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Media correspondent Matt Wells
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Friday, 18 August, 2000, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Tom going strong in Big Brother
Tom has escaped the eviction process so far
Tom has escaped the eviction process so far
Northern Ireland's Big Brother contestant is still going strong after he helped to expose the scheming of "Nasty Nick" on the television gameshow.

County Tyrone man Tom MacDermott helped to uncover Nick Bateman's plots to turn the other contestants in the house against each other, so that they would nominate each other out of Channel 4's fly on the wall series.

The Big Brother show has flung ten total strangers from all over the UK together to live isolated in a house, with 24 hidden cameras, and weekly evictions voted for by residents and the public. The last remaining occupant wins 70,000.

Although the contestants have no links or awareness of what is going on in the outside world, Tom's supporters in his hometown of Greencastle, are so convinced of his chances of success that they have written and produced a ballad - Tom, Our Man From Tyrone, to spur him on.

Tom was instrumental in bringing Nick Bateman's dirty tricks to light. He was evicted for "persistent infringement" of the show's rules, which forbid the housemates talking about nominations or voting tactically.

On Thursday night the millions of viewers who have become hooked on the voyeuristic show watched Tom tell Liverpudlian Craig that Nick had called him a traitor and had indicated that he intended to vote him out of the house.

Craig immediately smelled a rat because Nick had in turn hinted to him that he had voted Tom out, and that he expected Craig to be one of the last three contestants still in the house.

Nicholas Bateman
Bateman entering the house last month
When the two lads confided to each other that Nick had tried to show them written notes before weekly nomination time, the cat was out of the bag.

Other residents in the house revealed that they too were aware that Nick had tried to sway their nominations, a clear breach of Big Brother rules.

And housemate Darren laid his hands on the conclusive evidence when he raided Nick's suitcase of papers.

At the Big Brother house meeting, Tom, who has become known to viewers as the strong quiet Irishman, was as vocal as the six other remaining housemates about his "disappointment" and "disgust" at Nick's behaviour.

Meanwhile, at home in County Tyrone, hopes are high for Tom.

His campaign manager Oliver McCulla told BBC Radio Ulster: "Tommy McDermott is like any other lad.

"He goes out and plays in his local Gaelic football club, he was involved in the Castle Drama Players Group and he also trains underage and ladies' football teams.

"He just comes from a good family background. He's just an ordinary lad."

Mr McCulla said Tom's wellwishers burst into the recording studio to tell him of Nick's eviction.

"I was up recording the CD for Tommy last night when some people came and burst the door down to tell me Nick was gone.

"I saw the last of it last night and found that Nick seemed to have been passing pieces of paper round with people's names on.

"In the past he has been taken in to see Big Brother and warned about speaking to people about this. He had spoken to Tommy on a number of occasions.

"I know Tommy and he wouldn't want to be part of a plot like that. He seemed very, very surprised and annoyed," he said.

Mr McCulla said he hoped Tom's ballad, performed by County Tyrone band Hazelfolk, will help influence the programme's viewers when they reach for the phone to vote if Tom gets nominated to leave the house.

The odds are still good, he said. Tom has only been nominated to leave to house once so far, and was not voted out by the public.

"Up to yesterday I was given Nicolas, Melanie and Tom to be the last in the house, but this has all changed now."

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See also:

17 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Nick's Big Brother mind games
16 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Craig and Nichola face Brother vote
12 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother's Caroline vows revenge
14 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Fans bet on Brother 'conspiracy'
10 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother finds no phone
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