reality tv

Reality star Jade Goody was told she had cancer on TV. She didn't know cameras were rolling.

On day two of British reality TV star Jade Goody’s appearance on the Indian version of Big Brother, Bigg Boss, she was called to the Diary Room.

The 27-year-old probably thought she was going to be given a fun task or asked a leading question about one of her fellow housemates.

Instead, she was handed a phone and told her doctor from back home in London was on the other end.

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While cameras rolled, the mum-of-two was given devastating news. The results of medical tests she’d undergone before flying to India were in –  and she had cervical cancer.

In the third and final part of new documentary series ‘Jade: The Reality Star Who Change Britain”, it’s revealed Goody had no idea she was being filmed as she sobbed, asking her doctor: “Are you sure someone’s not lying or playing a joke on me?”

“I was very mad. I told the production: no camera, no sound,” Goody’s handler said in the documentary as the footage played out for the first time.

Before that, much of Goody’s life had been lived in the spotlight. She’d made her first reality TV appearance on UK Big Brother in 2002, when she was just 20 years old.

Then, reality TV was still very new and no one had seen anyone like her before.

As well as rolling around in bed with fellow contestant PJ and getting naked during a drinking game, Goody became famous for her daft questions.

“Rio de Janeiro, ain’t that a person?” she famously asked. “Do they speak Portuganese in Portugal? I thought Portugal was in Spain.”


The media dubbed her “Miss Piggy” and attacked her relentlessly for being “thick”. When she was evicted from the house, after finishing fourth, she walked out to chants of “burn the pig”.

It might have been enough to crush some people, but not Goody. The media quickly decided they loved her, after all.

From there, the work flooded in. She starred in a string of her own reality shows, won Celebrity Stars in their Eyes, and even released her own fragrance, earning herself around $14.2million AUD.

She had two sons – Bobby, now 16, and Freddie, 14 – with fellow reality star Jeff Brazier. When their relationship ended, they remained friends, and Goody began dating Jack Tweed.

Things were going so well. Then, she agreed to take part in Celebrity Big Brother, alongside Tweed and her mum, Jackiey Budden.

Right from the start, Goody clashed with Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty, and was filmed calling her “Shilpa poppadom” on the show. When Goody was evicted from the CBB house, she faced huge backlash for her racist comments, with over 40,000 complaints being made about her.

Goody’s behaviour was debated in the House of Commons. An effigy of her was burnt in India.

And so, desperate to repair her public image, she had agreed to fly to India to appear on Bigg Boss. Shetty would also be appearing and Goody wanted to make amends.

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But she never got that chance.

Immediately after receiving her diagnosis, Goody returned to the UK for treatment. She had a radical hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But the cancer had spread and it wasn’t enough to save her. She began planning her funeral.

In February 2009, she married Tweed and was baptised alongside her sons. She died on 22 March 2009, aged 27.

“What an enormous impact on British society she made in such a short life,” Big Brother presenter Davina McCall remembered in the film.

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