THE CIRCLE: INTERVIEW WITH BILLY (MEET THE PLAYERS)

The nation's most famous block of flats welcomes its latest set of residents. A £100k prize is at stake in an unpredictable game of popularity. The players will be living just metres apart, but they can't see or hear each other. Instead they communicate via a voice-activated platform called The Circle.


NAME: Billy

AGE: 19

OCCUPATION: Sports Marketing Manager

FROM: Essex

PLAYING AS: Himself


What is your MOTIVATION FOR ENTERING THE CIRCLE? What is it about the game that made you want to apply?

The prize money! I do also like the game – The Circle is different to everything else, it’s very unique so I thought, why not?

Have you watched the show before and did that give you any tips on how to play the game?

Yeah, I did. I must admit, I missed series one when it was on but then I watched series two and then went back and watched series one in a couple of days, it’s addictive! It’ll be even more addictive when I’m on it!

Watching the series did give me some tips – you saw where people slipped up being catfish. I did think about going in as someone else but then I decided I would also slip up, I’d forget something so I think by going in as myself I’ll know what to do and what not to do.


What is your STRATEGY to win show? Are there any specific tactics that you think will help you win?

Well, obviously you’ve got to be friends with everyone to be the most popular so that’s my main tactic. I think I’ve got the gift of the gab so I’m just going to try be mates with anyone and everyone.

I’m also not worried about chucking someone out who’s a bit of a threat or stir the pot a bit.

Why did you decide to play yourself and not another character? I would definitely mess something up. I would probably make something up, forget what I’d said to someone and ruin my story.

What do you want viewers at home to think of you or learn from you? I want people to see me as an Essex lad who’s up for a laugh and is fun.

How do you feel about being on TV?

I’m quite excited. I’ve never been on TV before and it probably shows. I’ve never really been one to be afraid of exposure or loads of people seeing me on camera, unless it’s my mother or father taking a selfie – then I would not be caught dead in the photo! I hate it when my dad takes selfies!

How much do you use social media in the real world?

My mum and dad are on Instagram and they tag me in so many photos and I’m just like, ‘please get me out of here’.

TikTok is my main one at the minute. I just get lost in it and I don’t even realise what the time is. I use Instagram a bit. Facebook is just for spying on my family and seeing what they’re getting up to. Twitter’s only for keeping up to date on the football. I reckon I spend about 8 hours on TikTok in the day and 1 hour on the rest. I’m addicted, stop me now!


In real life how does your online social media self differ to who you really are in person?

I don’t really use it like that, it’s more as entertainment and to keep up to date with the football.

Who do you admire on social media? Who do you think uses it well? I don’t really use it for that. I use it for my own entertainment.

Have you ever been catfished? Or caught a catfish?

My pal is on Tinder and you get loads of blokes on there pretending to be girls and girls pretending to be other girls. He shows me and asks me if I think they’re real and I do a couple of checks for him - as soon as I get someone’s name, I’ve found their Facebook, their Instagram, I’ve found everything within minutes. I’m a detective.

Do you think you'll be able to spot any catfish on the show?

I’m going to be confident and say yes, but it’s not as easy as that. I’m going to have to use my questions, my thinking and enhance my listening skills to see what they’re saying. I’ll be the detective - I’ll have to bring a fedora and a big coat and sit down with a pipe.

Do you think what you say on The Circle matters or will you say anything if it would help you win?

I’m not going to go around calling everyone names and saying horrible things. I think what you say does matter. I can talk for England, so hopefully conversation won’t be a problem!


Do you ever use social media to flirt or look for love?

I just look at funny photos and every now and again there will be a nice, pretty girl on there. Every man is guilty of following someone that he thinks is good looking. I think everyone does, don’t they? Obviously if there is someone in there that I like then I’m going to have a little word on the side.


Has social media made it easier or more difficult for you to find romance? Do you think it is possible to fall in love online?

No chance. No way. Obviously, people find people on all these apps and that’s fair enough, good luck to you, but I don’t think it’s possible at all. I’m definitely more of a face-to-face kind of person.


Will you be open to people flirting with you on the show?

Yes, but at the same time, in the back of my mind I’ll be thinking this might be some 50-year-old bloke. I know for a fact that I will be sitting there chatting away and it’s going to be on TV that I’m chatting to someone who’s laughing their head off at me, because I’ve fallen right into their plan. I’m going to be careful, I’m going to be very careful with what I say.

Do you want to win? How far will you go to win?

Yeah, obviously I want to win. I’m Billy and I’m going in there to go with the flow, but at the same time I’m going to make sure I’m always on top. I’m in sales so I know how to make a conversation go my way. I know how to get on top, I know when I’m on top and I know when to shift it. If there is a conversation going on I know I will always be planning how I want it to go and I’ll always have control.

What would you do the prize money?

I’d go on holiday and I wouldn’t take anyone with me either. I’d go on my own and hopefully never return. I’m joking! I would probably buy a load of trainers, I can’t lie. Trainers are my thing. I’ve got around 76 or 77 pairs at the moment and I want to get to that 100 mark.

Any surprising facts or hidden talents that we should know about you? I’ve loved basketball for years. I like basketball just as much as I like football, but because we’re in England and the timings, I can’t really watch it and be involved as much. I’m about 6’2 or 6’3, but I don’t play because I’m lazy and I don’t have the time. I work from 5am till 4pm and get up at 4am, so I have no real time to play with a team and at weekends I just spend time with my mum and dad.

Surprising facts? I can’t tell the time. I can read a digital clock, but I have to ask my phone ‘Hey Siri, what’s the time?’ It’s been such a hurdle all of my life and now finally in The Circle it’s not going to matter.

How do your parents feel about you going into The Circle?

My mum loves it. She’s more excited than I am, she even wrote my shopping list for me. She jumped right on it. My dad is just like any dad, he’s not that fussed, but deep down I know he’s excited.


The Circle begins tonight at 9:15pm on Channel 4 and is available to stream on All4.