Why everyone's a winner courtesy of 'Big Brother'

A book called
Nasty Nick's Guide to Being a Right Bastard, ghost-written for
Big Brother cheat Nick Bateman, will hit bookshops in two weeks, his agent said yesterday.

A book called Nasty Nick's Guide to Being a Right Bastard, ghost-written for Big Brother cheat Nick Bateman, will hit bookshops in two weeks, his agent said yesterday.

The book is the first sign that, now the television show is over, an unofficial race has started to see which of the housemates can best cash in on their new-found celebrity.

The publicist Max Clifford reckons that, of the three finalists - Craig, Anna and Darren - Craig has the best celebrity potential. "He could easily make between £500,000 and £1m in the first year," he says.

"He's got a lot of warmth, and the British like warmth. Being a builder, he might be a good presenter on a makeover programme, or he could do lucrative PR work promoting Liverpool."

Anna and Darren, he said, might both have television careers ahead of them, but Craig is the obvious star.

Mr Clifford, who had predicted earnings of £1m for Nasty Nick, now reckons his celebrity career might not run for long. "If he could show he was nasty, but underneath he was nice, there would be a lot of earnings potential," he says.

"He could, for example, be in a Walkers crisps ad, say, stealing crisps from Gary Lineker. The problem is that, underneath, he isn't coming across as nice, but as a bit snidey."

The Big Brother contestants on the celebrity circuit are taking different approaches to their new careers. Agents for Mel Hill, the good-looking flirt, say she is "taking a step back and for the moment doing nothing. She doesn't want to be forced into decisions she might later regret."

After Tom McDermott was kicked out of the house, he became a celebrity in Northern Ireland. Now, his agent says, "he is quite keen to push any modelling or acting, but he's keeping his options open, not rushing into anything."

Shaven-headed Nichola and lip-linered Caroline have flung themselves into the tabloid headlines with little sign of overall strategy for their futures. They knocked back untold quantities of champagne at the recent TV Quick awards, shouted abuse at Nasty Nick, indulged in provocative dirty dancing, and ensured their place on the front pages by knocking over television presenter Vanessa Feltz and collapsing themselves.

"There are plenty of people who can get drunk and fall over," says Mr Clifford. "That sort of fame lasts only a few minutes. Whether they can make it last depends on whether there is talent underneath. If not, their best bet is to get a famous boyfriend, such as a football star."

But it is not impossible to have a celebrity career, he says, even if you are a talent-free zone. "Several of the stars I have handled have had no talent at all."

Attention is now turning to the next series of Big Brother and the next set of instant celebrities. A spokesman for Endemol, the company that owns the programme, confirmed yesterday that Channel 4 had the first option on a new series - and that negotiations on terms would soon begin.

There may be some changes to the format in the next round. "The key concept will remain the same," he says, "but nothing has been ruled out on how to take the format forward."

If a deal cannot be reached, ITV is waiting in the wings to buy the show. Its director of programmes, David Liddiment, turned down the first UK series, despite the show's runaway success in Holland, because he thought it was boring.

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