of our homegrown favourites to find out whether their spells in the spotlight were worth it in the end…
Belfast model Orlaith McAllister entered the Big Brother house in 2005, as part of the sixth series, which was most famous for its controversial hot tub scene between two of her housemates.
Now a mum-of-two and a newly-qualified personal trainer Orlaith has been living in Belfast since 2008.
"I look back now and think I'm so lucky to have been a contestant on a reality show that was on everyone's screens before social media took off," says the 41-year-old. "Now everyone's on Facebook and Instagram or Twitter, and it's like everyone's living their lives in this sort of reality TV world.
"Back then you had to go and get a newspaper the next day to find out what was going on with people - now it's all instant, so I feel lucky my experience was back when it was."
And with highlights of the show back on TV to mark the 20th anniversary of Big Brother, Orlaith has shared a couple of snippets with her children Eva (13) and 11-year-old Anthony.
But despite her experience in the Big Brother house, they didn't take her words of advice too seriously earlier this year when lockdown was imposed.
"As soon it all started, I sat the kids down to say, we'll get through this, it'll be tough, but when I was in Big Brother we didn't have anything to fill our days," she recalls. "I was saying you've got the internet, your mobile phones and all that sort of thing, and I was reassuring them that nothing lasts forever.
"But they were like, okay, we get it, you did Big Brother mummy, get over yourself. It's not the same thing. I was only being half serious - but they didn't take me seriously at all."
Famously friendly with her housemate Makosi, Orlaith remembers her as feisty and full of confidence. "She had this amazing personality," recalls the model, who was runner up to pal Zoe Salmon in Miss Northern Ireland in 1999. "She was just so feisty and I think I just looked at her in awe. I thought, 'how can you be so confident?'"
After walking from the house on day 69, Orlaith lived in London for around two years before moving back to Northern Ireland.
Since then the star has gone on to do everything from modelling and more reality TV to training as a florist and most recently qualifying as a personal trainer.
"Even after 15 years there's still that recognition for Big Brother," says Orlaith, who also has a degree in business studies from Ulster University. "It was a big part of my life but like with everything there are good points and bad points. I loved my colourful 20s but there are things I know now that I wish I'd known back then.
"For people heading out to be in a reality TV show now, invest in yourself and do what's right for you.
"Take every opportunity that's right and enjoy your life - and remember to be wise with your money because nothing lasts forever."
So would she do it all again? "Oh god, yes," laughs Orlaith.
Grainne McCoy has built such a phenomenal platform for herself here in Northern Ireland, it’s easy to forget she started off on The Apprentice.
The make-up artist and mum-of-one, who lives in Newry, made it to the semi-finals of the BBC show in 2016.
“I loved every minute of it,” says Grainne (34). “I really did. I always say I got on very well with Lord Sugar, even to the point that over the last two years I’ve gone back onto the show to be a mentor so I know he had a lot of time for me, also.
“I learned so much about myself through the experience. I gained a lot of confidence and realised I was able to do things I never thought could, like putting myself out there and speaking in public. Before that I’d barely be able to talk in front of more than two people.”
But the star, who is close to making her original proposal for the programme a reality with her very own store ‘Give Us Beauty’ expected to open next month in Newry and a new online cosmetics store with the same name already up and running, says her hopes for overnight fame and fortune weren’t quite on the money.
“I think before I went into it all I was pretty naïve,” says influencer Grainne. “I sort of thought to myself when I do this I’ll have loads of work and money, and all that jazz. But no way, sorry, reality check.
“That’s not the way it is at all. When I look back at 2016 and my credit rating, there were big red dots everywhere. People were saying to me, you’ve been on TV, you must be loaded, but honestly it’s taken me years and I’m only getting my credit rating back up now.
“Before I went onto The Apprentice I was a freelance make-up artist, and I was working all over the place. I missed two interviews for the show because of work commitments, so after that I was terrified to commit to anything else in case I wasn’t able to make it to the third.
“My whole career just stopped for months. I got a fee for the show, but I spent most of that on clothes because I had to look smart on TV, and I had to borrow money from my mum.”
But working tirelessly since her stint on the show ended, Grainne has built her brand up to be a huge success and says despite tough times on screen, she has no regrets.
“I was a bit intimidated by some of the other contestants at the start, and I was even a bit shy,” she says. “I think because some of them had these big educations, and I’d been pregnant when I was a teenager they just made me nervous. But little did they know the little country gal wasn’t going anywhere — and I didn’t.
