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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Brother goes big as Survivor sinks
Bubble
Bubble has shocked Helen with his drug confessions
Shock revelations in the Big Brother house are helping the show to its biggest ratings - putting it within sight of ITV's struggling Survivor.

While the Channel 4 show's viewing figures have steadily grown to 3.7 million, ITV's Survivor is losing its audience.

Survivor's studio-based interview with evictee Uzma on Wednesday night pulled in 4.2 million viewers, down 1.1 million on the previous night, according to unofficial overnight figures.

The newest confession to come from the Big Brother household is the one-time 500 a week drug habit of contestant Bubble.

The hat-wearing Londoner revealed to his housemates he had had a cocaine problem when he worked as a nightclub manager.

Charlotte Hobrough
Charlotte Hobrough has provided Survivor gossip
Fellow contestant Amma, 23, also opened up and admitted dabbling in the drug.

The controversial admissions follow the news that girls' school teacher Penny could face the sack over her on-screen behaviour and nudity.

Bubble, 24, made his startling confession as the group sat around the fire they have been challenged to keep alight for five days.

Wake-up call

The warehouse worker said he had supported a 500 habit to try and keep him awake during the long hours working in a nightclub.

He said: "I was drinking at work all the time and cocaine just kept me awake, but at the time you don't realise you have a problem."

Table dancer Amma, also from London, also revealed she had taken the drug but claimed it was not a big deal.

She said: "These days using cocaine is just like smoking a spliff."

Birthday girl

But Helen, who celebrated her 23rd birthday on Wednesday, was visibly shocked by the revelations from the pair.

Recent revelations about the inmates have slightly shifted William Hills' odds on the likely winner.

Bubbles' odds have lengthened from 8/1 to 9/1, making him an outsider alongside Elisabeth, Narinder and Stuart.

William Hills still make Dean the 3/1 favourite, with Amma and Brian joint second favourite at 5/1, Helen at 7/1 and both Paul and Penny at 8/1.

The contestants will learn on Thursday that they must nominate who they want to evict on Friday, not Monday, as they were expecting.

"We planned to spring this on them long in advance of the programme starting," said a programme spokeswoman.

Affair

Over on ITV, Survivor's saucy secrets have so far revolved around Charlotte Hobrough.

The married police constable has had an affair with fellow contestant Adrian while on the island - providing fodder for tabloid headlines.

Producers of the reality gameshow are still hoping figures will pick up as the series continues.

Estimates of up to 10 million viewers were predicted before the show launched in the UK.

Its Wednesday night low of 4.2 million was easily overshadowed by the BBC One medical drama Holby City, which was watched by 7.2 million people.

However, when Survivor aired in the US last year, it too started with low ratings, before picking up later in the series.

Penny's fears

Back in the Big Brother house, teacher Penny said she may not return to her job at a school in Stratford, east London - just over a mile from the programme's camera-filled house in Bow.

"I would be a lunatic. I wouldn't get any work done, it's best not to go back for the safety of the kids and the structure of the school," she said.

Her headmistress has already expressed reservations with her involvement in the surveillance gameshow.

But airline steward Brian's employers are backing him to the hilt.

Ryanair has pledged to give 1,000 to the NSPCC for every week he stays in the house.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "We will be holding his job for him and hope that he will be returning - unless, of course, he becomes an international superstar."

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See also:

29 May 01 | TV and Radio
Survivor Charlotte tipped to win
28 May 01 | TV and Radio
Storm over Greek Big Brother
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