Rylan Clark-Neal says watching Brian Dowling’s groundbreaking Big Brother win made him realise ‘being gay isn’t a bad thing’

Rylan Clark-Neal Big Brother Brian Dowling

Rylan Clark-Neal has said seeing Brian Dowling win the second season of Big Brother made him realise that “being gay isn’t a bad thing.”

The former Celebrity Big Brother winner told Davina McCall about the impact Dowling’s win had on his life.

“For me being 13, 14, thinking I was gay, knowing I was gay at that time, seeing someone like Brian who was an adult going through the same thing, it was a bit of a moment for me,” Clark-Neal said on Big Brother: Best Shows Ever.

“Oh, it’s alright for him. Maybe being gay isn’t a bad thing.

“The amount of people who would say, ‘I don’t like gay people but he seems funny.’ It’s things like that is the start of people changing their mindset.”

Brian Dowling going on Big Brother was ‘a big one’ for LGBT+ rights.

McCall said Dowling, who won the second series of Big Brother, was nervous about going on the show and revealing his sexuality to the world.

“It was a big one in terms of LGBTQ rights having Brian go in,” she said.

“He was very nervous about doing the show and coming out properly, not just to his friends and family but to the nation and would he be accepted? This was what was so beautiful.”

She added: “The whole of Britain took him under their wing and crowned him the winner. I think that was amazing for Brian. His entire world expanded.”

Fans were surprised the former winner didn’t appear on Best Shows Ever – but Dowling had a good reason.

Brian Dowling won the series in 2001 and later won Ultimate Big Brother in 2010. He went on to host the show when it moved to Channel 5 but was replaced by Emma Willis in 2013.

Some fans were surprised that Dowling didn’t make an appearance on Big Brother: Best Shows Ever, which sees Davina McCall and Rylan Clark-Neal celebrate some of the reality show’s most iconic moments and housemates.

When McCall said he had been asked to make an appearance, Dowling posted a statement to Twitter explaining why he declined.

Dowling said he was found out he was being replaced as host on the series from a reporter at The Sun – and accused the production company of waiting a further four weeks after that incident to tell him.

“The same production company asked if I wanted to film a 10 second message on my phone saying hello to you and Rylan.

“Surprisingly I didn’t really feel like doing that.”