Jon Tickle was the fifth contestant to enter the UK Big Brother house during the fourth season of the show in 2003.
Over the next few days and weeks it became clear that Jon was a 'legend'. The first few signs of this illustrious status came with his extensive conversations with fellow housemates about The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars novels.
Later, he took the opportunity to record in public his idea for a new kind of toaster.
"What’s the problem with toast?" he said. "Two slices pop up, you whip one out, spread the margarine. But by the time you get the second, the consistency has changed. Why not incorporate a time delay?"
And thus the Tickle Toaster concept entered the public domain. The idea was immediately protected by The Sun newspaper who patented it on his behalf. Kenwood is currently developing the toaster though Jon is not quite satisfied with their attempts so far. The toaster is supposed to start toasting the second slice later than the first in order to allow the user to spread the first without losing the warmth and moisture of the second. I, like many others are now paranoid with the consistency of slice two since Jon pointed this out. It is one of those things that we always knew but could never actually articulate. This is where the 'legend' label was consolidated.
There are a number of sites that catalogue quotes from Jon during his time in the house, though not as concise as they should be and certainly not in chronological order. These quotes are referred to as 'Tickleisms'. Like: "No! Naughty tomatoes!" and "If I could marry myself, I would."
He built a solar powered swimming pool heater with a hosepipe and a bin bag. Many say that that alone is enough for him to become next the Prime Minister. And if The Sun can get Tony Blair into office, they sure as hell could get Jon in too.
Then disaster. Jon had been nominated every week and made it through. The Sun mounted a campaign to save Jon from eviction and for a while it worked. But on the 29th day, two housemates were evicted instead of just the usual one. Of course Jon had been voted out by the foolish youngsters who saw only the 'boring' surface. Federico was also voted out, protecting the series ultimate winner, the golden boy from Orkney, Cameron.
The Blazin Squad fans and sheep-like idiots made this terrible mistake and didn't actually cultivate their own opinion. Of course, the Big Brother production team had shot themselves in the foot too by cooking up this half-baked double-eviction concept in the first place. Because of this, they lost one of the seasons best stars.
But the loss to the house was breakfast tv's gain. We were treated to lots of Tickle appearences on the Channel Four morning show RI:SE. It was a taste of Jon's media future as he was given his own slot 'Tickle on TV' reviewing that evenings viewing. Yet he wasn't in the house.
So. No Jon, no fun. Until...
...they actually gave viewers an opportunity vote back in an evicted housemate from a selection of the previous evictees! This idea was put forward by viewers texting the on screen scrolling feedback message board superimposed over the 24 hour live feed, in support for the evicted Anouska. Jon was back in the house, only this time he was unable to actually win. He was back for pure entertainment. This was weird. We had only just welcomed him into our hearts outside of the Big Brother house and then a few weeks later, he would be reinserted back into the lion's den. It was a fresh, funny and exciting idea. Jon knew exactly what the nation thought of him whilst he wound up the remaining housemates with the frustration of not knowing what he knew!
Jon was different now. He talked to us the viewer, directly to the cameras behind the two-way mirrors, instead of simply talking to Big Brother. He was now, as Federico said, a private eye appointed by the British public to weed out the real personalities in the house, particularly the 'wet rag' Cameron. Jon detested Camerons simpering, simple, religious, nice guy persona. Jon was convinced that he was a fake. But it seems that Cameron really is Orkney's answer to James Stewart... he won.
Jon continued his musings on life, the universe and everything, including a classic on Lo Salt. Whilst other housemates discussed matters of personality clashes and back stabbing, Jon discussed the fact that the sodium substitute of potassium was a far more dense substance and so logically regular salt was better for you than Lo-Salt. You see? Legend.
This is what you get on UK Big Brother, really bloody funny, clever, realistic people. You wouldn't get a Tickle on BB USA! And this is the injustice that seems to have become a pattern in Big Brother, the real star of the show, the one that the tabloid newspapers love, seems destined to lose the game and get kicked out, it happened to Jade last year and now our Jon.
It is my personal hope that Jon presents or produces TV shows from now on. I completely identify with Jon and (like many of us Tickle fans) aspire to be like him - the true winner of Big Brother UK 2003.