Many faces of TV show winner (Nick McCullock)

Many faces of TV show winner Feb 18 2004

By Dean Valler

Few of the millions of viewers watching Coventry crooner Nick McCullock triumph in Stars in their Eyes would guess his past career – as a Chippendales-style stripper.

Nick, 34, of Exhall, was a beefcake who spent 18 months in the early 90s travelling around the UK and the rest of Europe performing with the Centurions male strip show.

When he broke away from the group – to be replaced by Chris Quentin, who played Brian Tilsley in Coronation Street – he formed his own team, The Olympians.

Nick, who also counts a previous career running bungee jumping on the Greek island of Crete, stormed to victory in Saturday’s ITV show with his cover of the Neil Diamond classic, Cracklin’ Rosie – and revealed to the Evening Telegraph he had to be “bullied” by a former boss into even auditioning for the slot.

It’s all a far cry from thousands of women willing him to rip his clothes off when he performed at venues including Bedworth Civic Hall and Leamington’s Spa Centre.

The former pupil of Nicholas Chamberlaine School in Bedworth admits that his latest venture as Neil Diamond is “very different” to his stripping days.

He said: “I wouldn’t like to imagine what people will think when they see the photos of me when I was with the Centurions.

“But being with the Centurions and the Olympians was a good life, and, as a young man in my early 20s, it had plenty of perks.” Now an area manager for the Gamestation computer games stores, Nick takes part in the Stars in Their Eyes final on March 13, which is being shown live on ITV1.

He added: “It was only while doing karaoke that my boss said I should enter this show, so it’s fantastic to be in the final.

“There are nine other contestants so I’ve got a one-in-10 chance. I’m looking forward to the experience.”

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