Sada lands firmly on her feet

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The Independent Online

The second ejected member of Channel 4's Big Brother house woke up today to freedom - and an end to the 24-hour broadcast of his or her life to waiting viewers. But judging by the experience of Sada Walkington, the victim shouldn't mourn the loss of fame just yet.

The second ejected member of Channel 4's Big Brother house woke up today to freedom - and an end to the 24-hour broadcast of his or her life to waiting viewers. But judging by the experience of Sada Walkington, the victim shouldn't mourn the loss of fame just yet.

Because when Andy Warhol predicted that everyone would get 15 minutes of fame, even he could not have guessed how elastic that moment would become. After docu-soaps, which made ordinary people famous for being traffic wardens, flight attendants, or even learner drivers, Big Brother has now cast upon the overstuffed world of celebrity a woman whose claim to fame is being unpopular.

Ms Walkington, the first contestant to be ejected from the surveillance show, a woman whose professional skills apparently extend as far as advanced yoga and an ability to do things with Tofu, has spent the week fighting off media offers that would have experienced presenters weeping.

Having made "a couple of grand" in her first week since leaving the house, and being awarded a holiday to Bhutan by ebookers.com, she has been interviewed on The Big Breakfast, appeared in most of the country's newspapers, and now wants to become a television presenter. "I'm looking for a cultural angle, very much to do with travelling and alternative lifestyle," she said on the Big Brother website.

The producers of the cult Ali G comedy show, she said, had asked her to be an "agony aunt" for the programme (Talkback, the maker, refused to confirm or deny this), while Loaded magazine had approached her to do a photo shoot. "It won't be topless or anything. I've got to negotiate."

And negotiate she evidently is. According to Loaded, the magazine believes it has already been elbowed out of the deal.

"She's got an agent and we haven't had any contact with her since," said John Perry, the acting editor. "I'm assuming she's gone to someone else. But we would still like her to do it."

The offer had been made "because she's a pretty girl", he admitted, but the magazine's real interest was in her story. "It's almost a British obsession with half-arsed voyeurism. It's a sort of Carry On thing. We want to know what really went on in the house."

Ms Walkington is represented by "artists' management" at Bazal, there having been too many offers for the contestants for Big Brother's PR company, Avalon, to handle. Curiously, she believes that most of her other housemates were in it only for the fame. "Everybody had a media slant they wanted to try to tap into," she said. "Nick [Bateman] wanted to be a sports presenter - and good luck to him." She denied that she only entered the project to gain publicity before the launch of her first book, The Babes' Bible, due out in September.

Dominic Mohan, the showbusiness editor of The Sun, is less convinced by Ms Walkington's prospects. "I'm not quite sure she's got the personality for long-term fame. I certainly don't think people warm to her. What she's got, she's got because she was the first out," he said.

But he thinks that, judging by the success of participants in Big Brother's European predecessors, which included record and magazine deals, the sky's the limit for the others. "Caroline used to be in a rave band. I could certainly see her doing something - topless modelling perhaps? A lot of people like Mel, possibly because of the Scary Spice thing. I'm sure record companies will be scouting around." A bit of sex in the compound would do wonders for their profiles, he said.

Meanwhile, betting shops are doing fine trade, with the Racing Post running a column on who bears best odds of the week. Channel 4 is celebrating - unofficial figures showed it had 11.6 per cent of the viewing audience for the week ending July 30, its best for nearly three years.

And whoever finds themselves the next voted "most unpopular" by housemates and populace alike might want to bear in mind the words of Mr Bateman as he comforted Ms Walkington, having helped to engineer her departure. "Don't worry. As each door closes, another opens."

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