Celebrity Big Brother is kicking off with an all-female cast for its January 2018 series as ladies from all walks of life unite in the name of prime time entertainment.

While we'll never know what Emmeline Pankhurst would make of it, the show's 21st series is aligning with 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was passed in parliament.

The theme of this year's CBB has therefore been inspired by the suffrage movement that helped women win the right to vote.

In their announcement, CBB producers said: "In January 2018, as the nation marks 100 years since women won the right to vote for the very first time, Celebrity Big Brother launches this series with an all-female cast of celebrity housemates in a salute to a centenary of women's suffrage on Channel 5."

Ann Widdecombe
Ann Widdecombe is set to join CBB Reuters

The long-running reality show pays special tribute to the centenary of women's right to vote in the UK with the all-female cast, which is being seen by some as regressive.

It hopes to explore "how the all-female housemates interact" before male contestants are added to the mix – though women do not tend to fare well in CBB – with only eight female contestants being crowned winner of the previous 20 seasons.

Male celebrities will eventually be added to the line-up later on in the series.

"Presented by Emma Willis, Celebrity Big Brother will initially explore how the all-female housemates interact, from politicians to performing artists, as they enter the house first, ahead of the celebrity male housemates," the producers went on.

"Over the course of the series, as the male counterparts enter the house, the housemates will take part in a series of entertaining tasks and hidden experiments which will test their - and our - assumptions, challenge gender stereotypes and reveal fascinating truths about what it is to be a woman - and man - in the 21st century.

"See what happens when women hold the power, as Celebrity Big Brother January 2018 is set to be celebratory, surprising and insightful," they added.

While some might think that Pankhurst – a political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement in the 1900s – would be delighted by a women-focused reality show, her great-granddaughter is unsure.

Dr Helen Pankhurst told BBC: "I really don't know what they would make of the world we live in.

"Anything that draws attention the centenary and allows a discussion and gets that message through to different audiences is a great thing," she added.

emmeline pankhurst
Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested at a demonstration outside Buckingham Palace in January 1914 Getty

Rumoured housemates include Khloe Kardashian's best friend Malika Haqq, controversial ex Tory MP Ann Widdecombe, Boris Johnson's sister Rachel Johnson, and Wayne Rooney's drink-driving party girl Laura Simpson.

Others include transgender newsreader India Willoughby, Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson, MP Charlotte Leslie, ex-Corrie actress Shobna Gulati, 80s pop diva Sinitta and Gogglebox star Sandra Martin.

The fellas scheduled to join the line-up include Love Island 2017's Jonny Mitchell, The Apprentice star Andrew Brady, US singer Ginuwine, former MIC star Spencer Matthews and Rodrigo Alves, aka the Human Ken Doll.

The series is set to start tonight (Tuesday 2 January) at 9pm on Channel 5, with the launch show finishing at 10.30pm. Celebrity Big Brother's Bit On The Side will then start at 11.35pm for 55 minutes.

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