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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 12:53 GMT
Craig signs five-album deal
Craig Phillips wins Big Brother
The 28-year-old donated his Big Brother prize money to a friend
Craig Phillips, the winner of Channel 4's Big Brother TV show, has been offered a five-album record deal with WEA records.

The Liverpudlian will be releasing a single in time for Christmas, called At This Time of Year, and has signed a deal worth a reported 500,000.

I've never sung in the bath, let alone a recording studio

Craig Phillips
The 28-year-old became a national hero earlier this year when he donated his 70,000 Big Brother prize money to a friend with Down's Syndrome who needed surgery in America.

He has now pledged to donate half of the proceeds of his single to go to others with Down's Syndrome.

He admitted: "I didn't even realise I could sing."

John Reid, managing director of WEA records, denied that Phillips had been signed up because of the novelty factor.

"I do not make novelty albums. And I do not sign people to five-album deals just because they were in a popular TV series.

"I have signed Craig because he is very talented singer and fans will buy his records because of that. Not because he won Big Brother."

The omens are not good for Craig - fellow Big Brother contestant Nichola failed to chart with her single, The Game.

But that hasn't put off either the WEA bosses or Craig.

"When I heard Craig sing I was amazed. Now I am convinced we've got a number one Christmas single on our hands," said Mr Reid.

We wouldn't have paid this kind of money if we didn't think Craig was up to it

Steve Allen, WEA

The song has been written by the Rive Droite team, who have penned hits for Cher, Kylie Minogue and Ricky Martin.

Craig said he was delighted with the song.

"I've never sung in the bath, let alone a recording studio, so I was obviously very nervous.

"I never realised I had a voice before but I surprised myself - it's actually pretty good."

The track was recorded in just two days and will face stiff competition from Westlife who are the favourites for the festive number one.

Steve Allen, head of WEA's star-spotting division, said: "We have a strict policy of never signing novelty acts.

"Believe me, we wouldn't have paid this kind of money if we didn't think Craig was up to it."

Craig, Anna, Mel and Nick, who were all trapped together in the Big Brother house, are set for a reunion as presenters of TFI Friday on 17 November.

The quartet are following in the footsteps of the Spice Girls, who last week presented the first programme in the new series of TFI Friday following Chris Evans' decision to step down.

The single, At This Time of Year, is released on 11 December.

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See also:

12 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Mel's Big Brother anger
18 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother stars face the future
17 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Nick beaten to Brother chair
05 Sep 00 | Entertainment
'Nasty Nick' reunited with Brother rivals
15 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Craig wins Big Brother
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