I owe everything to BB says champ Brian

ULTIMATE: Irish star scoops second chance in spotlight

Caitlin McBride

BRIAN Dowling has been named the Ultimate Big Brother champion -- nine years after first winning the series.

As Big Brother's second winner in 2001, Dowling was catapulted into stardom and has now been given a second chance at the spotlight, saying that he owes "everything to the show".

And the Kildare native (32) looked more shocked than anyone that he won, beating out kooky Nikki Grahame to the prize.

"It's one of the best things I could have ever done. It allowed me to be myself and allowed other people to accept you for who you are. The show is all about hope. I owe everything to the show. It's amazing," he told host Davina McCall.

The former Ryanair steward has been hailed as one of the show's biggest success stories, maintaining popularity throughout the last decade. He most recently appeared on TV3's Celebrity Salon.


Last night's final marked the end of Big Brother's decade with Channel 4 which announced last summer it would not be renewing its deal with programme-maker Endemol.

The reality show may not end, however, as media tycoon Richard Desmond said he was thinking of reviving it when he took over the Five TV network in July.

McCall who fought back tears throughout last night, started with Big Brother in 2000 and stayed loyal ever since. For the finale she shed her usual black outfits for a strapless sequinned red party dress but later changed into a mourner's dress, wearing a black coat and veiled hat which she threw into the crowd. She ended the show by saying: "I hate to say goodbye so I'm going to say night night."

Tantrum queen Grahame, who first entered the house in 2006 dressed as a Playboy bunny, told McCall taking part in Ultimate Big Brother "has meant the absolute world to me".

"I'm so honoured to have been part of it," she said.

In third place was Chantelle Houghton who won Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 despite being the only housemate who was not famous.

The Essex glamour girl, who had to pretend to be a singer with fictional pop band Kandy Floss, fell in love with Ordinary Boys singer Preston in the house.

The couple married but split after 10 months and later divorced.

Viewers hoped they would reconcile during their second stint inside, especially as they marked what would have been their fourth anniversary.