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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 04:24 GMT
The tears and tension backstage
By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Shilpa Shetty
Shilpa Shetty insists her housemates are not racist
After 26 days, 10 evictions and more than 45,000 complaints, Shilpa Shetty has been crowned the winner of Celebrity Big Brother.

The Bollywood actress has been the subject of a huge media storm and international debate, after fellow housemates, Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd were accused of racially bullying her.

Despite getting 63% of the public vote, not everyone was pleased Shetty won.

After the show, some members of the crowd could be heard shouting, "it's a fix" as they left the grounds.

One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, even suggested that Channel 4 had "set up" the Shetty win purely to "save themselves".

Despite the negative press Goody has received recently, the 25-year-old still has some fans left.

Sam Marshall from Orpington, in London, backed Goody from day one and even went so far as to boo Shetty.

Holding up a "Jade is innocent" banner, she said: "I knew she was going to win, it was so obvious."

Indian support

Jamie Shepherd, who had travelled to London for the eviction from north Wales said: "I didn't see that what she said was racist. It was a spur of a moment thing."

Danielle Lloyd
Danielle Lloyd made a surprise appearance at the press conference

There were many in the crowd, however, that would strongly disagree.

The so-called racist taunts, such as calling Shetty "Shilpa Poppadom", prompted a large group of Indians to attend the eviction to show their support for the 31-year-old actress.

Shafiq Mohuyddin from Luton said he was "appalled" by some of the comments that had been made.

Carrying an Indian flag, Sukhraj Hyare from Leamington Spa said Goody, O'Meara and Lloyd had shown they were "ignorant of the Indian community".

Waiting press

As the crowd dispersed outside, the celebrities were briefed inside, ready to face the waiting press.

Backstage, the impending interview with model Lloyd was the main talking-point among journalists.

Speculation over the breakdown of her relationship with footballer Teddy Sheringham, and the collapse of several modelling contracts, were top of the list of questions that were going to be put to her.

None of you people would have had any questions without Jade, so you all ought to give her a big thank you. Without her, the press would have been dead meat
Dirk Benedict

The opportunity to have Lloyd on the spot was denied however, as the decision was made that neither Goody's boyfriend, Jack Tweed, nor Lloyd would be making an appearance at the press conference.

The other four housemates, Dirk Benedict, Ian 'H' Watkins, Jermaine Jackson and Shetty herself, did attend though.

Unsurprisingly, it was Shetty who dominated the interviews, with everyone wanting to know how she felt about Goody and the controversy she has been blamed for causing.

Surprise appearance

"It may have seemed like it was bad, but I can say that Jade is not a bad person, she's just young," she said.

Benedict was also quick to defend the mother of two.

When all the housemates were asked how different they thought the show would have been if Goody had not entered, Benedict said: "I think they [Channel 4] would not have had a very interesting show.

Max Clifford
Max Clifford thinks Jade Goody faces a tough future

"None of you people would have had any questions without Jade, so you all ought to give her a big thank you. Without her, the press would have been dead meat," he added.

It was, however, the surprise arrival of Lloyd which overshadowed anything else the other celebrities had said.

Taking a seat next to Shetty, and holding her hand, a tearful and subdued Lloyd faced the journalists.

Apology

"I would like to apologise to everybody for the words that I have said. They were never, never, ever meant to be racist. I think Shilpa is a fantastic, beautiful lady," she said.

As she became more upset during her apology, it was Shetty who stepped in to defend her.

"She's gorgeous, not just from the outside, but also from the inside," she said.

Benedict also leapt to the model's defence.

Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty
Jade Goody apologised to Shilpa for her behaviour

"This is a sweet, young girl. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body, this is ridiculous," he said.

After her brief appearance, Lloyd was swept off to avoid any more questions.

Bleak future

PR guru Max Clifford, who represents Shetty, was standing among the crowd of journalists.

"It's going to be very difficult for them to turn it around, but hopefully tonight has helped," he said.

He thinks Goody's future at the moment does look bleak.

Earlier in the evening, one member of the crowd, Denise Parnell from Borehamwood, said: "Big Brother made her, and I think Big Brother has finished her".

Whether that is the case remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the show has made a true star out of Shetty.


SEE ALSO
Shetty wins Celebrity Big Brother
28 Jan 07 |  Entertainment

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