When Nick Leeson entered the Celebrity Big Brother 2018 house, he was described as the ‘most unlikely’ contestant. He was the most unlikely to be liked, the most unlikely to win and the guy whose name most likely meant nothing to you. But not only did Nick bow out in the final four, he did so with lovability.
The formation of family roles is an important cog in any Celebrity Big Brother series. It helps bring familiarity to an alien concept that involves 13 human strangers and a whole lot of tension.
Nick Leeson and Hardeep were the grumpy old uncles.
Whimsical, they often sat back and watched on as the youngsters quarrelled, whined and bantered there way through 26 days of solitary confinement.
Like family members at a wedding – who didn’t need to spoil one-others company with noise – Nick and Hardeep often reminisced in silence, relaxed by the relief that they didn’t need to conform to this modern concept of ‘fun’.
However, like any uncle duo, there’s going to be a favourite. This was Nick.
When it came to family feuds, the 51-year-old never hesitated to meet Hardeep’s views with a contrasting opinion; whether it was on hygiene, house duties, morals or simply to snatch “nah, that’s bollocks” when it came to a potentially sexist remark.
While it may have been Hardeep who articulated his defences with a battalion of cultured anecdotes and University Challenge-acceptable vocabulary, Nick was the one who earned both his housemates’ and the audience’s respect.
As the series petered along, the supposed 1990’s villain who ‘single-handedly brought down a bank’ looked more and more like your average bloke. The type of grumpy old fella that you’d meet in a local pub and end up buying a pint.
Although every CBB cast member was locked into the house with a ‘storm’ and a tainted reputation, Nick never attempted to impress, prove wrong or rectify any part of his life.
He simply wanted to show that he was human. And he did so perfectly.
Winner Ryan Thomas and runner-up Kirstie Alley were the bookies top two from the off and their final finish comes as no surprise.
But, for Nick, his performance on Celebrity Big Brother is proof that the nation has a soft spot for this grumpy British stereotype.
Here, you don’t have to be Natalie Nunn loud or Rodrigo Alves large than life.
No. We much prefer the bleak Brit who will happily tell you to f*ck off.