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EDITIONS
Sunday, 13 October, 2002, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
Naomi to leave Fame Academy
Naomi Roper
Naomi Roper will leave after breakfast on Monday
One of the contestants in the BBC's Fame Academy programme has been told to leave because of throat problems.

The talent show sees a group of students being trained by experts to win a 1m recording contract and the chance to live a luxury lifestyle for a year.

But Naomi Roper will leave after breakfast on Monday despite attempts to treat her throat, which has been troubling the 19-year-old since before she entered the academy a week ago.

Specialist Dr Ruth Epstein said Naomi's voice needed several days rest.

So academy headteacher Richard Park, vocal coach Carrie Grant and the other tutors decided the teenager from the Scottish Borders had to go.

Naomi is likely to be replaced by a stand-by student later this week.

The remaining 10 contestants were stunned, with many in tears.

Fame Academy contestant Ashley House
Ashley House: Voted out by fellow students

Fellow Scot Ainslie Henderson said: "It is so unfair.

"She was the sparkliest."

The first contestant to be voted out of the academy was 28-year-old teacher Ashley House.

Fellow nominee Nigel Wilson was chosen to stay by the public, while 20-year-old Pippa Fulton was elected to stay by the rest of the academy's students.

Nigel, 31, defied the odds - bookmakers had him as 4-6 favourite to be expelled.

Each of the three nominees sang solo on Friday night's live show.

'Annoying'

As his consolation prize Ashley, an economics teacher from Cheltenham, joined in the final song of the show.

But on Sunday he called Mr Park "really annoying".

"He is playing this big head teacher role - but as a teacher myself I know he would not last five minutes in a classroom," Ashley told BBC News.

The Fame Academy Mansion
The house is in Highgate, North London

"I do not know if this is a role he is portraying or what he is like as a person - but he takes it too far."

Meanwhile, Popstars: The Rivals finalist, Nicola Ward, 19, has quit the programme after accusing the producers of "trying to make us sign our lives away".

She said the band members would receive only a fraction of the money they earned through touring and merchandise.

Show judge Pete Waterman said Nicola would be replaced by one of the five contestants who narrowly missed out on a place in the final 10.


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