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The BBC's David Sillito
"Craig has just won 70,000 but that is just the beginning"
 real 56k

Friday, 15 September, 2000, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
Craig wins Big Brother
Davina McCall
Davina McCall escorts Craig from the house
Liverpudlian builder Craig Phillips has won Channel 4's surveillance gameshow Big Brother - and will give his 70,000 prize money to a friend who needs a vital operation.

The 28-year-old builder accepted his prize on Friday from disqualified contestant "Nasty" Nick Bateman amid chaotic scenes outside the show's house in Bow, east London.

Craig Phillips on Channel 4's Big Brother
Craig greets Joanne outside the house
Over 7.5 million people took part in the phone vote to decide who won the contest - with 51% choosing Craig over former trainee nun Anna Nolan. Father-of-three Darren Ramsey had been eliminated earlier in the evening.

As Craig, from Seaforth, Merseyside, left the house at 2325 BST he announced he would be donating the prize money to a his best friend's cousin, Joanne Harris, who needs to travel to the US for a heart and lung transplant.

He said: "They won't put her on the waiting list in England because she's got Down's Syndrome. So we've got to take her to America for it and it's a lot of money.

"We need 250,000. We've been saving for a couple of years and we've got absolutely nowhere near it. All the money I have earned here is going towards it."

Anna Nolan and Tanya Paice
Together again: Anna (right) with girlfriend Tanya
The show has gripped viewers since July, and the vote was the biggest phone poll in British television history.

A group of 10 contestants entered the house nine weeks ago, and their movements have been monitored by a battery of cameras and microphones, with viewers able to watch proceedings on TV and the internet.

Bookmaker William Hill predicts the betting industry faces a 250,000 payout on favourite Craig's victory.

Inside the house earlier, he told host Davina McCall he was "excited and about to explode".

He said: "I thought my time was up every week. I was more nervous in the nominations than coming out tonight."

Darren Ramsay
First out: Darren runs towards his family
All the show's nine former contestants were gathered at the studios, while a crowd of 2,000 people guaranteed the housemates a hysterical reception.

Half an hour earlier, Anna, 29, left the house for an emotional reunion with partner Tanya Paice.

She told McCall: "I'm so proud, I almost walked halfway through. There was a lot of tension and I felt really lonely and depressed."

She had received messages from celebrity fans including singer George Michael, comedian Frank Skinner and actress Kathy Burke.

Darren, 23, left the show nearly two hours earlier.

Big Brother contestants Andy and Mel
Millions tuned in to see Andy's snog with Mel
In the studio, the former Millennium Dome worker cried as he was reunited with his three children, Shanice, Nuviea, and Zahnae.

Oblivious

Ten contestants moved into the Big Brother house on 12 July - and it is the first time any of the threesome have seen the outside world for more than nine weeks.

Highlights included "Nasty" Nick's eviction, Tom's massaging techniques and Andrew's lingering kiss with Melanie.

The series has also been a massive hit on the web, becoming one of the most popular sites in the UK and spawning many unofficial sites as well.

'Bright futures'

Nasty Nick walks out
Nick Bateman's disqualification was another highlight
Public relations guru Max Clifford said all three finalists could go on to bigger and better things if they are well managed.

He explained: "Craig has got a really good personality and a good Liverpool sense of humour. He could build a very successful career presenting a television programme about building, for instance.

"Liverpool desperately needs some good PR and someone like Craig would be ideal."

Clifford added that he had already spoken to most of the contestants' families - who had visited him for advice on how to deal with their sudden fame.

After the weekend's excitement is over, the building will be flat-packed and stored away, in case another series is commissioned.

Production company Endemol is giving first refusal to Channel 4, which has six months to decide whether to commission a new series.

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Craig scooped the 70,000 prizeBig Brother
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See also:

15 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Judgement day for Big Brother three
16 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Oh brother - what they missed
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15 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother set to return
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother's closing-down sale
13 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother reveals all
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