Craig Phillips has gone from Big Brother to working dad

Craig Phillips won the first series of Big Brother 20 years ago so he was one of the few people in the country unfazed by lockdown!


If any working dad was well placed to deal with lockdown it was Craig Phillips.

He won the inaugural series of Big Brother 20 years ago and became one of the first reality TV stars. His confrontation with fellow contestant ‘Nasty Nick’ remains one of the TV moments of the century and made Big Brother must watch TV for years to come. And he won the nation’s admiration when he immediately donated his £70,000 winnings to a family friend who needed a heart and lung transplant.

Craig has a new role these days as dad to toddler Nelly. As lockdown kicked in he revealed he’s to be a father again later this year with wife Laura.

He is still involved in both the construction industry and doing TV work.

He told us about his experience of lockdown as a working dad and why he’ll be taking plenty of paternity leave when his next child arrives.

How was your lockdown?

We have been fortunate as it hasn’t been as bad as many people have suffered. Yes, we had a lot of work cancelled and postponed like most people so we took that advantage of being at home and off work for family time and also to finish off our own house which we built a couple of years ago.

Was lockdown easier given your Big Brother experience?

Yes! It certainly felt like my experience locked down in the Big Brother house for 64 days with no windows, no opening doors and a false garden with high walls and cameras and floodlights surrounding it (it felt like prison). And that was with 10 people I wouldn’t choose to be with and we had to do daily tasks to earn basic allowance to feed ourselves. So I could safely say I was conditioned for lockdown!

Did it feel strange that the 20 year anniversary of your Big Brother win coincided with the nation having a similar experience to Big Brother by going into lockdown?

Yes, it was a bizarre coincidence. I do try to pick a positive out of a negative. After my life being so hectic 20 years since Big Brother the national lockdown gave me time to reflect on my overall experience of my time in Big Brother and for what followed afterwards.

Do you think the construction industry is good for dads who want to spend time with their family?

No, it’s quite a physically demanding job which often takes up long hours and long travel in most cases.

You’re still fairly new to fatherhood, how have you found becoming a dad?

Nelly is 17 months old now, so I am fairly new still to it all! Although I have learnt a lot over the last 17 months, it’s definitely the hardest yet most rewarding job I have ever done! It’s certainly a game changer becoming a father, hard to describe in words how it changes you but all of a sudden there was a shift of responsibility and priorities where everything you do in life is revolved around Nelly, the family and the future.

How did lockdown impact you as a dad?

Definitely gave me more of an urge to protect Nelly. We as a family made a conscious decision the day after Nelly’s 1st birthday that we would close our doors and lockdown. We spent this period having some quality time together and just enjoying being a family at home with daily walks and time spent in the garden.

How do you manage life as a working dad?

We purposely built the house with a home studio and office knowing that my media work and property is important and demanding. By designing around my lifestyle it makes it easier to get a healthy work life balance. Working from home I can be more selective with my time and it allows me to help Laura and always be around in the evening for bath time!

Will you be taking shared parental leave or extended paternity leave for your second child?

Working for myself I don’t get any parental leave, it is just a case of working round the family and work commitments. With Laura due for our second child on the 28th November I will aim to take off December and January.


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