Dowling victory brings curtain down on 'Big Brother'

Dowling victory brings curtain down on 'Big Brother'

Brian Dowling was crowned 'Ultimate Big Brother' winner as the long-running reality television show said goodbye to Channel 4.

The former Ryanair steward was catapulted to fame after winning 'Big Brother 2' in 2001 but looked shocked to triumph again, beating Nikki Grahame in the public vote.

Dowling burst into tears and shouted "Thank you so much" before dancing down the stairs to greet McCall as fireworks exploded.

He then joked: "I'm sure you've got it wrong."

Speaking about the impact of the show, he said: "It's one of the best things I could have ever done. It allowed me to be myself and allowed other people to accept you for who you are.

"The show is also about hope, in the sense that it gives people the opportunity to make their life that little bit better.

"I owe everything to the show, everything."

Last night's final marked the end of Big Brother's decade with Channel 4 which announced last summer it would not be renewing its deal with programme-maker Endemol.

The reality show may not end, however, as media tycoon Richard Desmond said he was thinking of reviving it when he took over the Five TV network in July.

McCall who fought back tears throughout last night's show, started with 'Big Brother' in 2000 and stayed loyal ever since.

For the finale she shed her usual black outfits and opted for a strapless sequinned red party dress but later changed into mourner's dress, wearing a black coat and veiled hat which she then threw into the crowd.

She ended the show by saying: "I hate to say goodbye so I'm going to say night night."

Tantrum queen Grahame, who first entered the house in 2006 dressed as a Playboy bunny, told McCall taking part in 'Ultimate Big Brother' "has meant the absolute world to me".

"I'm so honoured to have been part of it," she said.

Grahame said she had now learned to contain her legendary temper, adding: "I have had to bite my tongue lots of times but I kind of erupted inside."

In third place was Chantelle Houghton who won 'Celebrity Big Brother' in 2006 despite being the only housemate who was not famous.

The Essex glamour girl, who had to pretend to be a singer with fictional pop band Kandy Floss, fell in love with Ordinary Boys singer Preston in the house.

The couple married but split after 10 months and later divorced.

They remained friends and viewers hoped they would reconcile during their second stint inside, especially as they marked what would have been their fourth anniversary.

Houghton, who admitted she still had feelings for Preston, told McCall: "It's a different outcome now. Obviously we're not going to be together."

She was often tearful in the house and said: "It's such a sad situation. I don't think I realised how sad it was until I spent so much time with him.

"I hadn't ever really got over what happened between us."

Preston remained oblivious to her misery until yesterday when she confessed, anxious that he would hear about it during his post-eviction interview.

"Everyone knows, and even Preston now knows, how I feel," she said, adding that she planned to "talk to him properly".

Preston, the second to be evicted last night, told McCall Houghton was "a flipping great girl" but he still remembered why they split up.

"It wasn't a Mickey Mouse glossy magazine break-up. It was really dark for both of us and messed us both up quite a lot."

The now-solo singer, whose full name is Samuel Preston, said the house was not the ideal environment to talk things through but admitted there were "strong feelings" between them.

He told McCall he would also need to talk to his current girlfriend and had "no idea" how his stint in the house might have affected the relationship.

'Celebrity Big Brother' 2009 winner Ulrika Jonsson was first out during last night's two-part finale, followed by Preston then "Nasty" Nick Bateman, who was asked to leave the first series in 2000 for trying to manipulate fellow housemates' eviction votes.

Bateman, wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan "It's only a gameshow", said: "The show has been amazing and I'm very sad this is possibly the last time it's on TV."

Victor Ebuwa, best known for a huge argument with fellow housemate Emma Greenwood during Big Brother 5, was fourth to leave.

The show also included a tribute to the late Jade Goody.

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