Nicola Rachel-Bert Grahame
28 April 1982
Nicola Rachel-Bert "Nikki" Grahame (born 28 April 1982 in Watford, England) rose to fame by appearing on Big Brother she was a housemate on Big Brother 7 in 2006. Grahame's conspicuous temper tantrums divided viewer opinion during her time on Big Brother and subsequently led to her being given her own reality television show. Grahame won a National Television Award for Most Popular TV Contender in 2006, and featured in a series of advertisements for Domino's Pizza. As of 2007, Grahame writes a regular column in OK!'s "Hot Stars" magazine. She appeared in the tenth series of Big Brother, competing in a Silent Disco task against Karly Ashworth, as part of the Big Brother UK Tenth Anniversary Celebrations. After entering the UK Big Brother house again in 2010 she placed 2nd in Ultimate Big Brother, concluding in her becoming the runner-up. She returned to the sixteenth series of Big Brother in 2015 as a Time Warp Housemate.
On 3 March 2016, Grahame was one of two 'international wildcards' who won a public vote to enter the fourth season of Big Brother Canada, she entered the house on Day 7 along with Tim Dormer who won the tenth season of Big Brother Australia. Grahame finished in sixth place, being evicted on 28 April 2016, which was Day 63 of the series, and also her 34th birthday. Grahame returned to the Big Brother UK house for the final time in 2018, during the last UK series, for a task. During her final diary room entry she stated; "there's something about this house where nothing else matters. Big Brother's played a huge part in my life. It will always have a place in my heart. Thank you Big Brother for everything. Literally everything."
Grahame spent some of her childhood and most of her adolescence in psychiatric hospitals, suffering from eating disorder anorexia nervosa, a condition that left her comatose and near death at the age of 12, something she has written about in two autobiographies called Dying To Be Thin (2009), and again in Fragile (2012), an updated rerelease.
Grahame appeared on In Therapy in 2017, where she talked about her mental health issues.
Nikki has described her early childhood as the "happiest ever", however a series of upsets followed, when at the age of eight, her parents divorced and her grandfather, to whom she was extremely close, died from cancer. Nikki was raised by her mother, Susan, after her parents' separation. Nikki—who has been described as a "daddy's girl"—was greatly hurt by the split. Nikki attended Northwood School, Potter Street, Northwood Hills, London.
Nikki's disorder continued to escalate until her parents had her admitted to the children’s eating disorders unit at the Maudsley psychiatric hospital in London. She was kept in for six weeks and then released, however she continued to starve herself and several months later she was rushed to an emergency unit at Hillingdon Hospital, where she was force-fed through a nasal tube. She was then transferred to Collingham Gardens child and family psychiatric unit in west London, where her weight was increased and after eight months she was allowed home. For 18 months Nikki remained at home and attended Northwood secondary school in Hillingdon, west London, before her weight started dropping once again. She was readmitted to Collingham Gardens for six months and then to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London where she was placed on a psychiatric and eating disorders ward.
Nikki refused to accept treatment willingly and has commented: "I was on a mission to starve myself to death...I was obsessed." This culminated in several suicide bids, when at the age of 12, she stole a packet of paracetamol from the hospital's supplies and swallowed 22 pills. Shortly after, Nikki's weight dropped so low that she fell into a coma and at one stage doctors predicted that she was minutes from death. Nikki was force-fed via a tube that was stitched inside her stomach, but when she regained consciousness she continuously tried to remove the feeding apparatus. She claims that her weight subsequently dropped to 17 kg (2 st 9 lb).
Nikki was eventually admitted to Rhodes Farm, an eating disorders clinic in Mill Hill, north London, and after six months she began showing signs of improvement. She commented: "I woke up one morning and thought, 'What are you doing to yourself?'" At the age of 16 Nikki had increased her weight to 40 kg (6 st 4 lb) and was released from the clinic, though she relapsed again, this time aged 18, and spent time in an adult eating disorder ward. In the process of overcoming her eating disorder, she developed obsessive-compulsive disorder (in her case involving a chronic fear of germs), which she still suffers from as of 2006.
