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EDITIONS
Saturday, 30 November, 2002, 14:48 GMT
Celebrity Big Brother sweeps ratings
Mark Owen
Mark Owen was an early favourite
Mark Owen's victory in Channel 4 reality show Celebrity Big Brother was watched by nearly half of the viewing public.

The former Take That star beat former Page Three girl Melinda Messenger and comedian Les Dennis to win the charity version of the summer ratings hit.

The live final was seen by more than six million people at its peak, with an audience share of 44%, Channel 4 said.


I thought - what am I doing here?

Mark Owen
This figure topped the viewing figures for the 2001 version of the show by a million.

Including the final public vote, more than 1.6 million votes were cast by phone, text, internet and interactive TV, raising 220,000 for charities to help young people.

It is expected Owen will see a dramatic upturn in his showbusiness career, which has been subdued since the break-up of Take That.

Speaking to presenter Davina McCall in front of a cheering crowd, quietly-spoken Owen, who has been largely out of the public eye since Take That split in 1996, joked: "I'm a bit out of practice, sorry."

Co-star praise

He said he had hoped Dennis would win the contest.

"He'd been through a lot, he was a star and he helped me get through it."

He said of his experiences in the house: "I had a moment where I woke up, and at one end of the room Les Dennis was shaving, and at the other end Goldie was putting on his aftershave.

Melinda Messenger and husband Wayne
Back together: Melinda Messenger and husband Wayne
"I thought - what am I doing here?"

Dennis, whose emotional outbursts in the house stunned viewers, cried as he saw a video of his wife Amanda Holden - who was away filming - congratulating him on his success.

He embraced his son Philip - the subject of much of his conversation after he admitted he did not see him enough.

"Just coming out and seeing the reception was amazing, fantastic. I had the best time, it was brilliant," Dennis told presenter Davina McCall.

"I wanted to go in and be me - and I probably was, obviously. I've hosted a game show for 15 years and everyone sees a cheery, smiley Les and that's not the real me."

Brilliant 'aura'

As cameras showed winner Owen crying in the house alone, he said: "He's got a fantastic aura, a really brilliant aura - look at him. That's so sweet."

Messenger said after leaving the house: "I thought it'd be nice to make it to the half way mark.

Les Dennis
Les Dennis leaves the house
"I never thought I'd ever win. I knew what I was letting myself in for."

Throughout its 10-day run the show was watched by an average of 4.7 million people.

Comedian Sue Perkins, 33, was evicted on Thursday after the public overwhelmingly voted for ex-Take That star Owen to stay.

Former daytime TV host Anne Diamond and musician Goldie were evicted by viewers earlier this week.

See also:

29 Nov 02 | Entertainment
30 Nov 02 | Entertainment
27 Nov 02 | Entertainment
27 Nov 02 | Entertainment
28 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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