“I’VE definitely come out as a stronger person with regards to body confidence.”

Big Brother 2023 contestant Kerry Riches, 40, was buzzing with excitement when she got the call at the end of September confirming her appearance on the ITV reboot.

The NHS manager always wanted to go on the show when it was on Channel 4 and then later Channel 5 but was always put off with the stairs leading up to the house due to her having multiple sclerosis (MS).

However, as the casting directors were looking for people that had overcome hurdles or boundaries, she believed it was her opportunity to fly the flag for anyone with a disability – visible or non-visible.

Echo: Icon - Kerry RichesIcon - Kerry Riches (Image: PA)

And she was right because on October 8, she and 15 other housemates entered the new huge, colourful and fully accessible house at Garden Studios, in west London.

She was under the eye of Big Brother for three weeks and three days and feels “very privileged to have been part of a wonderful TV show and given the opportunity to raise awareness of MS”.

MS affects the brain and spinal cord, which causes potential symptoms, including vision, arm, leg movement, sensation or balance problems.

In March 2022, it was revealed the reality show was getting rebooted after five years, due to falling ratings, and would return to ITV2 and the network’s streaming service ITVX.

With the refreshed 40-day programme, it also got new presenters, AJ Odudu, 35, and Will Best, 38.

Echo: Presenters - AJ and WillPresenters - AJ and Will (Image: PA)

The Dunmow mum-of-one gave everything in the tasks, such as dressing as an ant and guarding eggs in the nest for “six hours” and sitting in her scooter in the freezing cold and having rain pelting down on her in Big Brother’s happy happy camp.

But one struggle was showering due to not being “very confident” with her body.

She told The Echo: “I really struggled with not being very confident, just navigating the whole showering thing with there only being frosted glass.

“I was that worried about it, I didn’t shower for two days because I thought I couldn’t do this.

“But the housemates were amazing, and I feel more confident now – 100 per cent.

“It’s not just that, but also overcoming that as a plus-sized woman on TV. All those little things that you don’t realise when you’re in there.

“I’ve definitely come out as a stronger person with regards to body confidence, and a lesson learnt is I’m OK being me.”


Joining Kerry in the house in a bid to win £100,000 was Jenkin Edwards, 25, Farida Khalifa, 50, Tom Bryant, 21, Hallie Clarke, 18, Trish Balusa, 33, Yinrun Huang, 25, Jordan Sangha, 25, Henry Southan, 25, Zak Srakaew, 28, Chanelle Bowen, 29, Dylan Tennant, 39, Matty Simpson, 24, Paul Blackburn, 23, Noky Simbani, 26, and Olivia Young, 23.

Echo: Housemates - Big Brother 2023Housemates - Big Brother 2023 (Image: PA)

She was “really close to every housemate, learnt so much from them, including social media from Farida, and met lifelong friends”.

Echo: Close - Kerry with fellow housemate Hallie ClarkeClose - Kerry with fellow housemate Hallie Clarke (Image: Kerry Riches)

The Halloween special saw the 40-year-old exit dressed as a mummy and through a coffin after a shock nomination.

She says it was an “incredible way to leave, but difficult to not say goodbye to everyone”.

Jordan was crowned the winner on Friday.

Her “ultimate” dream now is to be a Loose Woman or go on I’m a Celebrity.