Australian Big Brother 2006: The Winner Revealed
After 100 days in the Australian Big Brother house at Dreamworld, the winner has finally been selected.
The weekend was both nerve-racking and eventful for the remaining four housemates – Camilla Halliwell, David Graham, Jamie Brooksby, and James "Max" Panabianco – enjoying a lavish lunch date with Big Brother, a secret visit from their loved-ones, and a double eviction on Sunday night. Late Saturday night the four shared their final dinner together in the house, relishing meatballs cooked by Max’s mother during her hush-hush foray into the house earlier that day.
Faced with the usual variety of controversy and critique, the popular reality TV show has survived yet another year to complete series six, with a total of twenty-three housemates having lived in the house over a three month period.
Sunday night saw the eviction of 20 year old “replacement” housemate, Max, and 26 year old gay farmer, David, of the original 15 housemates. Max exhibited extreme relief at his eviction, explaining he did not deserve to win after only three weeks in the house. The audience was introduced to David’s partner, Sharif, in an affectionate reunion between the couple on the big stage. The double eviction left Jamie and Camilla, both of the original 15, to spend their last night in the house together while Australia decided their fate. To celebrate, Big Brother treated the pair to champagne and an extravagant seafood banquet.
Camilla earned a reputation as the “biggest whinger” in the house, yet went on to survive 10 nominations over 15 eviction nights. She never won the Friday Night Games, only ever enjoying the spoils of the “Rewards Room” when invited by other housemates. Last Friday, Big Brother reminded Camilla that she had been “knocked out” in the first round of the games more than any other housemate in the history of Big Brother. She redeemed herself by making a teary-eyed, but brave, 15 meter “Leap of Faith”, earning a further $40,000 towards the prize money.
While in the house, Jamie formed a close relationship with 20 year old Katie, who was eliminated from the game in round 7. His trademark became the way he wore his baggy pants, hanging low to reveal his underwear, while his hair was central to his vanity. Evictee David commented that he would have got more “focus” out of Jamie if there were less mirrors in the house. Jamie made his mark on the house by presenting himself as a fun-loving, all-round selfless character.
Camilla and Jamie spent their final day in the house being pampered by Big Brother, with a selection of beauty products and clothing for the big night. Unlike past years, the two housemates entered the “games arena” to begin the finale. They were shown dramatic footage of world and local events occurring during their stay in the house. As previous evicted housemates entered the arena to accompany their final voyage, a number of video montages were presented which encompassed their time as part of the Big Brother experience. A particularly touching moment was the reunion of love-birds Jamie and Katie. Eventually the past housemates exited, leaving the duo to face the final announcement with only each other for support.
Voting complete, the time had finally arrived for host, Gretel Kileen, to open the envelope and reveal the eagerly awaited name within. The final results were extremely close with a split of three percent between winner and runner up. Camilla Halliwell, a 22 year old student and nightclub host, became the last evictee of the series. Left to spend several minutes alone in the house to contemplate his future as the ultimate winner of Australian Big Brother 2006, 22 year old fitness instructor, Jamie Brooksby, ran around the house repeating “Jamie’s goin’ nuts! Jamie’s goin’ nuts!” and “This is not a dream!” Then he looked in the mirror and adjusted his hair.
The original prize pool up for grabs was a cool one million dollars. However, after several fines during the series, and then winning a portion of the money back during the last Friday Night Games, the remaining prize totaled $511,000. Jamie had racked up fines worth $85,000. Continuing his reputation as a meaner and tougher Big Brother this year, the individual fines remained, and he received a total prize of $426,000.
This year the program has rated a mention in parliament with Prime Minister John Howard calling for an end to the show following an incident in which two housemates were removed from the house for breach of the rules. An investigation was conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and Queensland police but found no breach by Network Ten or the show’s producer, Southern Star Endemol. Head of production and development for Network Ten, Tim Clucas, said the show will “absolutely” return in the future.
Images courtesy Southern Star Endemol and Network Ten.