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Big Brother: Jade evicted, Shilpa plays on
H S Rao in London | January 20, 2007 11:54 IST
Sources suggested that more than five million viewers voted after Chancellor Gordon Brown, on a visit to India, broadly suggested that a call to oust 25-year-old Jade would be a vote "for tolerance."
The response was overwhelming; with 82 per cent of voters choosing to throw Goody out after her attacks on the 31-year-old Bollywood star.
There was a late flurry of sympathy for Goody after she wept on last night's show and made an impassioned plea that she was not racist.
On hearing of her eviction she sighed, hugged Shetty and said, "I'll be alright. I know why it is - it's because of what I said the other day."
Earlier Brown, stepping into the race row for the third day running during a visit to a Bollywood film studio in Mumbai told the SKY TV that he regarded backing the Indian actress as a positive way of showing Britain was "a nation of tolerance and fairness."
"There is a lot of support for Shilpa. It is pretty clear we are getting the message across," he said.
The eviction marked the end of an extraordinary week, which saw the apparent racism against Shetty on the reality show spark into an international diplomatic storm.
Before she was voted out, a tearful Goody who found fame after her appearance in Big Brother 3 in 2002, begged programme chiefs to let her avoid the eviction night crowd.
Goody said she was "petrified" by the idea of facing the public "because people think I'm a racist. I've never been more scared in my life. I swear to that."
Channel 4 granted her wish by barring the crowd that normally gathers outside the house for evictions.
Racial jibes at Shilpa Shetty by Goody and fellow contestants Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara had caused a storm of controversy, with over 40,000 people making complaints.
Shetty was referred to as a "dog" and "the Indian" and told she should "f*** off home."
Earlier it emerged that panicking Big Brother chiefs engineered a phoney rapprochement between Shilpa Shetty and Goody as a key sponsor pulled out and pressure grew to axe the show.
According to sources, a 90-minute talk with Shetty, executives manipulated her into saying she did not feel the victim of racism. They then compelled Goody to apologise to her.
The channel also caved in to accusations of profiteering over the row by saying all earnings from the bumper vote would go to charities.
The broadcaster and producers Endemol will still benefit from the controversy. Ratings almost doubled after the row.
Hertfordshire police, investigating complaints of racism, said last night they intended to interview all the celebrities once they have left the house.