Great Britain

Big Brother crew reveal how Nikki Grahame won over show bosses with audition that made her an instant housemate

'A BALL OF FUN'

NIKKI Grahame was an instant hit with the Big Brother crew when she auditioned for the show back in 2006.

Reflecting on the impact Nikki had on the reality franchise following her tragic death on Friday, TV producer Paul Osborne recounted how it was instantly obvious she was destined for the house.

He wrote on Twitter: "Devastated to hear about Nikki’s passing and thinking of her family and friends who loved her deeply and supported her so much. Nikki came through my diary room during the BB7 auditions in early 2006. We’d already heard word that some girl was shaking up the group rooms.

"She sat down behind the black curtain and was so hilarious, and brutally honest and just a tiny ball of fun. She cracked us up so much we ran about 20 mins over the allotted time and could have talked with her for hours!"

Paul told how producers would make notes on sheets of paper with a brief biography of the person auditioning.

But there was no need to jot down anything on Nikki's other than "housemate", such was her likeability factor.

He continued: "Usually filled with lots of personality info and general reactions to the interview, the only thing I wrote on Nikki’s and underlined in capital letters was ‘HOUSEMATE’."

The Big Brother icon died on Friday following a three-decade battle with anorexia.

In the book, she recalled one girl at her gymnastics club making a cruel "big bum" remark, which triggered something inside her to believe that she had to be "skinny" to "succeed" in the sport.

She penned: "Somewhere in my seven-year-old brain I started to think that to be better at gymnastics and to be more popular, I had to be skinny.

"And because I didn’t just want to be better than I was at gymnastics, but to be the best, then I couldn’t just be skinny. I would have to be the skinniest."

Previously, Nikki's mum Sue told This Morning the moment she realised "something was wrong" with the star aged just seven, when they headed out for dinner as a family.

At the time, her father, who worked in IT for a London bank, became embroiled in a disciplinary action at work, which left him stressed and angry.

Sue's marriage to Nikki's father, who she was very close to, broke down in the wake of his work stress.

Reflecting on the heartbreaking period, Sue felt the tensions at their North-West home proved to be too much for her.

She said: "We had a lot of stuff going on. You know, my dad got very sick and of course that affected me and I think she was worried for me and I tried to put on a brave face.

"We had other things going on, my marriage broke up and my husband had struggles at work so I know (our home) wasn't a happy place.

"One point stands in my mind. She was seven and we went to a restaurant and Nikki stood beside me, she wouldn't actually sit, she was just beside me and it was around that time that I noticed, she started refusing to eat, that's the one thing that stuck in my mind."

Nikki had been open about her anorexia battle since finding fame in Big Brother back in 2006, releasing first autobiography Dying To Be Thin in 2009.


You're Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society - from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others... You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember, www.uk.movember.com
  • Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm

For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677 for adults, or 0808 801 0711 if you are under 18.

Nikki Grahame says she 'loves food and living' in heartbreaking chat about her recovery from anorexia on Big Brother

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