Forward Vision CCTV Ltd from Hartley Wintney was commissioned to design the special cameras for the first series of Big Brother and has continued to supply them throughout the series.

The company also provided popular Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall programme The Salon with special weather modifying cameras.

"We designed and made the cameras ourselves," said company director Martin Willis. "They bought a total of 30 cameras for their show, and we installed them at the first Big Brother house.

"It is a bit of a departure from what we usually do, but this is the kind of special project we had been hoping to get involved in."

Known in the industry as a ‘Metal Mickey', the cameras look like mini robots and can be switched from colour to infrared vision so that viewers can watch 24 hours a day.

Small built-in modules are also hidden in the ceiling to ensure there is no escape from the ever watchful eyes of Big Brother.

"I'm not really a fan of the show," said Mr Willis. "I watch it to see my cameras on the TV.

If you look hard enough you can see them all over the house and garden, and they sometimes put a shot of the cameras in between the scenes.

"When we went to the first house, it was considerably smaller than you would think it is from watching the TV.

"The real crews are all behind the walls and two-way mirrors."

The cameras outside are more standard CCTV cameras, with the inside ones adapted to be more inconspicuous and with finer features.

"The programme does seem to be very popular," added Mr Willis. "This seems to be the kind of thing that people want, and the contestants like the publicity.

"This is the first time that we have been involved in the broadcast industry and things have been going really well."