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Talking Tourette's

The group briefly discussed it within in an hour of entering the House last night, but Pete opened-up to Shab about his condition as Day 2 broke.

The 24-year-old tried his best to explain what it was like living with Tourette's, but motor-mouth Shahbaz didn't really give him a chance to answer and kept asking more questions.

Still, Pete did at least get the message across that he frequently gets tired due to his condition. He also revealed that he had a bit of a rough time growing-up with it.

Putting someone with Tourette Syndrome into the Big Brother House has, rather predictably, proven to be a highly-controversial move.

Some people are up-in-arms at the fact, accusing Channel 4 of exploiting someone with a disability or vulnerable condition. Saying that, effectively they are exploiting everyone who goes into the House, disability or not.

After all, Big Brother, although originally something of a social experiment, is really about making money; for production company Endemol, broadcaster Channel 4 and even the attention-seeking contestants.

Talking on breakfast TV this morning, Roy Hillard from the Tourette Syndrome (UK) Association was worried that no-one would properly explain Tourette's to viewers of the show.

When quizzed about the impact of Pete's appearance on Big Brother 7, he said, "There are positive sides to all media, but on the other hand it could give the wrong impression. Pete seems very hyperactive and most Tourette sufferers don't want to be in the limelight".

Mr. Hillard was slightly concerned that youngsters suffering from the condition would get more flak, due to it being highlighted by the show.

However, in a textbook 'damage limitation' manoeuvre (albeit a more subtle one than Davina could ever manage), Dermot O'Leary also chatted to an expert on his BBLB show today.

After a quick explanation of the symptoms, it was stated that Pete appears to have quite complex Tourette's, which makes for more extreme ticks (grimacing, twitching, noises) and swearing.

When asked if Pete is likely to be in control of what he says, the expert confirmed that his responses would be mostly involuntary. However, he also noted that Pete is something of an extrovert; his point being that the singer would be quite a loud guy anyway.

Having conceded that anxiety can heighten the symptoms, it was also noted that Pete seems to be enjoying himself so far. Indeed, we must remember that Pete put himself forward to go on the show.

Lastly, when asked if Pete's appearance would have a positive effect on other sufferers, the Professor replied, "It's got to be a good thing, as millions of people out there will start to understand Tourette's more". We tend to agree.

Let's hope that if viewers end-up laughing at Pete, they do-so because of his personality and amusing antics, not just because of his symptoms.

That said, we can't help laughing out loud at some of Marty's ticks on Channel 4's brilliant offbeat series 'Shameless!'

If you'd like to debate the issue with other fans of Big Brother, why not head over to our Discussion Forums and participate in the relevant thread.

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