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FIRST LOOK The Circle 2019: Meet the Players

This year's starting players range from 18-58 and include a University academic, a fourth-generation farmer and the son of two very famous British celebrities.


It's the most exciting new reality TV format in a long time and as The Circle returns with what promises to be a bigger and better series, it's time to meet the starting players and find out how they'll be playing the game.


Now hosted by Emma Willis, The Circle will run for an extended three-and-a-half weeks and viewers are going to be given more control via the official app, especially during the new live Friday night shows - The Circle: Vote Night - which will see Emma joined by celebrity guests and the latest blocked players.


If you didn't watch the first series, each player lives in a separate flat in the same apartment block and can only communicate with each other through a voice activated social media platform called The Circle.


Players can be whoever they want. They can change their identity entirely, or simply be themselves. And because the players can't see each or hear other, there is plenty of opportunity for gameplay. Across the series the least popular player will be 'blocked' meaning they have to leave the game and miss out on the prize fund of up to £100k.


The series launches with a live show on Tuesday (9.15pm) and continues nightly at 10pm except for Saturdays with comedian Sophie Willan once again providing the voiceover for the series.



Brooke

24, Disclosure Officer, Buckinghamshire

Single and playing as herself


Brooke is a globetrotter with a sense of adventure and describes herself as "a lady on a mission". Regularly documenting her holidays on YouTube, Brooke is "fed-up of guys inboxing her" and fears romance is dead for her generation and hopes to be proved wrong in The Circle.


As a travel blogger, Brooke wants to visit 25 countries before she's 25 and only has one country left and will use the £100k prize fund if she wins, on seeing more of the word. On how she'll try to win, Brooke will use "a combination of girl code and flirting" with pictures of her looking glam, but also pictures of her graduation to show she has brains as well as beauty.


Not afraid to speak her mind, Brooke admits she's going to be "very tactical" with it. On why she wanted to take part in The Circle she said "It's a popularity contest and I don't struggle with being popular in real life. People get the wrong perception of me on social media when they see me in exotic locations and travelling so much so I thought this would be a nice way of showing who I really am instead of what they see on Instagram or whatever. The cash prize would be a nice cherry on top!"



Emelle

31, Model, Manchester

Single and playing as herself but changing her age and sexuality


"Confident, single lesbian" Emelle has chosen to play The Circle as a younger, straight girl believing that straight privilege is prevalent in society and getting ahead in the game will be "easier as a young straight woman".


Before going into The Circle, she asked all her straight friends for tips on how to flirt with men. Young at heart, Emelle doesn't think she needs to do much research into cultural references - "I'm not changing my personality, just my sexuality and my age. I'm going to use my own pictures."


Discussing why she's choosing to keep her sexuality a secret, she said "Some people can be quite judgey over being gay. You get a lot of homophobic people. Girls can sometimes be a little bit funny about getting close in case you might fancy them. I've had girls before saying that they'd feel really uncomfortable if they knew that a lesbian was in the same changing room with them because it would be like having a man there and they'd feel like they were being perved on."


Going on to say "Girls can be a little bit like weird like that, I don't want any girls feeling uncomfortable. If I'm trying to comfort them, I don't want them to feel like that's me trying to get with them. I like female empowerment. I like girls to feel good. I'm always giving girls compliments on social media. But it is difficult when they know that you're gay, you don't want them to get the wrong idea."



Georgina

21, Works in the tailoring industry, Nottingham

Single and playing as herself


"Funny and down to earth", Georgina wants to play the game as her "authentic self" revealing how she's very open on social media about living with Crohn’s disease, posting photos of her herself in swimwear when she had an ileostomy bag to show that life goes on.


She plans to play as a “full on sleuth” with mind maps and note taking to suss out the catfish. Using her everyday photos along with some hot ones too, she also plans to show off photos from when she had her ileostomy bag to open up conversations.


On why she wanted to go on The Circle, she revealed how she "wanted to go on series one, but I had just had surgery. This year I am up for it – life’s too short and I want to try every experience." and sees it as a way to "make some new friends".


The thing she dislikes the most about social media is people's fakeness - "People pretending to be nice to someone they really don't like in real life, or people putting out a completely unfair image that people should look this way, or not this way."


And on why she's playing as herself, Georgina admits "I worry that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the experience as much if I was constantly trying to channel somebody else. And if it was to go wrong and I got voted out, I'd be disappointed because I'd feel like I hadn't been true to myself. If I'm true to myself then I can enjoy it for what it is."



James

26, Recruitment Consultant, Liverpool

In a relationship and playing as a single mother called "Sammie"


Hoping that his skills of communication will help him get ahead in The Circle, James will be catfishing as a young single mum with a baby "to gain sympathy from other players" and believes Sammie’s persona "will pull on the heart strings of his fellow players" and enable him to get a fast pass into the final.


