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The Independent Online

An eighth contestant was evicted from the Big Brother house last night in a final clear-out before today's vote to decide the winner of the £70,000 prize.

Elizabeth Woodcock, a web designer from Edinburgh, received only 2 per cent of viewers' votes in a poll that none of the housemates had been expecting. "I knew it would be me," she said.

The four housemates had been told only minutes earlier that one of their number was to be evicted. The vote leaves Dean O'Loughlin, Helen Adams and Brian Dowling in the house for the final vote today. By last night, 3,667,087 viewers had voted. Tonight one of the three will be evicted first, with the winner announced two hours later.

Mr Dowling, 23, an air steward, is the overwhelming favourite; some bookmakers have suspended betting with him at 1-5 favourite. He is unique among the final three for having a sharp wit. His employers, Ryanair, have painted good luck messages on one of their aircraft.

Ms Adams, 23, a Welsh hairdresser, has been startlingly successful at appearing to be dim – and by all accounts she is not acting. She is second favourite and her popularity, crucially among the tabloids, is rising fast, largely due to her romance with Paul Clarke, evicted last week in the final nomination by those inside.

Mr O'Loughlin, 37, from Birmingham, who describes himself as an internet entrepreneur, has been the sensible member of the household, but labelled "boring" by critics.

Items from the house started going under the hammer on Wednesday with an internet charity auction at eBay.co.uk, which will continue for a month. Lots include the life-sized group portrait painted by the five final contestants.

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