Brian Dowling has been crowned Big Brother‘s Ultimate Housemate after being voted winner of Ultimate Big Brother on Friday night.

The 32-year-old – who had been the bookies’ favourite to take the title – beat Nikki Grahame into second place to take the title.

Chantelle Houghton – who had been second favourite – finished in third place.

Earlier in the evening Victor Ebuwa finished fourth, Nick Bateman came fifth, Preston finished sixth and Ulrika Jonsson was voted into seventh place.

Brian, a former air steward, was previously the winner of the second series of Big Brother.

Since winning, he has enjoyed some success as a TV presenter, most notably as the co-host of the children’s show SM:TV.

He shrieked “Oh my God!” when Davina announced that he had won before hugging runner-up Nikki – and made the most of his moment when it was time to leave the house.

“I’m going to take my time with this,” he said, “It’s the last time I’ll do it, I’m going to make the most of it!”

And having left the house to fireworks and a rapturous reception – and the sounds of a live band brought in for the finale – he admitted he had never even considered he might win the final.

“I believed it last night when I was lying in bed and I thought ‘Oh my God, I could potentially’ but then because people say it, you think it won’t happen,” he said.

“I thought I looked arrogant by saying ‘Oh well you know, maybe you’re right’. I think if you think it, it won’t happen.”

And he described his time on the show as “life-changing”.

“It’s defined everything I’ve done in the last nine or ten years,” Brian said. “It was one of the best things I could have done because it’s allowed me to be myself and allowed other people to accept you for who you are.

“It gives people opportunities to make their life a little bit better and I owe everything to the show. And people that voted again. You say thank you but sometimes thank you’s never enough.”

Meanwhile, runner-up Nikki Grahame said that she felt “honoured” to have been a part of Ultimate Big Brother.

“It’s meant the absolute world to me,” she said. “Being in the final two doesn’t seem real.

“The show’s just changed my life so much,” the former Big Brother 7 housemate added, “and I’m just so grateful for everything that you guys have done.”

And Chantelle Houghton – who finished third – faced a difficult interview, much of which was based around her reunion in the house with her ex-husband Preston.

“My head was a complete mess,” she admitted, “I was up and down, up and down. It’s just a sad sad situation and I don’t think I realised how sad it was until I spent so much time with him.

“I feel like I’ve come full circle,” she added. “I feel like I went in there, met him…it’s a different outcome now. Obviously we’re not gonna be together.”