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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 14:14 GMT
Crowd ban on Big Brother eviction
Jade Goody
Jade Goody is at the centre of the 'racism' row
There will be no crowds outside the Celebrity Big Brother house for the eviction show, Channel 4 has confirmed.

Viewers will decide the future of Shilpa Shetty and fellow housemate Jade Goody in the C4 reality TV show later.

It follows the furore which erupted after alleged racist abuse aimed at the Indian actress by Goody and others.

Profits made from calls made during the telephone vote will be donated to charities nominated by the contestants taking part in the series.

"Over the past few days, Celebrity Big Brother has generated an intense and, at times, heated public debate which the evicted housemate will be unaware of," Channel 4 said in a statement.

"As a result, Channel 4 and [production company] Endemol have taken the decision to conduct tonight's eviction in front of a studio audience and without a crowd."

Telephone vote

Karen Fenelon, 33, from London had a ticket and was planning to attend the broadcast.

"Tonight would have been the best one. You couldn't have got a better day than today," she said.

Goody is currently 1/33 favourite to be evicted, according to bookmakers William Hill. Shetty's odds stand at 10/1.

"I think they should have let her face the audience though," said Ms Fenelon. "She was made on Big Brother."

Channel 4 has also cancelled a post-eviction press conference, to allow the evicted housemate to be fully briefed on the race row before facing the media.

Inside the house, Goody has insisted she "didn't say Shilpa Poppadum in a racial way" and that she does not judge people "by the colour of their skin".

What we are seeing is a noxious brew of old-fashioned class conflict, straightforward bullying, ignorance and quite vicious racial bigotry
Trevor Phillips
Commission for Equality and Human Rights
Viewers have accused Goody, who rose to fame in the non-celebrity version of Big Brother in 2002, as well as former S Club 7 singer Jo O'Meara, model Danielle Lloyd and Goody's boyfriend Jack Tweed of bullying Shetty.

The furore has seen politicians including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron drawn into the row, while 35 MPs have signed a motion condemning the programme, although Channel 4 has stood by it.

Speaking on a trip to India, Gordon Brown said: "There is a lot of support for Shilpa. It is pretty clear we are getting the message across. Britain is a nation of tolerance and fairness."

Sponsor withdrawal

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, said: "What we are seeing is a noxious brew of old-fashioned class conflict, straightforward bullying, ignorance and quite vicious racial bigotry. It is outrageous, and it is unpleasant."

Shilpa Shetty
Some say Shilpa Shetty has become a victim in the house
He added the show had "laid bare the dark heart of private prejudice".

TV watchdog Ofcom has now had over 36,000 complaints about the programme, leading sponsor Carphone Warehouse to suspend its affiliation with the show.

The Perfume Shop has withdrawn Goody's fragrance from its shelves following the row, while Lloyd has lost a modelling contract.

But the row has also seen audience figures steadily increase, with 5.7 million people tuning in to Thursday night's programme - 23.1% of TV viewers at the time.

Meanwhile, Jo O'Meara's sister has defended the singer against the bullying charges.

Speaking on GMTV, Julie Sullivan said: "We're all shocked. It's just not her character at all. She's just not like that."

Indian tourism officials have placed advertisements in several newspapers, "inviting Jade Goody and friends" to the country to experience its "healing nature".


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