August 07, 2019
Goody’s transformation by the media from vilified hate figure on Big Brother to ‘authentic’ heroine brought her fame and wealth – and is a parable of our times
Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain review – tears, tabloids and a modern fairytale
Some people just have it. You can see it radiating from Jade Goody from the very first moments of the audition tape (VHS, for this is 2002, children) she sent in to apply for a slot on the third series of Big Brother: star quality. A more downmarket, domestic version of what we usually mean by that, but there, unmistakably. No wonder the show’s creative director remembers the person who happened across it as they ploughed through the mail sacks that arrived by the dozens every day shouting “I’ve got one!” across the room.
Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain (Channel 4) was a 20-year-old dental nurse from Bermondsey, south London, who became the biggest celebrity reality television had produced, and whose success has probably not been surpassed since. She transmuted her 64-day stint inside the Big Brother house into a seven-year stretch as a tabloid and magazine darling, amassing love, hate and money in proportions that just about make the game worth the candle. It might well have gone on longer, but in 2008 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer that spread rapidly and killed her in March 2009 at the age of 27.
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