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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Profile: Big Brother winner Pete Bennett
Big Brother winner Pete Bennett
Pete has Tourette Syndrome and frequently swears as a result

Pete Bennett, who has won the seventh series of Big Brother, was the bookmaker's favourite from the show's first week in May.

The 24-year-old musician charmed the public from the moment he entered the Big Brother house - falling down the stairs as he went.

He attracted early attention because he has Tourette Syndrome, which causes him to twitch and swear involuntarily.

At first, campaigners accused the show's producers of exploiting Pete's condition.

"I would like to hope that Pete's inclusion will raise awareness of the condition, and do some good," said Roy Hillard of the Tourette Association, "but, on balance, I think it will have adverse effects".

However, the aspiring rock singer appeared to flourish on the show.

I would like to pay off my mum's mortgage so she can finally live her life
Pete Bennett
In his penultimate day in the house, he told Big Brother the experience had "changed his life for the better".

He said his incarceration helped him rebuild the confidence he lost when he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome aged 14.

"I regained all my strength again, and I feel that buzz I used to have in my stomach again," he told Big Brother.

Love affair

Pete even found love during his time in the house.

He fell for 24-year-old model Nikki Grahame, despite her frequent temper tantrums.

Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame
Pete fell for fellow housemate Nikki Grahame
"We go together like cheese and pickle," he said.

He was heartbroken when Nikki was evicted in the eighth week of the series, but the pair had an emotional reunion when viewers voted her back into the house last week.

They have been inseparable since - but Nikki wasn't the only housemate who warmed to Pete's charms.

He received fewer nominations than anyone else during the series, and housemate Lea Walker declared her love to him in a whispered bedroom conversation.

Pet hamster

In the outside world, Pete lives by himself - except for a pet hamster called Magic, who lives in the wall of his Brighton house.

An aspiring cartoonist and comedian, Pete also sings with a rock and roll band called Daddy Fantastic.

He started wearing women's clothes aged 16 and impersonated Freddie Mercury at his mother's wedding.

Pete appeared to miss the outside world during his stay in Big Brother, and cried when he lost the opportunity to receive a letter from his mother.

Big Brother winner Pete Bennett
Pete entered the Big Brother house 93 days ago
Asked what the letter would have meant to him, he replied: "It'll be like getting a hug from home."

Later on in the series, he did receive a message from his mother, and was in tears again as fellow housemate Richard Newman read it to him.

"Since you went into the house," the letter said, "it's like my life has turned round for the better, and it's all because of you".

Pete's mother went on to say she had been reunited with his father - who left home when Pete was 10 months old.

"That's what I came in here for," he told his housemates, "to sort my mum out."

Indeed, before he entered the house 93 days ago, Pete told Big Brother: "If I was to win the money I would like to pay off my mum's mortgage so she can finally live her life."

Now that he is 100,000 richer, he has the chance to do just that.




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