Like most of the Big Brother 2002 team, Davina McCall knew Jade Goody would be a star from the moment she set eyes on her.
But as she watched the 21-year-old dental nurse from Bermondsey blunder her way from faux pas to faux pas in the house, she became increasingly concerned about her furture.
Jade’s extrovert ways saw her nominated for eviction that very first week, and Davina admits she would whisper a silent warning through the glass.
“Watching here car crash a little bit, I saw an innocent who slightly put her foot in it all the time,” she said on last night’s Channel 4 documentary, Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain.
“I used to go in the camera room and stand with my hands on the glass, and I’d look at her and think, ‘be careful.'”
But as Davina fretted, slowly the tide of public opinion began to turn in Jade’s favour.
Reports about her being raised by a crack addict mother endeared the nation towards her, and they began to see her attention seeking ways as a cry for love.
Breaking down, Davina said, “I remember Jade saying how she had always looked after her mum all her life, and I would look at her and think, ‘god you’ve gone into this first foray of being yourself and escaping that past life of drugs and addiction and then turning that around.
“I mean it was nothing short of fricking miraculous what she did in there.”
Jade would eventually leave victorious, finishing in fourth place.
But Davina’s forewarning for Jade to ‘be careful’ would kick into play when Jade’s entire career was derailed after a race row with Indian actress Shilpa Shetty in the Celebrity Big Brother house.
She became a pariah and was accused of ganging up on Shilpa with S Club 7’s Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd after calling her ‘Shilpa Poppadom’ after a row about Oxo cubes.
The comments sparked outrage in the UK and India, receiving more than 50,000 complaints and even being discussed in parliament.
Former Big Brother host Davina McCall also talks about the row in the coming two episodes of the documentary, recalling the moment she knew Jade’s life was “ruined forever” over it.
Davina says: “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.'”
There was no crowd there for the eviction, and Davina admits she was dreading having to tell Jade her career was essentially over.
She added: “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.”
*Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain continues Thursday at 9pm on Channel 4