Pete Bennett

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For the Canadian football player, see Pete Bennett (Canadian football).
Pete Bennett
Nikki Grahame Pete Bennett.jpg
Nikki Grahame and Bennett at the Red Bull Air Race, Longleat, Wiltshire, 14 March 2008
Born Peter Alexander Bennett
(1982-03-22) 22 March 1982 (age 32)
London, United Kingdom
Residence London and Brighton
Nationality British
Ethnicity English
Occupation Media personality, singer
Years active 2006-present
Television Big Brother 2006
Spouse(s) Gemma Costin (2010–present, filed for divorce)

Peter "Pete" Alexander Bennett[1] (born 22 March 1982) is a British singer, author and media personality, who won the seventh series of the Channel 4 (now Channel 5) reality television series Big Brother in 2006.[2] He has Tourette's syndrome.[3][4] He divides his time between Brighton and London.

Media career[edit]

After unsuccessfully auditioning for the fifth series of Big Brother in 2004 (as seen in Vanessa Nimmo from Big Brother 5's tape on launch night), Bennett was selected as one of the original housemates for the seventh series in 2006. He was the bookmakers' favourite throughout and eventually won with 61.2% of the final vote.[5] The show was accused of exploiting Bennett's Tourette's syndrome: The Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA UK) claimed "the broadcaster had deliberately cast someone with relatively strong symptoms in order to make him a 'figure of fun'."[6] Some viewers expressed concern that the show had exploited Tourette's, while others felt it was educational and criticised the hypocrisy of TSA UK for wanting the syndrome brought to the public consciousness but complaining when it was.[7] Bennett was nominated for a National Television Award in 2006 for "Most Popular TV Contender"; however, the former Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame won the award.

Bennett's autobiography, Pete: My Story, was published in hardback in November 2006[8] and reissued in paperback in 2007 as My Journey With Tourettes.

Bennett was lead singer in a band called Daddy Fantastic, but he left the band after agreeing with a record label that he should become a solo artist.[9] He wrote music with songwriter and record producer Guy Chambers, but failed to gain commercial success with any releases.[10] Bennett went on to form another band, Pete Bennett And The Love Dogs, which played at Glastonbury 2007 and venues such as IndigO2 (The O2) London and The Cavern Club in Liverpool.[11]

He currently[when?] performs with his band Pete Bennett & The Love Dogs. He frequently uploads videos on his YouTube channel, MyArseForHire, featuring the band, along with other events. But, according to Pete on Big Brother's Bit On The Side, they're "not Pete Bennett & The Love Dogs anymore, it's just Pete Bennett. And I'm not a singer anymore, I'm a comedian."

Personal life[edit]

Bennett's father left his mother when he was young, and he did not see his father from the age of 14 onwards, although they kept in touch.[12] Bennett was bullied at school from an early age. He was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome at the age of 14 and as a result he missed a lot school time. He gained A* in GCSE art while attending a pupil outreach centre, Briset Centre in Eltham, south east London. It was around this time that he began taking an interest in music. Two years later he entered a competition organised by BT called 'Get Out There' in which his entry reached second place.[13]

Bennett dated the Big Brother 7 contestant Nikki Grahame. Their romance began in the last week of Big Brother.[13] However, in September 2006 Grahame announced that Bennett had made the decision to end their relationship, just over a month after it began.[14] He subsequently began dating his friend Cherry (real name Gemma Costin) who he described as his soulmate. Bennett and Costin's wedding in February 2010 featured on the Living programme Four Weddings. They are now obtaining a divorce.[15][16] He has indicated that he has experimented with fetishism and drugs, saying he was addicted to ketamine.[17]

Bennett, who is trying to become an actor, plays 'lead clown' in the forthcoming[when?] film The White Room by John Williams.[18]

An exclusive interview in Reveal magazine in April 2014 has uncovered the full story of Pete's life after Big Brother,[19] revealing that he was high on LSD at the auditions and the entire show was rehab for him. The interview also revealed that Bennett no longer uses drugs and is focusing on his acting career. His twitches and Tourette's symptoms have also faded considerably. In addition to his acting pursuits, Bennett continues with his music and art. He works closely with the music careers magazine, ALT-MU, to encourage sustainable careers in music and the creative arts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales, 1837-1983.
  2. ^ Pete Wins Big Brother 2006 Channel4 Website URL last accessed on 1 October 2006.
  3. ^ Big Brother 7. Pete Bennett. Accessed 21 May 2006.
  4. ^ U.tv. Tourette's sufferer Pete 'very brave' Accessed 22 May 2006.
  5. ^ "Big Brother - does anyone really still watch it? Yes, one in four of us actually", The Guardian website, 19 August 2006. Accessed on 10 September 2014.
  6. ^ Born, Matt. "Tourette's man 'exploited by Big Brother'", Daily Mail. Accessed 22 May 2006.[dead link]
  7. ^ Allen, Liam. "BB Pete: Exploitation or education?", BBC News, 18 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Pete's BB Book" Amazon.co.uk URL last accessed on 16 January 2007.
  9. ^ "PETE TO BAND: S*D OFF", Sunday Mirror, Accessed 11 September 2006.[dead link]
  10. ^ The Big Brother big money list The Mirror Accessed on 7 September 2009.
  11. ^ "Bennett makes most of his 15 minutes" The Scotsman Accessed on 21 November 2006.
  12. ^ "Big Letdown", The Daily Mirror, Accessed on 24 August 2006.
  13. ^ a b "Profile: Big Brother winner Pete Bennett". BBC News. BBC. 18 August 2006. Retrieved 24 February 2007. 
  14. ^ Ford, Louise (17 September 2006). "Nikki & Pete..It's All Gurn Wrong". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 24 February 2007. 
  15. ^ Wightman, Catriona (21 February 2010). "BB7 winner Pete Bennett ties the knot". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "Pete and Cherry Divorcing"
  17. ^ "'My book? I haven't read it yet'", The Guardian, 30 October 2006. Accessed 7 September 2009.
  18. ^ Ault, Richard (6 June 2013). "Big Brother winner Pete Bennett lands killer role in Stoke-on-Trent director's new film". The Sentinel. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "Big Brother winner Pete Bennett stars as a homicidal clown in the latest movie from the imagination of a Potteries filmmaker. ... John Williams has dreamed up a nightmarish vision of a band of murderous clowns. ... Pete's character, simply referred to in the script as 'lead clown' ... Pete, who traveled to Stoke-on-Trent from Brighton for filming, said: "I've been searching for acting jobs, because that is what I want to do now." 
  19. ^ "Big Brother's Pete Bennett - "I was homeless and suicidal".", Reveal, 22 April 2014. Accessed 10 September 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Anthony Hutton
Big Brother UK winner
Series 7 (2006)
Succeeded by
Brian Belo