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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
Kate 'clear favourite' to win Big Brother
Kate Lawler
Kate is favourite to win the 70,000 prize
Bookmakers' favourite Kate Lawler remains on course to win Channel 4's reality gameshow Big Brother, after fellow contestant Jade Goody was the first finalist to be evicted.

Over 1.4 million votes for the 21-year-old dental nurse were received, but this was not enough and her eviction was announced by presenter Davina McCall at 2100 BST.

Coral EuroBet had odds of 6-4 on Kate, 22, winning the 70,000, with Jade second favourite at 5-2.

A clearly emotional Jade ran to greet her family - and comedian Graham Norton - when she was evicted from the house.

But she had trouble holding onto her strapless top, which fell down as soon as her eviction was announced.

Out: Jade Goody was first to leave

On Friday morning, four out of the 12 housemates were left in the running for the 70,000 prize, which will be announced later on Friday evening.

Over six million people have voted for their favourite housemate, choosing between Kate, Jade, Alex Sibley and Jonny Regan.

Interviewed after her eviction, Jade burst into tears when she saw footage of Hollywood star Johnny Depp willing her on to win.

Quizzed about her behaviour in the house, she said: "I was a bit of a bitch in the house, but you saw all sides of me in there - what you see is what you get with me."

Some viewers abused her from outside the house, but she said this had not bothered her.

"All I heard was 'Jade, you're a minger,'" she said, adding sarcastically, "Yeah, I'm gutted."

"Just for being here tonight, I'm a winner."

She is not yet aware of the hostile press coverage she has received during the series.

Despite criticisms of the voyeuristic nature of the show - and of the housemates' intellectual level - Big Brother 3 has pulled in record numbers of viewers.

More than 10 million are expected to tune into Friday's final, and more than seven million people watched Tim Culley get evicted last week.

The viewing figures for the nightly shows are up 24% on last year, with an average of 5.4 million tuning in.

Pop career

Channel 4 was unavailable for comment about the viewing figures.

Meanwhile speculation is mounting as to how this year's housemates might benefit from their new-found fame.

Jade's mother Jackiey Budden has said that two record producers have approached her about signing Jade up for a pop career, after recognising her singing talent.

There are also unconfirmed rumours that London nightclub impresario Peter Stringfellow is hoping to employ her as a stripper.

Ms Budden has also entered a competition organised by children's channel Nicktoons, to find a family to be immortalised in cartoon form.

Alex's modelling career may also benefit, with rumours that Brylcreem are keen to sign him up.

And Kate has been given odds of 25-1 by bookmakers William Hill to win next year's Rear Of The Year contest.

Some of this year's evictees have also been making the most of their moment in the spotlight, with Lee Davey joining male strip troupe The Dreamboys, and his romance with fellow housemate Sophie Pritchard hitting headlines.
Alex Sibley
Alex: A previous favourite to win

All of the other housemates have made TV appearances since being evicted, talking about their experiences on the show.

Only Sandy Cumming, who escaped from the house by climbing over the roof, appears keen to shun the limelight, having returned to his day job as a personal shopper.

Millions are expected to vote for the finale on Friday night when all four remaining contestants will leave.

So far the total number of votes cast during the series has exceeded 14 million, with the largest single vote for Adele Roberts's eviction on 5 July, which attracted 3,427,202 votes.

Friday's finale will be a two-stage affair.

In the mid-evening show at 2030 BST the third- and fourth-placed housemates will be evicted and interviewed.

And at 2200 BST the show's grand final will see the second-placed housemate and the winner announced.

BBC News Online's coverage of Big Brother 2002

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