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ASA to probe Big Brother golden ticket fix claims

Draw was rigged, complaints suggest

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will investigate complaints from TV viewers and newspapers that the Big Brother golden ticket draw was fixed, The Guardian reports.

One hundred golden tickets were hidden in special edition KitKat bars distributed around the UK. One lucky ticket holder would eventually secure a guest spot in the Big Brother house, which provoked a bit of light eBaying at prices up to £3k.

The eventual winner was 43-year-old stripper Suzie Verrico, who allegedly already "knew she was going to enter the house before she was selected, supposedly at random".

The UK's tabloid press has had a field day on the growing scandal. The Daily Star claims Verrico declared to drinkers in a London pub: "Watch out for me, I'm going into the Big Brother house," - before she'd won the competition.

The Sun, meanwhile, has dubbed the affair "Goldengate", and recently reported that Big Brother housemates apparently rumbled the scam when the draw was made by machine in the house's garden. Specifically, one of them claimed that the winning number randomly selected was not that corresponding to Verrico's ticket.

Other reports suggested that every ball in the machine carried Verrico's number 14, although Channel 4 later showed close-up footage of the machine which seemingly disproved this theory.

After her arrival at the human zoo, Verrico was recognised by several fellow contestants as having previously auditioned for the show on a number of occasions.

An ASA spokeswoman declared: "It has been alleged that the draw was fixed and that the winner Susie was preselected. We are investigating whether the draw was made in accordance with the laws of chance and with an independent observer as the CAP Code requires."

Big Brother big cheese Phil Edgar-Jones has already insisted: "There is absolutely no truth in any of the rumours that the golden ticket draw was a fix." ®

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