The Circle: Emma Willis spills show secrets ahead of launch


Emma Willis hosts the live launch of The Circle on Channel 4 tonight.

It’s the second series of the social media based reality TV show and Emma has been teasing what we can expect.

For Series 2, the prize fund has been upped to £100,000 as contestants compete to be the most popular – without ever meeting one another.

Instead, they communicate only via a special social media platform called The Circle where they can be whoever they want.

“The way they will win that is either by being themselves or by pretending to be someone else who they think would be the most popular person in the Circle,” Emma says.

“The Circle is not a circle. It’s a block of flats, and they all live on their own and they never meet until the end of the game,” she explains. “But one of my favourite parts of the show is when a player has been blocked, meaning they’re not very popular. They can get to go knock on the door of one other person that’s in the circle to find out if it’s really them or not….

“Those moments are crazy but it’s also so lovely to see when they come face to face with who they think they’ve been talking to and it is genuinely them, they’re so happy that they haven’t been lied to and they have had a real connection. Those moments are really, really good.”

Emma confessed she had initially been dubious about the show.

“Before I’d watched it, I was like, ‘This is glorifying what is wrong with social media, where anyone can be anyone. You don’t know who you’re talking t’,” she admitted. “But I hadn’t watched it and that was just my opinion. Then I watched it and I thought ‘This is a glowing beacon to teach people, do not trust who you’re talking to online. Because you just don’t know!’

“So I think it’s a brilliant vehicle for education in the way that a game is showing you that you should be so wary of anything that you’re doing online, who you’re talking to. It’s fascinating to see what people are going to do. How are they going to play it, who will be themselves?

“What I also loved about the first series was there was the game play element, there was the social interaction element, but then there were also the human stories. Like Genelle, she wanted to know what it was like to not just be seen as a mum. You know? Yes, she’s a mum. That is a massive part of her life, but she’s also herself.

“And Freddie wanted to know what it was like to be seen as a man rather than a gay man and have those tags assigned to you. I really loved that part of it last year as well. So I’m hoping there’s more elements of that this year and people playing it for that reason.”

Emma also touched upon the comparisons to Big Brother, which she used to host on Channel 5.

“I know there’s this kind suggestion it is just a replacement for Big Brother for me but I view it quite differently,” Emma said. “The thing with Big Brother is that for me, I always viewed it with the purist mentality, it was a social experiment. That is always how I watched Big Brother. But this, I very much watch it as a game.

“I hated Big Brother being compared to a game but this is clearly a game with the interaction of people, how they’ll react in certain scenarios and then seeing who is going to be themselves and who is going to play it to try and be the most popular and win that money.”

The Circle launches live on Channel 4, Tuesday at 9:15pm