Book of 'Big Brother' becomes a publishing phenomenon

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The Independent Online

Those who thought they had seen the last of the Big Brother housemates should brace themselves. The television ratings winner has also become a publishing phenomenon.

Those who thought they had seen the last of the Big Brother housemates should brace themselves. The television ratings winner has also become a publishing phenomenon.

Literary tie-ins to the hit series, in which 11 people spent weeks confined to a camera-ridden house in east London, have been rushed out to capitalise on its success, with advance orders that would turn best-selling authors green with envy.

Tomorrow, the former contestants will meet again at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, central London, to sign copies of Big Brother: The Unseen Story, published by Channel 4 Books.

The book, which hits the shelves less than two weeks after the end of the final round of the competition, has had advance orders of 200,000, and the publisher hopes to sell 500,000. The book's author, Jean Ritchie, spoke to the finalists the day after the series ended, and delivered the final draft the following day. Channel 4 Books says the printing presses have been running "24 hours a day".

But, like the contestants, it will not be alone. Blake Publishing is also rushing out Nasty Nick: How To Be A Right Bastard. Nick Bateman - the scheming stockbroker evicted from the house for breaking the rules - co-wrote the book with the comedian Mickey Hutton, and is pictured on the cover wearing devil's horns. It hasadvance orders of 100,000, and is to be serialised in a national newspaper.

"We've had loads of celebrity books, but never had anything like this," the company's managing director, John Blake, said yesterday. "It's incredible; you spend years putting a book together then one that takes you two weeks to do can sell this quickly."

A tour by Big Brother contestants has been announced by Channel 4, and Mr Blake says he will organise a rival "Nasty Nick" book tour, starting at Books Etc in Oxford Street on 9 October. They will not be the only contestants' books on sale. Sada Walkington, the first to be ejected from the house, has also helped write the recently published The Babe's Bible.

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