In October 2011, Nikki confirmed she had relapsed and was suffering from anorexia again, stating she had checked into her 11th institution and weighed just 35 kg (5 st 7 lb).
Before Grahame rose to fame on Big Brother, she had appeared as an extra in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, and played a footballer's wife in Sky One's Dream Team. In 2003, she was a contestant on the ITV dating show Blind Date. In addition, Grahame, who has an NVQ in beauty therapy, also took part in the 2004 Miss Hertfordshire pageant, where she came fourth.
Big Brother 7
In May 2006, Grahame registered as one of the contestants on the seventh series of the Channel 4 (now Channel 5) reality television show Big Brother, where she entered the house wearing a pink playboy bunny outfit. While participating on the show she became known for her histrionics (such as temper tantrums) and becoming romantically linked to the eventual winner of Series 7, Pete Bennett.
During her stay in the Big Brother house, tabloid newspapers revealed that Grahame had battled with the eating disorder anorexia for the majority of her adolescence, and had attempted suicide by taking an overdose of paracetamol several times. The programme's decision to include a contestant with prior mental health issues was criticised in the media, with experts suggesting that she should not have been allowed to take part.
Grahame was nominated for eviction four times during her initial stay in the Big Brother house and was eventually evicted on Day 58, with 37.2% of the public vote. However, less than four weeks after her exit, she was voted back into the 'House Next Door' by 63% of the voting public, along with three other ex-housemates. She was then chosen to return to the main house by the surviving contestants and despite the fact that she had already been evicted, she was reinstated as an eligible housemate and was once again given the opportunity to receive the £100,000 prize handed out to the winner; a controversial move that prompted 2,700 viewers to complain to the premium rate phone watchdog, ICSTIS.
An ICSTIS regulator commented that the majority of complaining viewers believed that they were misled by the makers of Big Brother, as they were under the impression that they had voted to evict the ex-housemate permanently. In the wake of this, ICSTIS launched an inquiry which could have resulted in Channel 4 refunding an estimated £3 million to people who took part with phone or text votes. Despite ICSTIS ruling that Big Brother breached its guidelines and misled phone voters, Channel 4 was not made to refund viewers and was instead fined and forced to pay almost £50,000 in administrative costs.
Grahame subsequently finished in fifth place, with 6.5% of the final vote. The crowd response was less positive than it had been at her prior eviction, where she seemingly left to unanimous chanting and cheers. Host Davina McCall attempted to interview her but Grahame was reluctant to speak, claiming that she was scared and shocked by the "boos" from the crowd. Grahame's live interview was subsequently cut short and she was eventually led off the stage.
Media career after Big Brother 7
In between her two stays in the Big Brother House, Grahame presented the "Celebrity Spotting" section on one episode of The Friday Night Project, which is normally presented by Debra Stephenson. Grahame has also co-presented alongside Iain Lee on several episodes of his show Celebrity Soup, which aired on the satellite channel E! Entertainment Television.
During the time after her first eviction a reality TV series similar to Simple Life was announced in which Grahame would star. The programme followed her attempts to hold an everyday job and was apparently inspired by her disastrous turn as a PA in a Big Brother task assigned to housemates. The show, Princess Nikki, premiered on E4 on 6 September and ran for six weeks.
Grahame makes personal appearances, which includes participation in various television shows such as Celebrity Scissorhands and 8 out of 10 Cats, and appearances at student nights and clubs. On 24 March 2007, Grahame appeared on a special "Goodies and Baddies" edition of the game show The Weakest Link. During round three, she was the strongest link of the team (answered the most questions correctly and earned the most money), but was eliminated in round five after then becoming the weakest link of the team. Grahame took part in the Soccer Six charity tournament at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground in May 2007.
