Wednesday 9pm – 10.05pm, Channel 4
It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the UK woke up to the sad news Jade Goody had passed away, she died peacefully in her sleep following a short, but very public battle with cervical cancer. She was a household name in Britain and had a rollercoaster life, she was born in Bermondsey and it is safe to see she had a very rough childhood – she spent much of her young life looking after her disabled mother, Jackiey Budden, who lost the use of her left arm and an eye in a motorbike accident. Jade recalls how she often missed school to care for her mother, hiding stolen goods as police raided their home and when she did go to school her mother often visited denouncing that she had hit Jade. Her rough upbringing was further compounded by her drug addict father leaving the family when she was just 2 years old, he died in 2005 at the age of 42 after an overdose, Jade recalls how he ‘didn’t have a single vain left in his body’ by the time he died.
Shooting to fame in 2002 as she appeared on Big Brother, she quickly became subject to ridicule for questions that included “is East Anglia abroad?” and believing that Rio de Janeiro was a person. Tabloids were particularly crasse, but many women’s magazines soon came to her defence, demonstrating a caring and compassionate person who actually was quite intelligent. The success of her appearance allowed her to appear in other tv shows and launch successful businesses. However, her appearance in Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 cast negativity and doubt on her character after she was accused of racism and bullying to Shilpa Shetty. Jade attempted to make amends in 2008 by appearing on Bigg Boss – the Indian version of Big Brother, however, it was while she was on this show she was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and she began forming her legacy.
This documentary focuses on her life, emphasizing the good the Jade Goody sought to do on her diagnosis of terminal cancer. The nation was shocked, a young healthy woman was dying before their eyes. Jade focussed heavily in promoting cervical screening, using her influence to encourage young women across the nation to attend those appointments. Her campaign saw an increase of half a million women between the ages of 25 and 64 attending smear tests, the phenomenon became known as ‘The Jade Goody Effect’.
Love her or loathe her, she has saved many lives through the work she embarked on at the end of her life, she truly changed attitudes in Britain and is worthy of the air time.
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