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Saturday, 17 March, 2001, 15:02 GMT
Dee big winner of Big Brother
Dee with wife Jane on his way out of the Big Brother house
Dee with wife Jane: Reunited after one week
Comedian Jack Dee has been voted winner of Comic Relief's celebrity Big Brother contest and said: "It feels great to be out."

He won the week-long fly-on-the-wall competition ahead of soap actress Claire Sweeney and Boyzone star Keith Duffy.

Jack and Jane Dee walking from the house
More than 3.2 million people phoned to vote during the week as Dee's deadpan humour made him the viewers' favourite.

And 12.3 million tuned in to watch as Dee's wife Jane met him at the door of the house when he was finally released on Friday.

The love-struck pair walked together in the pouring rain, fireworks exploding around them, to meet host Davina McCall.

Dee won despite pleading with viewers to evict him earlier in the week.

Viewers saw him ready to leave with his hat and coat on and case packed on Thursday and earlier on Friday.

'I need a drink'

He 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.

Pop star Keith Duffy was first to be evicted on Friday after coming third in the contest, and Sweeney - star of TV's Brookside - was runner-up.

Actress Claire Sweeney leaving the Big Brother house
Sweeney: Runner-up in the celebrity contest
The results were announced on BBC One's charity Comic Relief show after the contestants had been narrowed down to three on Wednesday.

On being released from the house, Duffy said: "I need a drink." He described the best part of the week as sharing a bedroom with Dee.

Almost 160,000 ($229,000) was raised through phone votes on Friday alone, taking the total raised for Comic Relief by Big Brother to over 500,000.

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

Celebrity Insights

Dee had been named by bookies as the overwhelming favourite to win.

The show has gripped Britain over the last week after six celebrities were locked in the house and evicted one-by-one.

The stress shown by celebrities including Vanessa Feltz and Anthea Turner gave the public a rare insight into the psyches of the famous.
Duffy with host Davina McCall leaving the house
Duffy leaving the house with host Davina McCall

Earlier on Friday, the celebrity housemates staged a country and western party and were presented with their final task - painting a picture.

The group dressed up in fancy dress clothes for the party - including a huge, colourful dress for Sweeney and a cowboy hat for Dee.

Dee had gone missing from the house on two occasions - once being led back inside by security guards.

The comic 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.

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."

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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