A 2ft movie star emerged as an early favourite to win 'Celebrity Big Brother' as the “egos landed” at the launch show.
Verne Troyer was greeted last night with a sign reading “Mini Me – will you marry me?” as he clambered out of his chauffeur-driven limousine.
Bookies slashed odds for Troyer – who featured in the 'Austin Powers' films – to win the show after a flurry of bets by fans of the show.
He arrived to cheers moments after ex-Sugababe Mutya Buena and La Toya Jackson received cool receptions as they entered the house.
After receiving a chorus of boos, Jackson, the sister of 'Thriller' star Michael, showed she was less than familiar with Buena’s work as the pair were introduced.
Jackson whispered: “What was your name again?”
The trio were followed into the house by firebrand Scottish socialist Tommy Sheridan, glamour girl Lucy Pinder, Nineties pop singer Ben Adams and 'Shameless' actress Tina Malone.
Sheridan – at 20/1 – is the rank outsider to win, with Ladbrokes taking 4/1 on Troyer.
Shooting Stars panellist Ulrika Jonsson – reportedly the best-paid housemate - received a mixture of boos and cheers as she arrived shortly after 'Gangsta’s Paradise' rapper Coolio, former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton and music journalist Terry Christian.
As the housemates settled in to their new surroundings Christian was told he would be the first Celebrity Head of House, giving him immunity from eviction for a week.
Host Davina McCall – who introduced the show by quipping “the egos have landed” – will return to the house on Tuesday to find out how the Celebrity Head of House has managed all of the housemates’ egos.
Jonsson’s eventful love life includes links to former England head coach Sven Goran Eriksson, whose previous fling Faria Alam was on the show in 2006.
The treatment of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty by Jade Goody and other housemates on the programme caused a furore two years ago.
The Channel 4 reality show’s future appeared in jeopardy after the race row in 2007 attracted 45,000 complaints to Ofcom – the most in the regulator’s history.
Yet bosses still declared that the programme would not be “sanitised” as it returned.
Organisers have said this year’s tasks will be about life as a celebrity.
The house’s outdoor area has been transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with carousel horses and a heated seating area.
There is also a smoking area resembling a giant ashtray.
For the more health-conscious celebrities, gym equipment has been provided in the lounge.
But they will not be given much of a special treatment, the producers said.
Their food budget will be the same as that of non-celebrity housemates, and they will still need to earn tokens to obtain privileges, such as use of the house’s hair-straighteners.