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Davina McCall

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Davina Lucy Pascale McCall[1] (born 16 October 1967) is an English television presenter and actress who works on British television. She is best known for presenting the UK edition of Big Brother (2000-).

 

Background

Although she was born in London, at the age of three McCall went to live with her grandparents in their Surrey home after her parents' marriage dissolved. Her French mother Florence whom McCall has described as something of a "wild child" returned to Paris, and McCall would see her only on holidays. She continued to see her father Andrew, a graphic designer, at weekends before moving in with him and his new wife Gaby when she was 13.

McCall attended the Godolphin and Latymer Girls School, a famous independent school in Hammersmith, London, whose alumni include celebrity students Nigella Lawson, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kate Beckinsale. During her teens Davina developed the eating disorder anorexia, which she has attributed to her fractured childhood and a desperate need for attention. At the age of 15, while studying for her nine O levels and later two A levels, McCall sang professionally with a band; however when she was 19 she decided to go solo. During this time she dated old family friend Eric Clapton, who also produced her demo music disc and helped her to try to crack the pop music world.[2][3] Dissatisfied with her near misses in the record industry, she gave up singing and took a job at Models One on the men's desk as a booker. She also appeared in a Kylie Minogue pop video, Word Is Out, in a striped sweater and beret, in a nod to her French ancestry. Later, she ran a restaurant for two years and worked as a singing waitress in Paris. However, after a failed Moulin Rouge cabaret audition, she returned to London where she quickly became a fixture on the club scene, which eventually led to her becoming a nightclub hostess. It was at this time (during her early 20s) that McCall became addicted to drugs, heavily using cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.[4]

Davina McCall on BBLB

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Presenting

After difficult times, Eric Clapton helped Davina turn things around. In 1992 she landed a job presenting her own show on MTV.

A lesser known fact was that she was the Female Voice Dubber on the first series of Channel 4's Eurotrash in 1993. In 1995 she went on to host the ITV game show God's Gift and she later went on to present the game show Streetmate (Channel 4) in 1998. Since 2000 Davina has also presented Big Brother (see below for more information), she has also presented the BRIT Awards in 2000, as well as the BBC charity show Comic Relief on several occasions. She presented the ITV show Don't Try This At Home in 2001, Popstars: The Rivals (ITV1) in 2002, The Vault (ITV1), Oblivious (ITV1), the reality TV show Reborn in the USA in 2003, as well as an entertainment show on the subject of love and dating called Love on a Saturday Night (ITV1) in 2004. In 2004 she also presented the BAFTA television awards.

McCall has also tried her hand at acting appearing in Sam's Game in 2001, a Friends-style TV sitcom (also starring Irish comedian Ed Byrne), which was slammed by the critics and lasted only one series. She has also appeared in the Leigh Francis comedy sketch shows Bo Selecta and A Bear's Tail. McCall also provided the voice of an android version of herself in a lethal version of Big Brother in the Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf" in 2005.

Although popular with many, McCall's presenting style is not without its critics and she was voted 95th worst Briton in Channel 4's poll of the 100 Worst Britons in 2003.

She has featured as a guest on numerous chat shows, in 2005, McCall appeared on the BBC Two motoring show Top Gear, participating in the shows "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment. She rounded the track in 1:57.1, which earned a 67th place on the score board.

During 2005, McCall presented the BBC series He's Having A Baby, which received poor ratings. In December 2005 it was announced that she would be hosting her own BBC One prime-time chat show called Davina in early 2006. Early reviews were scathing of the show, and viewing figures flirted around the 3 million mark (at one point, dropping as low as 2 million), compared to over 6 million watching The Bill on ITV1 at the same time. In April 2006, BBC One axed the show due to the ratings not reaching expectations.

It was revealed in March 2006 that ITV1 had signed up McCall to host the BAFTA television awards for the second time in May. In April 2006 Davina was confirmed as the main presenter on Sport Relief on BBC One in July of that year, alongside friend Chris Evans.

She has since appeared as a host for Red Nose Day 2007 and, in conjunction, appeared in the video for Girls Aloud and Sugababes' cover of "Walk This Way", walking down a catwalk. She resumed presenting Big Brother on May 30, 2007.

McCall has starred in a documentary, Let's Talk Sex, about sex education, and how sex education is taught in Britain (one of the countries of Europe with the highest teenage pregnancy levels), compared with The Netherlands (which has one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe). She also has published a book under the same title.

In 2006, BBC Radio 1 DJ, and friend to McCall, Chris Moyles parodied The Feeling's song Love It When You Call to create a song entirely about her. The song, simply titled "The Davina McCall song" is one of the most popular parodies downloaded from website ChrisMoyles.net.[5]

On 5 July 2007 McCall was a panellist on the BBC's Question Time. It was a special 'Schools' edition, partly produced by students.

Big Brother

Despite holding many high profile jobs McCall is best known for hosting all eight series of Big Brother and all five Celebrity Big Brother. Although Davina will not return for a 2008 Celebrity version it has been confirmed that Davina will return for the ninth series to air in 2008.[6]. Whilst presenting Big Brother she has become known for her catchphrases such as "Big Brother House, this is Davina. You are live on Channel 4. Please do not swear."

During presenting Big Brother series 6, McCall caused controversy when she wore a bikini whilst interviewing contestant Sam Heuston. Shortly after this, McCall attracted some complaints for her hostile interviewing of housemate Makosi Musambasi on the final night, which was much criticised in the British press.[7]

During her time on Big Brother, Davina McCall hosted the controversial Celebrity Big Brother 5 series in January 2007 inwhich she gained widespread critism for her interviewing techniques with controversial housemates Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd, she however maintains that she did the best she could under difficult circumstances.

Currently, Mccall is the only permanent presenter for the show as both Dermot O'Leary and Russell Brand quit the show in 2007.

Personal life

After dating Eric Clapton, McCall married Andrew Leggett in 1997, but was soon divorced

In 2000 she married Matthew Robertson, presenter of Pet Rescue, and they have three children: Holly (born September 2001), Tilly (born September 2003) and Chester (born 14 September 2006[8]). Coincidentally, they were all born in the same month of different years, and McCall has been pregnant during Big Brothers 2, 4 and 7. She had all of her children at home and is a big advocate of home birth.

A sound clip of her daughter Holly saying "International Radio 1" is played most days by Radio 1 presenter Chris Moyles during his breakfast show.

Shows

  • MTV (1992)
  • God's Gift (1995)
  • Don't Try This At Home (1998)
  • Streetmate (1998-2000)
  • Big Brother (2000-present)
  • Celebrity Big Brother (2001-present)
  • BRIT Awards (2000)
  • Comic Relief (2001)
  • The Vault (2002)
  • Popstars: The Rivals (2002)
  • BRIT Awards (2003)
  • Oblivious (2003)
  • Reborn in the USA (2003)
  • Love On A Saturday Night (2004)
  • BAFTA (2004)
  • He's Having a Baby (2005)
  • Davina (2006)
  • BAFTA (2006)
  • Sport Relief (2006)
  • Comic Relief (2007)
  • Let's Talk Sex (2007)
  • Big Brother: On The Couch (2007)

References and Notes

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