But he believes he's doing it for the right reasons as winning the show will give him the opportunity to change his family’s life for the better, admitting that his priority in life is "to make sure his family never go without."


He’s seen how tough it can be for single mothers having been brought up in a single parent household himself and he has huge respect for his mum as a result. If he were to win the show, he'd use the £100k prize fund to help open a refuge for women and children.


On how he'll play the game, James revealed that “Sammie” will "let other players know just how life-changing winning The Circle would be for her and her son" and hasn't ruled out turning players against each other if he has to. When asked how far he will go he said "It's really a question of how far I wouldn't go. £100,000 is a lot of money, it is life changing, to be honest, and I'm going to cause an absolute racket along the way."



Katie

43, Owner of a Tanning salon, Fleet, Hampshire

Married and playing as her 25-year-old-son Jay


Playing as her 25-year-old son, Katie describes him as "her best mate" and knows him inside out which should make her time on The Circle easier. In the real world, she is married with four children and owns a tanning and beauty salon which she has run for 14 years. A lover of social media, Katie has used it to help grow her business.


On why she didn't enter as herself, she believes that playing as "a married mum of 4" would not allow her to progress far in the competition as her fellow players might write her off as “an old bird”.


When choosing which photos to use, Katie went for "photos [which] represent Jay as a young, handsome, kind- looking guy" and has no issues with flirting with other females to become popular. In fact, she hopes she might be able to seek her son out a girlfriend and future daughter-in-law, admitting that Jay is "useless when it comes to chatting women up and securing a girlfriend".


Hoping to become "the alpha male in the game" she knows how important it is to initiate "Lad chat" and will be taking in a glossary of “young people’s slang” to help her fit in.



Sy

35, Farmer, Somerset

Single and playing as himself


Fourth-generation farmer Sy loves the countryside and describes himself as "confident, loud and cheeky" and will be playing as himself using photographs of him on the farm. Noticing the hints his father is dropping about him settling down and having children, Sy admits that he'd love to meet the right woman who’d be happy to chuck on some boots and help pull a calf out.


Seeing The Circle as the perfect opportunity to meet new people, he has never lived on his one in an urban environment before and would use the £100k prize fund to buy himself a prize bull. He plans on being totally honest with his fellow players and is keen to educate the other players on the realities of farming and country life – something he feels not many people will have knowledge of.


Admitting to being catfished in the past, Sy revealed "I chatted to someone on a dating site and it turned out to be someone the polar opposite of what they led me to believe. We talked for maybe a week. It was annoying. It put me off online dating sites for a while."



Tim

58, University academic and animator, Rugby

In a relationship and playing as himself


Describing himself as "a cross between Santa and Mrs Doubtfire" Tim has lived a colourful life. He was a monk until being kicked out of the monastery when he was offered a place at Oxford University. He's also been a theatre designer, theatre director and a teacher in Greece - at the same time as herding 100 goats for his second job.


In 2015 he resigned from UKIP after the party became embroiled in a racism row and explains his reasons for joining the party in the first place "was to expose them" - admitting that he voted Remain in the EU referendum.


Although he's active on social media, Tim doesn’t really know how to navigate it and is hoping The Circle will change this. He wants to be educated on youth culture and wants to be inspired by young people who he can learn from.


Talking about his strategy, Tim said he "wants to be the player everyone comes to confide in and asks for advice" and says his colourful blazers and dickie bows ties might make others think he's a catfish.


When asked what he would do with the prize money if he were to win, he said "I have absolutely no idea. My partner has got a very good plan. He's looking at houses. If I were to win the money it would be out of my hands very quickly!"



Woody

18, Works in a pub, Brighton

Dating and playing as himself but not revealing his famous parents


Famous parents you say? Yes that's right, he's is the son of broadcaster Zoe Ball and DJ/Record Producer Norman Cooke. Described as "a typical 18-year-old" Woody loves music, festivals and reading and is going in to The Circle for "an amazing experience".


Not wishing to be pre-judged or seen to be living in his parents' shadow, Woody will be keeping who his parents are a secret. He wants to enter The Circle and experience life without the baggage of being “Fatboy Slim’s son” or “Zoe Ball’s kid”.


His strategy is to be himself - "a likeable warm, friendly guy" and he hopes that by befriending everyone in The Circle he’ll become the most popular.


When asked how far he will go to win, he said "I'll never stop being myself because at the end of the day, I'm Woody and I don't want to be anyone else. I won't backstab anyone but I would like to win." Revealing the advice his parents gave him, he said "They said 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."



And as a special treat for scrolling all the way down, here's a look inside the apartments...


The Circle launches Tuesday at 9.15pm on Channel 4

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