Nothing fake about Chantelle after her 'Big Brother' win

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First came the celebrities who were famous for being famous. Now, thanks to Chantelle Houghton, we have a celebrity who is famous for not being famous.

Late last night, the 22-year-old from Wickford in Essex won Celebrity Big Brother - the irony being that the nearest she had come to celebrity before the series was by appearing in pubs as a Paris Hilton look-alike.

It was the producers' great wheeze, throwing an unknown into the televisual goldfish bowl alongside the comedian Michael Barrymore - who came second - and the MP George Galloway.

While her housemates carried the burden of a greater or, more likely, lesser degree of public recognition, Ms Houghton had to convince them she was an F-list notable as a member of a fictional girl-band, Kandyfloss.

Some 21 days later, and having beaten the nine other contestants, the daughter of an Essex cabbie herself seemed perplexed at the result of reality television's latest gimmick. As the programme's host, Davina McCall, delivered the news of her win, she exclaimed to: "Are you sure you've got this right, Davina?" before rushing to collect her belongings, eager to try out her newfound fame on the waiting crowds and photographers.

The bookmakers most likely greeted the news with slightly less glee; more than £1m was thought to have been bet on Ms Houghton beating her rivals, which included the former boy-band member Preston, and Maggot, a comedy rapper.

Rupert Adams, a spokesman for Willam Hill, said the odds placed on Ms Loughton meant her victory was the only result which would cost the firm. "She is living the dream of so many people who watch Big Brother and her attraction is therefore huge," he said.

For Michael Barrymore, his success in reaching the final two was an indication that the public had been able to "see through" the negative publicity he has received in recent years. He had a 54.6 per cent share of the vote, to Ms Loughton's 56.4 per cent.

As the nation awakes today, it is likely that the irony of the victory of an anonymous Essex blonde in a showcase for the once-famous may have already begun to fade, as she begins to make the most of her exposure. Over the next four days Ms Houghton will tour daytime TV studios and showbiz offices to cash in on her non-celebrity celebrity, starting with a photo shoot and interview with the C-list bible, OK! magazine. She will then meet a mobile phone company interested in using her for an advertisement, and by Monday will be sitting with Simon Cowell, a man not unknown for promoting star-crossed wannabes.

Depending on how long it takes for newspaper gossip columns to tire of her, it is expected that Ms Houghton, whose estimated income last year was £22,000, will earn £150,000 by the end of March.

And the impresario of fleeting fame who will choreograph the "big-hearted, natural and bubbly" Ms Houghton's pay day? Step forward the publicist Max Clifford. Speaking before the result, he said much of her appeal was down to her "natural" manner. "As I have always said, anybody can be famous; it is just a question of going the right way about it."

Winners and losers (in order of eviction)


First to exit to a hostile reception, but an unlikely champion of feminism, defending her right to talk publicly about masturbation.

Verdict: Winner


As she left the house to boos, she said: "I'm quite a nice person actually."

Verdict: Loser


She needed the £50,000 fee to sort out financial problems.

Verdict: Winner


Where do we start?

Verdict: Loser


Wasted no time boasting about his sexual conquests.

Verdict: Loser



The Harvard-educated former Baywatch babe weathered a verbal assault by Pete Burns to remain in the house and show Maggot how to wear a pearl necklace as a thong.

Verdict: Winner


The surgically-enhanced Dead or Alive singer launchedinto housemates, and wore a fur coat that was the subject of a police investigation.

Verdict: Loser


Antics boosted sales for his indie band The Ordinary Boys.

Verdict: Winner


Notwithstanding his love of bling, the rapper kept his dignity when all about him were playing to the unseen cameras.

Verdict: Winner



On exiting he learnt of a private prosecution against him by the family of Stuart Lubbock, who was found dead in his pool.

Verdict: Loser



She has invented the concept of being famous for not being famous. Oh, and she will also earn £150,000.

Verdict: Winner