Former postman Nathan Evans’ rendition of Wellerman, a 19th-century folk song about the whaling trade, went viral during the Covid lockdown in the first half of last year and single-handedly revived the sea shanty. The 27-year-old Scotsman, who now has more than 1.5 million followers on TikTok, went on to be picked up by Polydor and had a No 1 in the UK singles chart.
The UK’s favourite trainspotter, real name Luke Nicholson, began making videos during the pandemic. They proved a surprise hit – he has 2.3 million followers – and has even “interviewed” former footballer Thierry Henry. Bourgeois, who was born in Harlesden, west London and then moved to Somerset as a child, has since quit his job to pursue his passion full-time and in January was named a brand ambassador for GB Railfreight.
Who knew that watching videos of a guy cleaning a pool would attract 12.7 million followers on TikTok? Miles, a Bedfordshire-based pool and hot tub engineer known as The Pool Guy, has proved a splash hit with his often strangely soothing and satisfying videos attracting as many as 150m views.
It’s not all dances and sea shanties. Personal trainer Mesha, who in 2013 was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease after a burst appendix, has used TikTok and other platforms to raise awareness and help others. An ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, his videos, which include showing how he changes his stomach bags, attracted as many as 171m views.
And the winner is – a cat
And further proof that when it boils down to it people go online to watch silly videos of animals, the most viewed TikTok in the UK last year involved a cat. There have been almost 200m views of “Mia the Cat” successfully navigating a path laid over rows of upturned paper cups in a hallway, set to the Mission: Impossible theme tune. Dogs on skateboards, eat your hearts out.