29/01/2007

Shilpa Shetty wins 'Celebrity Big Brother'

Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty has won this year's controversial series of 'Celebrity Big Brother'.

The 31-year-old had become the focus of a racist bullying row, following her treatment in the house by other housemates on the reality TV show.

Former 'Big Brother' contestant Jade Goody, her boyfriend Jack Tweedy and her mother Jackiey and former S Club 7 singer Jo O'Meara and ex-Miss Great Britain Danielle Lloyd had all been accused of bullying Shetty during the course of the show.

More than 50,000 people complained to regulator Ofcom about the show and there were protests in India about Shetty's treatment. Carphone Warehouse also withdrew their sponsorship of the show.

The actress won the show with 63% of the vote. Speaking to presenter Davina McCall after the result was announced, Shetty thanked the British public for "a fantastic opportunity to make my country proud".

She also denied that Jade Goody was a racist, saying "people make mistakes".

Shetty is now expected to make millions from TV and movie deals following her appearance on 'Celebrity Big Brother'.

Goody, who was evicted from the show more than a week ago, had rowed with Shetty in the house and made several comments that sparked allegations of racism, including referring to the actress as 'Shilpa Poppadom'.

During her exit interview, Goody said that she was "disgusted" with her behaviour in the house. She has subsequently been dropped as a spokesperson for a bullying charity, seen her perfume 'Shh...' pulled from the shelves of The Perfume Shop, Boots and Debenhams and had the scheduled publication of the paperback version of her biography cancelled.

O'Meara, who was also accused of bullying Shilpa, remained unapologetic for her behaviour in the house when she was evicted from the show on Friday night. During her exit interview, O'Meara denied being a racist and said: "I'm not going to deny that Shilpa did aggravate me a lot. You can't click with everybody you meet,"

Danielle Lloyd and Goody's boyfriend Jack Tweedy were the first housemates to be evicted during last night's live final. Both looked stunned when shown footage of their behaviour in the house.

Lloyd said that she felt "terrible" and when asked what she had learned from her time on the show, she replied: "Not to be such a bitch".

Tweedy admitted that he did not like Shilpa to begin with, but said that had nothing to do with skin colour or where she was from.

Singer Ian 'H' Watkins was evicted next, followed by former 'A-Team' star Dirk Benedict. Jermaine Jackson, brother of Michael, was the runner-up on the show.

(KMcA)

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