Nikki Grahame documentary splits viewers over whether she should have been allowed on 'Big Brother'

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·3-min read
Nikki Grahame poses for photographers after being the eighth person to be evicted from the 'Big Brother' house on July 14, 2006. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
Nikki Grahame found fame on Big Brother in 2006. (Getty Images)

Viewers of a documentary about Big Brother star Nikki Grahame and her death from a life-long eating disorder have been divided over whether she should ever have been allowed on reality TV.

Grahame first found fame in 2006 on Big Brother 7 and returned to the show a number of times, both in the UK, in Canada and on spin-off shows, as well as appearing in her own reality show Princess Nikki which showed her struggling to cope with a series of jobs.

She was known for her frequent dramatic outbursts on the show, but Channel 4 documentary Nikki Grahame: Who Is She? which aired on Thursday included her best friend, who she had met in an eating disorder clinic, explaining that the behaviour was very similar to what she'd seen from her friend as a coping mechanism in hospital.

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

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)
Nikki Grahame with Big Brother co-star and ex Pete Bennett. (WireImage)

Grahame died aged 38 last April from complications related to anorexia, which she had suffered from since she was eight years old and had spent 11 years of her childhood in hospitals being treated for her eating disorder.

One viewer of the documentary tweeted: "I’m watching #nikkigrahame and seeing BB in a whole new light. 20 years ago we thought Nikki was a drama queen playing up to the cameras, probably very spoilt in real life. Watching tonight I see she was very troubled with serious mental health problems. Entertainment? Nope."

Someone else agreed: "Watching #nikkigrahame on @Channel4 and you wonder how someone so fragile who'd spent 11 years in hospital could ever have been allowed on a reality TV show. Utterly irresponsible."

Another viewer wrote: "The documentary on #NikkiGrahame raised so many issues. A famous person couldn't get proper help for an #eatingdisorder in the NHS. And while she said Big Brother was best thing ever, shocking how it exploited people with mental health issues for entertainment for so many years."

Read more: Pete Bennett hits back after being accused of cashing in on Nikki Grahame's death

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 April 2021. (WireImage)

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

Other viewers questioned how Grahame, who had suffered from mental health issues for most of her life, had ever made it through psychological screening for Big Brother.

One person tweeted: "Does make you wonder how Nikki passed the mental health screenings they apparently had on Big Brother."

Someone else commented: "How the hell did #nikkigrahame pass the psychology test and all the interviews #bigbrother. She was a vulnerable adult and you took advantage to that."

Another viewer asked: "If that was how Nikki behaved in the eating disorder unit, why did no-one take her out of Big Brother and get her some help?"

Nikki Grahame's loved ones told how appearing on the reality TV show was her dream. (Getty Images)
Nikki Grahame's loved ones told how appearing on the reality TV show was her dream. (Getty Images)

However, the programme also showed Grahame's mother Susan, as well as her friends, explaining that being on Big Brother had been her life-long dream and that it had boosted her recovery in many ways.

They also said that they felt lockdown had been the catalyst for her relapse and eventual death as she struggled to cope with isolation and not being able to exercise in her usual way.

One viewer tweeted: "The C4 #nikkigrahame doc was a difficult watch, she was deeply troubled but appearing on Big Brother helped her live her dream. Very few get to do that. I hope wherever she is now, she’s finally at peace."

Someone else added: "Big brother was her life, gave her a purpose and a reason to live. That's what I took from it."

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

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