In June 2007, Grahame returned to the Big Brother franchise but this time as a reporter for its spin-off show, Big Brother's Little Brother. Known as "The B-Team", Grahame and several other former housemates were sent to various venues to interview people about their opinions on Big Brother 8. Grahame also had a Big Brother column in the magazine, OK!, where she discussed her thoughts on the series. In September 2007, Grahame was given a regular column in OK!'s "Hot Stars" section, where she writes her views on celebrities and recent celebrity events.
Ultimate Big Brother
On 24 August 2010, Grahame returned to Big Brother to compete in Ultimate Big Brother, where she was the only housemate to represent Big Brother 7 as a contestant. Grahame was nominated to face a double eviction in the second week of the show's run alongside five of her fellow housemates, Grahame survived the public vote after tallying less votes to evict than at least two of the other nominated housemates. On 10 September Grahame became the runner up in the show receiving a positive reaction from the crowd, after losing out to Big Brother 2 winner Brian Dowling in the final vote. Grahame's final placing was three higher than her placing in Big Brother 7.
During Grahame's time in Ultimate Big Brother she appeared to be more comfortable discussing her issues with anorexia, in particular she opened up to Vanessa Feltz who has also had problems with her weight.
Big Brother Canada 4
On 23 February 2016, it was revealed that Grahame was one of four 'international wildcards' representing Big Brother UK who could potentially be voted into the Big Brother Canada house via an online vote. Following the first eviction on 3 March 2016, it was revealed that Grahame had been voted into the house with Tim Dormer, the winner of the tenth series of Big Brother Australia. They both then became immune for the week.
On 14 April, Grahame was voted in the top two of who Canada wanted to see become the Head of Household for the week, but ultimately lost a competition of luck to fellow HouseGuests Nick & Phil Paquette. On 24 April, Grahame was nominated for eviction by HoH Cassandra as a "Pawn" to evict a bigger target. On 28 April, she survived this eviction when Jared Kesler was evicted in a 3-1 eviction vote. However, in a Double Eviction twist, Grahame was nominated once again for eviction alongside Dormer by the HoH Nick & Phil. Dormer was vetoed off the block and was replaced by Joel Lefevre. Grahame then became the tenth houseguest to be evicted in a 3-0 eviction vote, and received a standing ovation from the studio audience. Grahame was evicted on her 34th birthday, on Day 63. As a result of her eviction, Grahame was the 5th member of the nine person Jury who voted to decide the winner of the season on Finale Night. She along with 6 other jurors voted for Nick & Phil to be the winners of the series.
Grahame is the second Big Brother UK housemate to compete in an international version of Big Brother, the first being Jade Goody who after being a housemate in Big Brother 3 and Celebrity Big Brother 5 entered Bigg Boss 2 in India.
At the age of 18 Grahame was given breast implants on the NHS, because her years of anorexia had left her flat-chested. In April 2007 Grahame revealed that she had undergone corrective plastic surgery on her breast implants in order to fix "ripples" left by the first operation.
In February 2009, Grahame was injured in a car accident; she suffered cracked ribs and required stitches on her head. Grahame was in the back seat of the car and was thrown forwards when the car braked.
In March 2014, Grahame revealed that she was moving to France as she begrudged being recognised in public. In January 2015, Grahame revealed to Closer magazine that she had returned to the UK and had moved abroad the previous year to beat her anorexia.
|Dream Team||Footballer’s wife||Minor role|
|2006||Big Brother 7||Contestant, finished in 5th place|
|Princess Nikki||Starring role|
|2010||Ultimate Big Brother||Contestant, finished in 2nd place|
|2012||Celebrity Coach Trip||Paired with Aisleyne, eliminated first|
|2015, 2018||Big Brother||Guest housemate|
|2016||Big Brother Canada 4||Housemate, finished in 6th place|
|2017||In Therapy||One episode|
Awards and nominations
|2006||National Television Awards||Most Popular TV Contender||Won|
|Title||Year of release||ISBN|
|Dying To Be Thin||2009||ISBN 978-1-84454-946-7|
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