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Friday, 16 March, 2001, 17:42 GMT
Big Brother nears big finish
Jack Dee's failed attempt to leave
Despite Dee's attempts to leave viewers want him in
With only hours to go until the end of Comic Relief's Big Brother, comedian Jack Dee is emerging as the overwhelming favourite to win.

On Friday afternoon bookmaker William Hill had changed the odds on the deadpan comic to 100-30.

Brookside star Claire Sweeney now lags behind at 7-2 and Boyzone's Keith Duffy is the outsider at 5-1.

The celebrity housemates were presented with their final task - painting a picture - on Friday afternoon.

Claire Sweeney
Claire: chose to paint contestants
While at work, Jack broke the silence to reveal that he sometimes sketched dressing rooms on tour:

"You remember so much more about something once you've drawn it.

"I look through my diary and there's a little picture of a dressing room and it all comes back."

On-air auction

Keith's piece was more of an abstract: "I have no inspiration, just a load of colours - I can't paint to save me life."

Claire chose to paint all six Big Brother celebrities.

The three paintings will be auctioned off live on-air for Comic Relief at around midnight on Friday.

Jack Dee has been the favourite to win despite his pleas to be set free from the house.

Odds on winning
Jack Dee 100-30
Claire Sweeney 7-2
Keith Duffy 5-1

He was seen on Thursday's show ready to leave with his hat and coat on and case packed.

But viewers voted for Anthea Turner to follow in the footsteps of Chris Eubank and Vanessa Feltz and leave the Big Brother house.

Dee did manage to escape briefly on Wednesday night to hug his wife Jane.

He shouted "I love you" to her when he spotted her in the crowd outside.

Spilling the beans

Dee had already gone missing from the house twice before, on one occasion being led back inside by security guards.

The comic has tried every trick in the book to be voted out, even suggesting to viewers they should kick him out to see how the others would manage without him.

Jack Dee with his wife, Jane
Jack Dee seized the chance to hug his wife

But Dee told his remaining housemates that if he was asked to spill the beans further on what went on inside the house, he would say viewers had already had a chance to see what happened.

He insisted he would not be saying anything further unless he was offered cash.

The week-long show on BBC and Channel 4 has so far raised 337,000 for Comic Relief.

Every phone call to nominate a housemate for eviction raises 15.5p for charities in Africa and the UK.

Now viewers have to phone in and vote for who they want to win, rather than evict.

One of the trio will be evicted on Friday. Then a winner will be declared and freed along with the runner-up.

Vanessa meanwhile has not seen the funny side of Big Brother at all.

She said that she "hardly survived the experience" of living with five other celebrities.

"I think reality TV programmes do a lot of damage."

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See also:

16 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Big Brother's Craig still in spotlight
08 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Big Brother scores hat-trick
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Celebrity Big Brother launched
12 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Mel's Big Brother anger
15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Turner next to leave Big Brother
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