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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Bets off on Big Brother win
Big Brother
The contestants will be reunited during live show
One bookmaker has stopped taking bets on Irish air stweard Brian to win Big Brother as the remaining housemates prepare to celebrate their last night as a foursome.

Coral Eurobet has suspended betting on the Irish air steward to win as he is way ahead of other contestants at 1-5 favourite to take the 70,000 prize on Friday.

Brian
Brian is still favourite to win
As the countdown to the end of the series starts, housemates have become suspicious about the shape of the final 48 hours.

A surprise eviction has been planned for Thursday, with the public's least favourite person ousted.

When it was announced they were to have a Last of the Mohicans party, Helen said she thought one of their number would be leaving early.

Imminent eviction

The public are now voting on who they want to win the 70,000 first prize, with the winner announced live on Friday.

The person who has the fewest public votes on Thursday will be told of their imminent eviction and given 90 minutes to pack their bags.

Hot favourite to depart first is website designer Elizabeth who has been given odds of 1-5 to leave early by bookmakers Paddy Power.

Odds on Helen pipping Brian to the post have been shortened since The Sun newspaper backed the Welsh hairdresser to triumph.

Whichever housemate picks up the prize, one surefire winner of the series is Channel 4, as industry experts predict the show will become a model for the future of multi-media programming.

The Times reports that the network has boosted its audience share by 15% during the Big Brother run.

Paul and Helen from Big Brother
Helen could be reunited with Paul by Friday
This means that advertising rates have been allowed to increase considerbly for slots during the show.

The paper says Friday's two live shows could net Channel 4 as much as 1.6m in advertising revenue alone.

The Big Brother website has also proved highly successful, becoming one of Europe's most popular sites.

Money will also be made from the voting phone lines which has received eight million calls so far.

Channel 4 is donating 5p from each premium rate call to charities Shelter, Kids' Company and the Community Self-Build Agency



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24 Jul 01 | Entertainment
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