Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Probation fights Boy George Big Brother court plea

Boy George
Boy George was jailed in January and released on licence four months later

Boy George has been stopped from going on Celebrity Big Brother because the Probation Service fears a media attack, his lawyers have argued in court.

His legal team is trying to lift a ban on him appearing on the Channel 4 show.

The singer - real name George O'Dowd - was released on licence from prison early for imprisoning a male escort.

Richard Clayton QC, representing the Probation Service, said O'Dowd's participation would pose "a high level of risk" to the service's reputation.

He argued that if he used the show to promote his status as a celebrity and earn "a lucrative sum of money" it could undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.

But Alison MacDonald, representing O'Dowd, told the court his Probation Service licence was designed to monitor his behaviour, protect the public and rehabilitate rather than punish him.

Mr Justice Bean, the judge hearing the case, said he would give his ruling on Wednesday after hearing the arguments from both sides.

London Probation refused the singer's request to appear on Big Brother as he is still on licence and wears an electronic tag.

O'Dowd was recently allowed to perform at Brighton Gay Pride in August.

Show axed

The singer, 48, was convicted of false imprisonment after admitting handcuffing Norwegian Audun Carlsen to a wall in his London home in April 2007.

Ulrika Jonsson and Davina McCall
Ulrika Jonsson won this year's Celebrity Big Brother

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said it could not comment on the case but confirmed producers were speaking to O'Dowd about appearing on the show.

Newspaper reports have claimed that the former Culture Club singer had been offered £200,000 to appear on the show.

Celebrity Big Brother - which begins on 3 January, 2010 - will be the seventh and final series of the show on Channel 4.

In August, the broadcaster announced that both Big Brother and its celebrity spin-off were being axed after one further series.

Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and US rapper MC Hammer are among celebrities reportedly being lined up to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in January.

TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, Take That star Mark Owen and comedian Jack Dee are among previous winners.

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