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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Big Brother's peak viewing
Big Brother contestant Bubble
Bubble: Will he leave Big Brother as a winner?
Big Brother 2 has reached its biggest ever audience as odds on Bubble winning are slashed after backing from a tabloid newspaper.

An average of 4.8 million viewers tuned into Wednesday night's show, according to unofficial viewing figures.

Meanwhile, more than 100,000 has been bet on Bubble to win Channel 4's Big Brother.

The bets came after The Sun backed the 25-year-old to win the reality TV show.

Coral bookmakers have now cut their odds on him winning from 5-1 to 2-1 joint favourite with Brian Dowling.

Nine out of 10 bets Coral took were for Bubble, the Chelsea supporter from Surbiton, Surrey.

Coral spokeswoman Hilary Spooner told The Sun: "We didn't know what hit us. It's the biggest Big Brother gamble yet."

'Hero dad'

Ladbrokes and William Hill both moved Bubble up the pecking order following The Sun story on 20 June, but he is still only second favourite to airline steward Brian Dowling.

Big Brother's official bookie Paddy Power has moved Bubble from 7-1 to 4-1.

Wednesday night's inflated audience, which at its peak saw 5.2 million tune in, has been put down to growing interest in the show.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said the original series had an average of three million viewers in its opening weeks.

Brian Dowling
Brian is still heavily favoured by bookmakers

Teacher Penny Ellis, the first person to be kicked out of the house is now involved in numerous charity fundraisers.

On 20 June she abseiled 150ft down the side of Beaufort House in London to raise money for the children's charity, Barnardo's.

Original Big Brother winner Craig Phillips, Survivor contestant Jojo and Hollyoaks actor Paul Danan also took part. The English teacher said that doing the abseil was the only time she had been really scared.

Penny said afterwards: "I'm going to try and do as much charity work as I can. I think it's important that if you have a name, for however long you've got it, that you put your name to use for good causes."

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See also:

15 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Stuart evicted from Big Brother
15 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Stuart a 'dead cert' for eviction
13 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Paul and Stuart face eviction
15 Jun 01 | New Media
Big Brother website trounces Survivor
12 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Brian has friends in high places
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