Davina McCall recalls Celebrity Big Brother race row in Jade Goody documentary

Davina McCall has reflected on the Celebrity Big Brother race row for a new Channel 4 documentary about Jade Goody.


Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain starts Wednesday 7 August at 9pm on Channel 4.

The three-part programme will look back on Jade 10 years after her death from cancer.

Jade proved one of reality TV’s first big ‘personalities’ after appearing on Big Brother in 2002, becoming famous enough to return to the house in 2007 for the Celebrity series.

However that year saw Jade caught up in Celebrity Big Brother’s ‘race row’ involving Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. Over 44,000 complaints were made to Ofcom about the incident, making it the second most complained about moment on UK TV ever.

Speaking in the new Channel 4 show, Davina recalls: “Jade was going into that house as the nation’s sweetheart. We were excited about that. And I couldn’t wait to see what she brought.

“But I remember almost immediately thinking this is a bad combo.


“It’s like three British young girls all coming together, and then forming a gang basically. It started to be bullying and I was like ‘man you are careering off the tracks you are so going in the wrong direction’.”

She adds (via the Daily Mirror): “I remember thinking ‘Oh my God what’s happened?’ How it can all turn in a nano second. She’s now become the most hated girl in Britain. It was a bit like knowing you’re about to ruin someone’s life forever, but they don’t know it yet. Ooof.”

Dermot O’Leary, who hosted spin-off show Little Brother at the time, also contributes to the series.

He says: “It was absolutely insane, the story just got so big so quickly. I remember seeing… guys burning effigies of Jade in India and I thought this s*** has got absolutely out of hand.

“The incendiary nature of the whole thing made us really quite worried about her… at the same time it would have been remiss of me in my job not to hold her to account. Yeah, it was difficult.”

Celebrity Big Brother took a year off in 2008, while Jade went on to reunite with Shilpa when taking part in the Indian version of the show.


Two days into the series, Jade left the house after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

She was told in February 2009 that her cancer was terminal before sadly passing away a month later, aged just 27.