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Saturday, 28 July, 2001, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Brian plans future after Big Brother
The Big Brother contestants
Brian celebrates with his housemates
Big Brother winner Brian Dowling has said he plans to return to his job as an air steward despite scooping the show's 70,000 jackpot and becoming a national celebrity.

The 23-year-old from Ireland beat blonde hairdresser Helen Adams in a live final on Friday night, getting more than four million votes.

Speculation is rife about his plans for the future, with press reports that he will be offered several lucrative television contracts.

Bookies are also offering even odds on him leaving his job and going into television.

Helen Adams and Paul Clarke
Will Helen and Paul become an item?
But the gay air steward said he plans to return to work with Ryanair next month. He also said he will spend his prize money on taking his friends on holiday.

Talking about his plans he said: "I come from a small village and I do plan to go home but I want to put my feet firmly on the ground first."

His colleagues at Ryanair have said that they expect him to become a television presenter.

Christine Buchanan, a fellow flight attendant, said: "I think he will go further with TV or as a game show host. Every day at work with Brian you get a bit of a drama."

Runner-up Helen said she was looking forward to a cup of tea, a chat with her mum and just getting back to Wales.

Talking about her future plans she said: "I cannot tell at the moment as I've just stepped out but it's made me realise how much I miss hairdressing and teaching dance."

'Genuine' guy

She also said it was too soon to say if their was any chance of further romance between her and fellow housemate Paul Clarke.

Helen said of their relationship: "I am very fond of him but Big Brother will get back to you on that one.

"Paul Clarke is a really nice guy - probably the most genuine, honest guy I've met."

Brian polled 4,231,660 votes (58%) out of a total 7,255,094, while 2,680,463 viewers (37%) voted for Helen.

Dean O'Loughlin, from Birmingham, was evicted earlier in the night after receiving 269,489 (4%) of the votes cast.

My experience in the house has sorted out who I am

Brian Dowling
Brian emerged from the house in tears on Friday.

"I never expected to get this far," he said. "I'm still coming to terms with winning and it's such a shock."

He admitted he was surprised to have won because "at moments I'm annoying and quite loud".

Questioned on his new status as a gay icon, Brian said: "I am someone who happens to be gay. I am just me, Brian, and just happen to be gay.

"I am Irish, Catholic, gay and I am chuffed that people in Ireland have backed me.

"My experience in the house has sorted out who I am."

Brian's family travelled from their home in Rathangan, Co Kildare, to greet him - a major achievement for his mother Rosie as she was terrified of flying and had never been in a plane before.

He said his lowest points were missing his sister and his mum and dad but he said he was "chuffed" that they were all supporting him.

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