Heartstopper’s Bradley Riches evicted from Celebrity Big Brother in ‘cruel’ twist

Heartstopper actor Bradley Riches in Celebrity Big Brother.

Heartstopper star Bradley Riches has left the Celebrity Big Brother house in a shock eviction twist some viewers have dubbed “cruel” and “uncomfortable”.

Earlier this week, Riches, 22, became one of just six remaining housemates following the eviction of actress Marisha Wallace and TV presenter Zeze Millz.

The housemates were left believing they had made it all the way to the final, but, in truth, the public were voting to evict one more person before tonight’s final show (22 March).

In last night’s episode (21 March), the remaining housemates – Riches, Louis Walsh, David Potts, Fern Britton and Colson Smith – were told they would get to have a “rendezvous” with a loved one as a treat for making it to the final six.

After some emotional reunions with children, mothers and partners, Riches was the last to be called to the rendezvous area. While he was thrilled at the prospect of getting to spend a minute with his boyfriend, he was instead greeted by host AJ Odudu.

Emerging from the bushes, Odudu told an evidently stunned star: “As you can see, neither a friend or family member is here for you. That is because the public have been voting. I can now reveal that the seventh housemate to be evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house is you.”

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The lights in the rendezvous room, and in the rest of the Big Brother house, had dimmed red as the other housemates swiftly realised what was happening.

Riches was granted the chance to say goodbye to the others, reassuring them that he was “fine”, “happy” and “grateful” for the experience.

However, some viewers have branded the manner of the eviction “cruel” and “awful”, particularly considering the young actor had been open about his experience of being autistic.

Some fans expressed concern that, due to his neurodiversity, Riches may have found the shock eviction overwhelming, especially as he was expecting to meet a loved one. 

“That was such a brutal eviction, I feel so bad for Bradley. As a fellow neurodivergent person, I have no idea how he didn’t burst out crying and shaking, I know I would have,” one person wrote on X/Twitter.

Another scolded CBB, saying: “What an unkind way to evict someone, particularly as Bradley is neurodivergent and most likely finds change/uncertainty difficult. Shame on you.”

A third stressed: “Evicting Brad like this is beyond awful, not sure this was the best exit choice for your neurodivergent housemate.”

Others, though, reasoned that Riches may have found the standard eviction process – leaving via the main door and facing a cheering crowd outside – even more overwhelming.

Not all neurodiverse people find the same scenarios challenging or overstimulating, and some may cope with certain situations better than others.

Speaking to host Will Best in Celebrity Big Brother: Late & Live following his eviction, Riches said: “I didn’t feel upset. Something came over me… I was thinking about everything that had happened, and I was like I’m so lucky and grateful for the experience… I was just happy and grateful that I lasted this long.”

The majority of Riches’ fans were simply pleased that the British public got to see a shining example of a queer, neurodivergent person on TV.

“So very proud of Bradley and his journey on Big Brother. He gave every neurodivergent person out there hope,” one fan wrote.

Another added: “He will always be my winner, the representation he showed and being his true, honest self, proving neurodivergent people can do these things, and simply showing neurodivergence on TV has been important to so many people.”

Heartstopper co-stars Joe Locke and Kit Connor shared their commiserations. The former, currently in the US, wrote that he “got a VPN” to vote for Riches, while the latter said: “Bless you, Brad.”

The Celebrity Big Brother final airs on ITV1 and ITVX tonight (22 March) at 9pm.

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