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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007, 15:29 GMT
Shetty 'set for Big Brother win'
Celebrity Big Brother's Shilpa Shetty
Despite initial fears, Shetty later denied rows in the house were racist
Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood actress at the centre of the race row that has engulfed TV show Celebrity Big Brother, is favourite to win the current series.

Bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 1-6 on the 31-year-old Indian star.

Shetty's treatment at the hands of some of her fellow contestants sparked worldwide accusations of racism.

The victor will be decided by public vote in a live show on Sunday. Bookies estimate Shetty's closest rivals are Jermaine Jackson and Dirk Benedict.

Of the remaining six contestants on the Channel 4 reality TV show, singer Jackson has odds of 5/1, while former A-Team star Benedict in at 8/1.

Former Steps star Ian 'H' Watkins trails behind at 40/1, while model Danielle Lloyd - who is among those accused of a role in the alleged bullying - has odds of 100/1.

Jade Goody on Big Brother
Goody rose to fame in the non-celebrity version of Big Brother

William Hill is not offering odds on Jack Tweed. Tweed is the boyfriend of Jade Goody, who was perceived as the ringleader in the alleged racist abuse.

Goody, who was evicted more than a week ago, admitted her behaviour was "nasty" but denied being a racist.

Former S Club 7 star Jo O'Meara also denied being a racist following her eviction on Friday night.

"I'm not going to deny that Shilpa did aggravate me a lot - I don't know why. You can't click with everybody you meet," she told the show's host, Davina McCall.

"It's not because I'm racist at all. I think she's a very beautiful, very elegant woman.

"I can't say I am sorry for something I am not guilty of," she later told the Sunday Mirror. "If I went back in there then I'd say it all again."

Cleo Rocos (left) and Jo O'Meara leaving Celebrity Big Brother
Jo O'Meara (r) and Cleo Rocos were evicted by public vote on Friday

Meanwhile, the housemates - unaware of the global furore surrounding the show - have re-enacted the row between Goody and Shetty which prompted the racism allegations.

Media watchdog Ofcom received more than 40,000 complaints about the alleged racist bullying in the current series.

Politicians including Chancellor Gordon Brown entered the row, while Carphone Warehouse suspended its sponsorship of the series. In India, protesters burnt effigies of the show's producers in the streets of Mumbai.

On Friday, Hertfordshire Police confirmed they have contacted Goody and her mother, Jackiey Budden, who was also on the show, with a view to interviewing the pair.

"An investigation into allegations of racist behaviour inside the Celebrity Big Brother house is continuing," a police spokesperson said.

"Hertfordshire Constabulary can confirm police will be making approaches to speak to housemates if and when appropriate once they have left the house."




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