Celebrity Big Brother’s Bradley Riches reflects on challenges of autism

Heartstopper star Bradley Riches has opened up on Celebrity Big Brother about being autistic and the importance of being himself.

The actor, who joined the cast of Heartstopper for season two and is set to appear on the upcoming second series of BBC comedy horror Wreck, was one of 12 celebrities to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house last week.

While discussing his 2023 children’s book, “A” Different Kind Of Superpower, with fellow housemate and West End star Marisha Wallace, Riches explained that some aspects of being in the Celebrity Big Brother house can be challenging.

“I wrote a book, a children’s book,” he told her. “It’s basically about a boy who’s growing up, and then he gets diagnosed with being autistic… it’s me.”

Riches added that the experience of being on Celebrity Big Brother is “a lot”, and that despite coping mechanisms and having “so much fun”, he can often overthink things and feel he’s “not doing everything right”.

“That’s the main reason I wanted to come here, was to push myself,” he added.

Wallace was then seen comforting Riches, reassuring him that “you’re doing everything right and you’re being yourself, and it’s beautiful.”

Riches, 22, was diagnosed as being autistic at the age of nine, and explained in an interview with Metro that he hoped he could provide representation for young autistic people.

“I never saw an actor who was openly autistic, but we’re getting towards the right place with more autistic actors playing autistic roles, which should always be the case, otherwise it’s not truthful representation,” he told the outlet in 2022.

“Someone who hasn’t had lived autistic experiences can’t do the role justice. Netflix and mainstream media at the moment is heading in the right direction which is really exciting. But there’s more to do.”

He added: “I would love to see more neurodivergent actors on my TV because we all have different stories to tell and we need a space to tell them.”