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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Security scare hits Big Brother
Big Brother 2 contestants Elizabeth, Penny, Paul and Brian
Contestants were ordered inside
Big Brother contestants have been told to stay indoors by programme producers because of fears they could be contacted by the outside world.

Two fireworks went off over the programme's compound at Bow, east London, on Wednesday night and the 10 housemates were ordered inside because of concerns they could be a message.

Big Brother house
Guards patrol the compund
A spokeswoman for the show said: "The fireworks were let off by members of the public and we weren't sure why they were.

"We asked the contestants to go inside in case there was a possibility that it was some kind of message to them."

Security staff stopped any further fireworks going off, and the housemates were only kept inside for a few minutes, she added.

First eviction odds
4-5 Penny
9-2 Bubble
6-1 Paul
7-1 Narinder
9-1 Helen
10-1 Amma
11-1 Brian
12-1 Elizabeth
14-1 Stuart
20-1 Dean
Source: Coral
Chelsea fan Bubble joked that the two bangs could refer to the score in a football match.

Guards

He has been demanding that Big Brother let him watch England's World Cup qualifier against Greece next Wednesday - and said he hoped fireworks would be let off if England win.

Earlier this week Penny - who teaches at a girls' school in nearby Stratford - heard voices shouting at her which she was convinced came from her pupils.

Big Brother contestant Brian
Brian had a surprise for Narinder
Although the area is patrolled by guards, and is in a relatively remote location, it is easy for the public to pass the edge of the compound.

Last series a tabloid newspaper used a remote control helicopter to drop leaflets demanding a "Nasty Nick" Bateman's eviction from the programme into the house.

Failure

Meanwhile, the mood inside the house was dented on Thursday when the housemates were told they had failed their first task.

They had gambled 20 of their weekly food allowance on being able to keep a fire alight for a week, and having it permanently manned by two people.

Odds to win
4-1 Dean
6-1 Elizabeth
6-1 Brian
8-1 Amma
8-1 Stuart
8-1 Bubble
9-1 Helen
9-1 Narinder
10-1 Paul
20-1 Penny
Source: Coral
But despite a series of all-night vigils, the group were told they had failed after temporarily leaving it unattended.

Following the failure, bookmaker Coral slashed Paul's odds on eviction from 16-1 to 6-1 after Amma told Bubble that Paul was to blame.

Viewers hoping for sexual tension have not been disappointed - Amma and Bubble have been flirting, while gay air steward Brian flashed at Narinder.

Nominations

Nominations for the first eviction will be held live on Channel 4 on Friday evening, with the public voting over the following week for who they want to see thrown out.

New contestants' odds on winning
9-1 Natasha
12-1 Josh
33-1 Anne
Source: Coral
The public can also vote for an 11th contestant to enter the house, with Coral putting part-time model Natasha as favourite on 8-13.

Josh - who runs a property company aimed at gay and lesbian people, is second on 7-4 - despite a leafleting campaign by friends and fans in Soho, London.

Anne, a 45-year-old grandmother from Lancashire, is last on 6-1.

The programme's ratings remain healthy, with 4.4 million people watching Friday's programme - a 22% share of the available audience - according to unofficial overnight figures.

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31 May 01 | TV and Radio
Slim ratings for 'Fat Brother'
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