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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Big Brother gets record ratings

The latest series of Big Brother attracted its biggest opening night audience, according to unofficial overnight figures.

The Channel 4 reality show drew a peak audience of 8.1 million viewers as the new crop of housemates were unveiled.

Last year the show kicked off on a Friday night, attracting a peak of 7 million viewers.

Four models and a singer with Tourette syndrome are among the 14 hopefuls aiming to win 100,000.

"This heralds the most fantastic kick start to Big Brother yet," said Big Brother editing commissioner, Angela Jain.

Bookmakers William Hill has named 20-year-old dance teacher Grace as its early favourite to win the series at 5/1, followed by former Miss Wales Imogen at 11/2.

Contestant Bonnie enters the Big Brother house
Contestants will be eliminated by public vote until only the winner remains
Another contestant will join the show through a competition to find a golden ticket hidden in chocolate bars which have now gone on sale.

William Hill already has this mystery contestants installed as third favourite to win.

"Once again Big Brother has excelled itself by producing the most astonishing bunch of misfits," said a William Hill spokesman.

"As a result we are wary of the golden ticket holder who might just be the only normal person in the house."

Producers have said the seventh series of Big Brother - which will run for 13 weeks, finishing in mid-August - would be "more twisted than ever".

Last year, 7.8 million people tuned in to see dancer Anthony Hutton win the show, taking home 50,000.




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