IT'S not very often that the atmosphere in a North village is crackling with tension - but that was before Fame Academy.

When the BBC's show is on the air, there's barely a TV in the North York Moors community of Castleton that is not tuned to the gruelling talent contest.

And the local pressure is about to go through the roof, with village lad Alistair Griffin beating the odds to reach the final four and becoming one of the hot favourites to win.

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter has all of his home village behind him, as the banners and posters adorning local homes, shops and cars clearly testify.

His mother Barbara, a retired headteacher, is a frequent visitor to the show in London and his eldest sister, Ruth, even made a trip from New Zealand, where she works as a doctor, to see the contest.

Family friend and teacher Maria Cox is among those leading the local campaign to get as many people as possible to vote for Alistair, and says she is is having no problems finding supporters.

She has organised leaflet drops all over the region and further afield, and countless fans are sporting Vote for Alistair T-shirts.

"Because Castleton is such a small community - we have only about 250 houses - Alistair has really captured everyone's imagination," she said yesterday.

* To vote for Alistair phone 09011 212 209 or text Vote Alistair to 83123.