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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Fans bet on Brother 'conspiracy'
Nick Bateman
"Nasty Nick": A TV hate figure
Viewers of the hit TV programme Big Brother believe contestant Nicholas Bateman is a plant and that the show is a set-up, according to bookmakers.

Punters have started placing bets on the unpopular participant being a stooge put in the house by the show's producers.

Channel 4 has denied the conspiracy theories, but bookmakers William Hill are quoting odds of 20-1 that Bateman - dubbed "Nasty Nick" by fans - is not all he seems.

One punter has asked for odds that Nicholas has been planted to stir things up

Graham Sharpe of William Hill
The firm's spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "One punter has asked for odds that Nicholas has been planted in the house by the programme makers to stir things up."

"Another believes it will be revealed that Big Brother is a complete set-up, and has been offered 100-1," he said.

Ten strangers entered the camera-filled house in east London on 14 July as part of an interactive TV experiment.

Each week one of them is evicted by phone vote, following secret nominations by their housemates, with the last surviving contestant scooping a 70,000 prize.


None of the housemates are supposed to have contact with the outside world and were all vigorously searched before they went in.

But some viewers feel Bateman is aware of his public unpopularity despite being isolated.

Caroline O'Shea
Caroline: vowed to "knock Nick's block off"
A newspaper had claimed stockbroker Nick managed to sneak in a small mobile phone on the day they arrived, but programme makers found no evidence of foul play.

As a precaution a telecommunications jammer has been fitted to the property so that no signals can be received in the area.

Millions of viewers have witnessed Bateman's duplicitous behaviour, currying favour with the other residents and then scheming against them behind their backs.

Rumours circulated that he was a relative of a Channel 4 employee.

Edited TV highlights and 24-hour internet coverage of the household have shown Bateman telling his housemates that his wife had been killed in a car crash.

His lie was exposed in newspapers and last week he confessed that he had made it up to get the sympathy vote.

'Absolutely genuine'

Despite his unpopularity on the outside, Bateman has yet to be nominated for one of the weekly evictions by any of his fellow contestants.

It's all good fun, but a lot of people will be losing their money if they are going to place bets like that

Channel 4 spokeswoman
But on Saturday evicted Big Brother contestant Caroline O'Shea called him "evil" and vowed to "knock his block off" when he got out.

A spokeswoman for the show disputed the allegations insisting both Bateman and the show are "absolutely genuine".

"It's all good fun, but a lot of people will be losing their money if they are going to place bets like that," she said.

Anna and Darren are 9-4 favourites to win Big Brother, according to the latest odds from Hill.

The next nominees for evictions from the house will be announced on Tuesday.

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See also:

10 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother finds no phone
12 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother's Caroline vows revenge
12 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Reality TV overload
11 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Channel 5 unveils Big Brother rival
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