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C4 'does good' following anger at returning housemates

LONDON - The return of evicted housemates to the Big Brother house attracted an audience of 5.6m last night, and raised £250,000 for charity, despite many viewers seeing the stunt as a con.

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The return of Grace, Lea, Nikki and Mikey to the show achieved a 33.5% audience share at its viewing peak and proved that viewers are a long way from turning off the show. 

Since Friday, viewers have been voting to bring four of the ousted housemates back to "the house next door".

Channel 4 is to give 39p of the 50p calls from this vote only to 'Big Brother' charities Shelter, the Teenage Cancer Trust and one other to be chosen by the eventual BB7 winner.

The remaining housemates are aware that four ex-housemates are in the secret house, but are unaware they will have to choose one of them to return to the main house, although some suspect this will be the case.

They will be in for a further shock when they realised that the returning housemate will be able to stay for the last week and will be eligible to win the main £100,000 prize, when the series ends on August 18. 

As many as 2,000 viewers have complained to regulator Ofcom that the money they paid for phone calls to evict the housemates over the past 12-week run has been wasted, and allowing them to return was unfair. Others have complained directly to Channel 4.

C4 has defended the tactics claiming they want to keep the programme fresh and "on the edge".

Some viewers have been asking for their money back after paying to vote out the returning housemates. 

Premium phoneline watchdog ICSTIS is investigating. It says viewers could be entitled to their money back, which could cost Channel 4 as much as £3m.

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