“I stuck to my guns and I’m glad I did, because the show gave me a real confidence boost. By task 10 I was ready to leave, it was so hard and everyone was fighting their corner to get to the final and I just missed my family so much. But I stuck it out and I do think sometimes if I’m struggling a bit, well if I could do that, I can do anything.”
He finished in fourth place along with Katie Salmon in series 2 of Love Island, and since then Belfast’s Adam Maxted has been focusing on his wrestling career.
And while he didn’t find love with the help of the ITV2 show, he’s been in a relationship with fitness instructor Carly Taylor since they met on a night out in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, not long after his TV journey ended.
“I always knew wrestling was what I wanted to do, but doing the show definitely helped speed up the process,” says Adam.
“Before that I’d been working very much in Belfast and Dublin, but after Love Island there was a lot of interest and opportunity in England, so I was able to move over to Newcastle and do what I love full time.
“A lot of people go into reality TV and six months after the show has ended it seems like they’re wondering, okay, what now? I had fun on the show, but I think I was lucky in that there was a goal there in the first place. Being on the show ended up acting as a stepping stone for that.”
And with support from his family — mum Belinda and sister Evanna (21), as well as girlfriend Carly — Adam is determined to carry on pursuing his dreams of being signed by WWE, the world’s biggest wrestling company.
“I’m still known a lot for being on Love Island,” says Adam (28). “But I’m trying to be known as a wrestler. I’m hoping that before too long people will be saying to me, ‘You’re that guy who wrestles for WWE’, and the Love Island thing will be an afterthought.
“I have no regrets about it though, I’m happy I did it because it sped up my wrestling exposure and got my name out there. In many ways it still gives me a lot of motivation to go out and prove myself for what I am.
“I try to be positive. I didn’t go on Love Island because I wanted to be a celebrity. As long as I have enough money to get by, to go to the gym and do my wrestling, I’m happy.”
And after three people linked to the programme tragically took their own lives, including Sophie Gradon who appeared in series two along with Adam, the Belfast native says taking care of our mental health is crucial.
Love Island adjusted its aftercare process last year, with contestants given training on dealing with social media and settling into life back home.
“People can go on TV and have really high expectations about what it’s going to mean for their lives,” says Adam. “And while it does change things for a while, for most people it’s just 15 minutes of fame and then you’re not really that relevant.
“I could write a book about this stuff, especially now with the impact this lockdown has had on so many people, but it’s so important to focus on our minds and our own happiness.
“We have to accept who we are, and love ourselves first and foremost. Mental health is such a big thing, and I think realising that we’re all unique and just fine as we are — and I mean everyone, not just people on TV — is a really important thing to accept.”
He came third in ITV’s flagship talent show back in 2008, but Eoghan Quigg says he didn’t know just how huge a name X Factor had made him until he made it home with the show.
“I was 16 at the time and I was in a bit of a bubble over in London,” recalls the singer, who grew up in Dungiven. “I was over there loving life, not being in school and I probably wasn’t mature enough to realise at the time how big it was.
“Then the week of the final I was back to perform and it was absolutely crazy. I was singing in Guildhall Square in Derry and there was 20,000 people in the crowd. It was unbelievable and it started to kick in with me that the whole thing had got quite big.”
Mentored by none other than Simon Cowell, Eoghan, who now presents a show with Q Radio, says TV’s original Mr Nasty actually couldn’t have been nicer.
“Simon was the one you wanted to be involved with,” said Eoghan, who turns 28 later this month. “No disrespect to the others, but working with him was ideal and he was actually sound. He was a nice fella.”
And coming third in series five, Eoghan was good friends with some of the biggest stars to come out of the show — winner Alexandra Burke and the boyband JLS.
“I was pally with Alexandra and the boys in JLS,” says the musician, who moved back to Northern Ireland after two years in London. “We would have kept in touch, and I’ve seen them when they’ve been over here for things.”
After two years of touring from his main base in London, Eoghan moved back home at 18 — and has no regrets.
“I actually found it a very lonely place, and I didn’t think they were the friendliest bunch, to be honest,” he says. “I loved my time in many ways of course, it was exciting. I had a record deal and toured for nearly two whole years until I was turning 18 so I definitely don’t regret it because it was an incredible experience.
“But I’m a homebird too and I think I always had plans to get back home. For those couple of years, I was on this constant loop of being on stage, of travelling, of living out of a suitcase, and it wasn’t making me all that happy
“Now I’ve been back home a good while and I’m in a wedding band, the Housem8s, and I present for Q Radio. I get to work in music, which is what I always wanted to do, and I get to have a normal life. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”