Pranksters hit Big Brother nomination lines

Telephone rigging could push out Irish Thomas

Telephone pranksters are targeting the Big Brother eviction lines according to Channel 4's enquiry line Thursday.

The culprits have left messages on business answerphones throughout the country claiming to be Tom from Bow. Although Channel 4 does not reveal how many dud calls have been made, it is thought to be hundreds. When intrigued office workers return the call, they find themselves being put through to the "vote Thomas out" hotline.

Morgan Holt, editor of the Big Brother Web site is adamant that "this is not an effective way of rigging the nomination vote". The eviction lines have been frantically dealing with more than 1.5 million calls a week.

Perhaps surprisingly a spokesman for Channel 4 says "It is a public vote -- the say is with the public, and if the public choose to act deviously that's their choice."

The Big Brother Web site has been a massive target for hackers since its launch five weeks ago, and it now appears that the hotline has additionally been tampered with over the last three weeks. When Caroline and Thomas were both up for eviction, raunchy postcards were posted in telephone boxes around the country advertising a 'hot date with dusky Andy', which disappointingly channelled excited callers through to Tom's vote out line.

"There's little that can be done to stop this," admits the Channel 4 spokesperson.

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