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Saturday, 26 August, 2000, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Big Brother romance denied
Thomas at a news conference
Thomas: nothing more than a "farewell kiss"
Evicted Big Brother contestant Thomas McDermott has denied his friendship with housemate Melanie had developed into a romance.

Viewers were gripped by the chemistry between the pair, made obvious by their body language and a sensual massage.

The relationship was never going to develop

Thomas McDermott


But the 31-year-old from Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland said his final encounter with Mel - where he tried to embrace her - amounted to little more than a "farewell kiss".

For her part, she told him: "I can't kiss every boy who leaves, can I?"

At a news conference in London the former farmer said: "We were aware that we were on camera.

"The relationship was never going to develop. It was more of a farewell kiss."

Mel was, he said, simply "a good friend" and "someone to argue with".

Melanie
Thomas denied that he and Melanie had a romance
Thomas was kicked out of the house in Bow, east London after grabbing 30% of the votes cast by the 1,237,328 viewers who phoned in.

He told the news conference that the Big Brother experience had given him a much-needed boost.

"It's given me the confidence to stand up and have my own voice," he said.

He said he had spent Friday night catching up with his family.

"I haven't been separated for so long from them," he said. "It was nice to hear their voices."

JR-like bets

Bookmaker William Hill has taken a bet of 450 that Anna will win the TV gameshow.

She is now 2/1 joint favourite along with Craig to emerge as the eventual winner, a spokesman said.

The bookmaker has also taken a bet of 200 for 7/2 third favourite Mel.

Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "As the programme moves towards its latter stages we are beginning to see bigger bets being placed.

"I anticipate that by the time its all over a quarter of a million pounds will be riding on the outcome - making it the biggest TV related bet since 'who shot JR?"

Big Brother's popularity keeps on growing, with 4.3 million people tuning in to Monday and Wednesday's shows this week.

From next week, Channel 4 will capitalise on Big Brother's success by moving the late evening shows on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to 2200 BST.

Big Brother has also become the most requested search topic for internet users of msn.co.uk.

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See also:

26 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Thomas leaves Big Brother
23 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Four face Big Brother vote
24 Aug 00 | Entertainment
US TV's million-dollar Survivor
19 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Claire makes Big Brother debut
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