Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty has insisted that Jade Goody is not a racist in her first public comments on leaving the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Emerging as the series winner after attracting the highest percentage of telephone votes, Shetty acted with surprise when presenter Davina McCall suggested that her experiences in the house had caused controversy outside the Big Brother walls.

"I have no idea what's going on the outside. I kind of have an inkling but do let me know," she said, before being shown a montage of negative comments made about her by Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd.

Responding to the video, she said that "I just want to forget things" and insisted that "people make mistakes and we are all valuable".

"I know one thing for sure  Jade didn't mean to be racist. She may be short-tempered, but she's not a racist," Shetty said.

"I don't want people thinking they welcomed an Indian here and she created so much trouble. I just want to thank the whole of Great Britain for giving me this opportunity to make my country proud," she added.

Lloyd, who was concerned about the impact her behaviour could have had on her public image, came in fifth place but was evicted after Goody's boyfriend, footballer's agent Jack Tweedy, who came in sixth.

Ian 'H' Watkins was fourth while former The A-Team star Dirk Benedict emerged in third place. Jermaine Jackson, Michael's elder brother, came in second.

28/01/2007 22:07:28