Nikki Grahame: The life and career of 'Big Brother' star as Channel 4 airs new documentary

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·3-min read
LONDON - JULY 14:  Nikki Grahame poses for photographers after being the  eighth person to be evicted from the Big Brother Seven House on July 14, 2006 in Borehamwood, England.   (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
Nikki Grahame rose to fame on Big Brother. (Getty Images)

Nikki Grahame's life and career is celebrated in a Channel 4 documentary on Thursday night, Nikki Grahame: Who Is She?.

Grahame shot to fame as one of the most famous contestants to have been on reality show Big Brother and stayed in the spotlight for years afterwards.

Read more: Big Brother's Glyn Wise says Nikki Grahame is 'looking down on us and smiling'

She passed away in 2021 from anorexia and the documentary tonight looks back at her personal and public life through the eyes of those who loved her.

How did Nikki Grahame become famous?

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND- JULY 21: Ex Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame visits the Big Brother studio after Jayne Kitt became the ninth contestant to be evicted from the Big Brother Seven House on July 21, 2006 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)
Nikki Grahame first appeared in Big Brother in the 2006 series. (Getty Images)

Grahame first found fame as a housemate in the seventh series of Big Brother, which aired in the summer of 2006.

She burst onto screens in a bunny outfit and immediately won over viewers with her quirky habits and enthusiasm.

Read more: Nikki Grahame's mum describes their final phone call

During her time on the show, Grahame's most famous moments included a series of dramatic diary room visits where she exclaimed: "Who is she?" about a fellow contestant, and others were she complained about the rest of the contestants wanting to keep the air conditioning on when she was cold.

Fellow Big Brother star and friend Imogen Thomas appears in the documentary. (Channel 4)
Fellow Big Brother star and friend Imogen Thomas appears in the documentary. (Channel 4)

She was also known for her romance with housemate Pete Bennett, who went on to win the series, and she was briefly voted back into the show a few weeks after leaving but was evicted again.

In the Channel 4 documentary, her mum Susan explains how appearing on Big Brother had been Grahame's life-long dream and the adoration from viewers had boosted her self-esteem for years afterwards.

However, her best friend Carly – who she first met in an eating disorder clinic as a child – says that the hysterical reactions and rants she became known for in the house mirrored how she had reacted to coping with anorexia while in hospital.

Which TV programmes did Nikki Grahame appear in?

Pete Bennett and Nikki Grahame during 12th Anniversary National Television Awards - Arrivals at Royal Albert Hall in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Richard Lewis/WireImage)
Pete Bennett and Nikki Grahame briefly dated. (WireImage)

After leaving Big Brother, Grahame landed a number of presenting roles and panel shows including a role in the spin-off series Big Brother's Little Brother.

She also returned to the house in 2010 to take part in Ultimate Big Brother, a mix of former contestants from both the main and celebrity series, where she was runner-up, and had a stint in Big Brother Canada in 2016.

Read more: Michelle Heaton apologises for being too scared to visit Nikki Grahame

In 2007 she starred in reality series Princess Nikki which saw her trying to hold down a series of everyday jobs, and in 2017 she featured in the series In Therapy where she spoke to a therapist about her anorexia.

How did Nikki Grahame die?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Nikki Grahame attends the SpiceUp London VIP launch at Business Design Centre on July 27, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Nikki Grahame passed away in 2021. (WireImage)

Grahame passed away in April 2021 at the age of 38, due to complications of anorexia.

Her weight had plummeted again during lockdown and she had been released from a two-week hospital stay the day before after a fall, and was due to enter a private specialist clinic the next week for treatment.

Grahame's family and friends, including Big Brother co-stars Imogen Thomas and Vanessa Feltz, had raised more than £70,000 for her private treatment which has been donated to eating disorder charities.

In the documentary, her friend Purdy says: "Lockdown was probably the worst thing that could have happened to Nikki. To be honest, if lockdown hadn't happened, we wouldn't be sat here now. That's the reality of it."

Nikki Grahame: Who Is She? airs tonight (Thursday) at 9pm on Channel 4.

Watch: Pete Bennett says he thought 'love and support' would save Nikki Grahame

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