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MEL: TELL TOM IT'S OVER; Irish hunk had hoped to wed flirt.

BIG BROTHER housemate Mel stunned Irish charmer Thomas yesterday by telling him that they will be nothing more than "just good friends."

But friends of the County Tyrone farmer, who became a huge hit with female viewers, been planning to ask the flirty 26-year-old to marry him.

One friend confided: "He's absolutely smitten."

Mel left the Big Brother house on Friday night after over two million viewers voted to have her evicted.

Over the weeks Channel 4 viewers had watched the sexy brunette share kisses with Andrew and Tom.

But it was the shy farmer from Greencastle who was in the Big Brother studio on Friday to greet her with a single red rose.

But Mel's ex-boyfriend was also at the studio on Friday night, fuelling speculation that she was never really interested in either of her game show housemates.

Mel dismissed the advances of her two housemates, and said: "It was a very intensive environment and I saw them on a friendship level, not a sexual one."

Boastful student Andy - who was later dumped by his girlfriend because of his closeness to Mel - looked most likely to win her affections.

Mel swore she would pack her bags after kissing Andrew before he left the purpose-built house in London.

But even before he was booted out , Mel - who also enjoyed on-screen teasing with Nasty Nick and dad-of-three Darren - lit up the small screen by switching her affections to sex symbol Tom.

The first sign of attraction between the pair emerged when they enjoyed a playful bedroom romp.

Tom, 31, got to grips with attention-seeking Mel during a playful wrestle when he stole her microphone batteries, forcing her to chase him.

And the pair got even closer when Tom gave a half-naked Mel an erotic massage.

Before his eviction from the house the pair wowed viewers with an on-screen kiss.

He tried to play down how smitten he was with the bubbly brunette, even dismissing his final encounter with her as a "farewell kiss."

But he secretly had big plans for him and Mel, later confessing he was saving himself for her, despite the legions of women fans desperate to bed him.

But Mel claims she got close to Andy because they went to the same university and had lots in common.

In a diary room confessional, she poured her heart out about their kiss, admitting she was terrified it may have upset her former boyfriend.

She told Big Brother: "The kiss didn't mean anything. I was sad at Andrew going. I didn't kiss him - he kissed me."

After her eviction, she admitted to Big Brother host Davina McCall that the footage of her snog with Andrew, was shockingly steamy.

She said: "I was quite surprised it was so close-up. I didn't expect it to be quite so passionate as it looked there and I had kind of forgotten about it."

Even though Tom is reported to have shared a kiss with fellow housemate Claire in a nightclub last week, close friends had revealed he was so keen on Mel that he even entertained thoughts of marriage.

Said one: "He'll be really hurt by this, especially when the world knows about his feelings for Mel. It's a very public rejection."

Yesterday, the Big Brother household was beginning its final seven-day countdown, with Craig, Darren and Anna, sitting out the final week and competing for the pounds 70,000 prize

But for those that have suffered eviction at the hands of the voters, it seems that life on the outside is one big party.

Scot Sada has landed an advertising contract with Internet firm Yahoo and a pile of promotional gifts, including the use of a pounds 16,000 Mitsubishi Shogun jeep for the nest year. Jilted Andrew is said to be consoling himself with No 1 Spiller beauty Sophie Ellis-Bextor as he gears up for a career as a TV presenter.

Tom, who entered the house to give himself time to consider his future, is still waiting to make up his mind over numerous modelling and TV offers.

Rowdy Caroline and Nichola have set about painting the town red since their release, with Caroline poised to release a cover version of Adam Ant's Prince Charming.

Claire cashed in on her fame by promoting insurance firm Norwich Union's entry in the BT Global Challenge yacht race, while Mel is already looking at a string of offers

But brewers Heineken have plans for the cheekiest project.

They want to reunite Nasty Nick and former nun Anna in an ad for their lager - with Nick playing an angel and Anna as the devil.
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Author:Mcpherson, Lynn
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2000
Words:769
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