Jade Goody: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain is a three part series (yes, they strung it out for THREE HOURS), which looks at Jade Goody, one of the most divisive individuals ever to appear on a UK reality TV show and clearly brought in to cause trouble with her gutter mouth and propensity for starting arguments. She was quite a nasty person and after entering the house in Big Brother 3, the media whipped up a hate-storm around her.
This led to the pitchfork mob, and the “Won’t someone please think of the children?!” mob, getting involved. Channel 4 realised they’d created a monster and needed to roll back on things, so soon got the media back on side, such as even getting TV sycophant Graham Norton to appear on camera on the night by declaring her “My little Jade-let”. Bleah! And this comes after he took the piss out of her on his own show!
That was in 2002. Channel 4 gave her another chance, and with her additional celebrity status which had accured, in 2007 in Celebrity Big Brother, where she clashed with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, and Jade referred to her as “Shilpa Poppadom”, so as well as showing the world she’s a bully, she was also a racist. In 2019, that would make her a shoe-in for President of the USA.
So, for almost all of Jade’s issues, she brought them on herself. The only one she didn’t, came around 18 months later when she appeared on India’s equivalent show, Bigg Boss, and as much as she had garnered negative opinion about herself, I did feel sorry for her for the fact that she was told she had cervical cancer, not only whilst on the show, but via the camera in the diary room. She left the house soon after that, and quite frankly, while I know Big ‘Brother’ isn’t meant to be seen, that is the one time someone should’ve opened up a door in there and led her out into the TV studio for a proper discussion with a doctor, not just had a disembodied voice speak to her. But then, that’s what the ratings game is all about, and as ‘Nasty Nick’ (Nick Bateman) said in the first series when he was booted out for cheating, “You live by the sword, you die by the sword”.
Since her death, we have had to suffer one of her exes, hyperactive irritant Jeff Brazier, popping up on TV on This Morning and junk like those lottery adverts. So, he’s clearly coined it in on the back of associating with her.
Seeing her later on Graham Norton’s show, recreating the moment where she said, “Verucca? Am I minging?” reminds me of Bart Simpson when he had a brief spell as the “I Didn’t Do It” boy. There’s only so long he could churn out that catchphrase before the audience got sick of it, and it was about five minutes.
As a whole, this first episode told us nothing knew if you’d followed her life in the media at the time. Plus, at the end, Channel 4 go for the shameless cliffhanger at the end, hinting about how it can all go wrong… and that’ll come in part 2, but if you lived it at the time, no doubt there’ll be nothing new.
UPDATE: Episode 2 brings up her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother when she went back into the house, and ended up having rows with Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, and it was interesting when Davina McCall said that Big Brother producers’ talk to potential contestants is “Don’t do it! It’ll ruin your lives and that of your friends”, but everyone still wanted to do it. Journalist Paul Morley also made a good point when he said the house wasn’t so much her second home, but also her FIRST home, so she was made to feel very comfortable in there, but then they took her mother out of the equation and things spiralled down from there. So, this was a more engaging episode, but again, if you saw all this at the time, it doesn’t have anything new to add.
UPDATE: The final episode was broadcast and, as I alighted to previously, they covered the time when she was on India’s Bigg Boss and was told the news on air about the fact she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. That was the only time I felt sorry for her.
The rest of this episode showed how she knew she was exploiting her death-to-be so she could earn money for her children, yet in watching this entire three-part series from start to finish, it feels incredibly weird, like a sketch from Brass Eye.
Episode 1: 4/10
Episode 2: 5/10
Episode 3: 5/10
Jade Goody: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain continues next Wednesday at 9pm on Channel 4. The series is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can watch each episode on All 4.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.