Former Arsenal and England footballer Ian Wright has taken over as the celebrity hijacker in Big Brother.

The one-time record goalscorer at the Gunners has succeeded comedian Matt Lucas as the caretaker Big Brother as the new series gets up and running.

Show bosses are hoping the BBC pundit's notorious sense of humour will help boost flagging audience figures, after the show saw half of its viewers desert after the launch show.

Writing in his online blog for the show's website, the 44-year-old said he was "not one of those who acts too cool to watch Big Brother".

"I'm not going to be a mean hijacker, I am going to deal with them as I would deal with that sort of age group if I met them on the street. I will speak to them nicely and ask them to do stuff," he wrote.

As his first job today, Wright set the housemates a task designed to test how they coped with "sensory deprivation".

He arranged the contestants into pairs and asked them to take part in two tests of the senses.

The first involved preventing one of the pair from hearing while the other had to respond to sound effects and the second saw the housemates take penalties while wearing goggles which affected their vision.

Celebrity Hijack sees a range of talented individuals fill the house with various celebrities making the rules and setting the challenges.

05/01/2008 17:36:11