The Lowdown on: Davina McCall

July 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Davina McCallLove her or hate her, you can’t escape Davina McCall at the moment. The annual Big Brother circus is in town, with TV’s favourite motor-mouth heading up proceedings. Thanks to a long career in front of the camera Ms McCall is one of the most recognised faces on television. Here’s the lowdown on her life and career.

Early Life…

Davina Lucy Pascale McCall (try saying that after a couple of drinks…) was born on the 16th October 1967 in London. Her childhood wasn’t exactly idyllic. Her parents separated when she was three and she went to live with her grandparents in Surrey. Her French mother Florence was quite the free spirit, moving back to Paris after her divorce which meant that young Davina only saw her during holidays.

Making Waves…

At the age of 13 Davina moved in with her dad and started at posh Godolphin and Latymer Girls School. Her difficult family life led to her developing anorexia in her teens. It was also during this time that she started flexing her performance muscles, starting a professional band. She decided to go solo when she was 19 with the help of family friend Eric Clapton who she dated for a while. But pop stardom wasn’t to be for Davina. Frustrated by her lack of progress in the music industry she decided to pack it in and get a day job. But it wasn’t your run of the mill office drudgery. Davina landed a job as a booker for Model One’s male division – nice work if you can get it!

But the showbiz bug had bitten and it wasn’t long before Miss McCall was back on stage, this time in the Kylie Minogue video for ‘Word is Out’. A string of jobs and bit-parts followed (including a stint as a singing waitress in Paris, and two years running a restaurant) until she found herself back in London where she threw herself into the club scene. Drugs were rife and the temptation was too hard to resist. During her early 20s Davina was addicted to alcohol and cocaine.

First Taste of Stardom…

It was guardian angel and one-time lover Eric Clapton who helped Davina out of her misery. Thanks to him she conquered her addictions and got her first proper TV job presenting a show on MTV. Her next few jobs were on late-night and cult shows such as ITV game show God’s Gift and dating program Streetmate. But it was good old Big Bro who catapulted Davina into the limelight. A fixture since the very first show, her dedication to the BB cause was so great that she battled through three series while pregnant. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Davina caused controversy in series 6 when she interviewed evictee Sam Heuston while wearing a bikini, and came under fire in the press for her heavy-handed interview technique with Makosi Musambasi.

Household Name…

Despite a steady salary from Big Brother Davina works between summer stints. Her CV is peppered with televisual hits like Popstars: The Rivals and Love on a Saturday Night as well as presenting gigs on the BAFTAs, Sport Relief and the BRIT Awards. She was given her own chat show on BBC1 in 2006 which never quite took off. Ratings never quite pipped 3 million and the show was axed after just one series.

Drama…

Not satisfied with simply presenting, Davina decided to give acting a go. She appeared in the sitcom Sam’s Game in 2001 but didn’t exactly set the thespian world on fire… She had more success alongside Leigh Francis on Bo’ Selecta and A Bear’s Tail, but has wisely realised that her true skill lies in presenting.

Personal Happiness…

After her rocky childhood, it seems that Davina has found happiness in her personal life. She divorced her first husband Andrew Leggett in the late 90s and married Pet Rescue presenter Matthew Robertson in 2000. The pair have three children – Holly, Tilly and Chester. Little Holly has already taken her first showbiz steps. Chris Moyles uses a sound clip of the tot saying “International Radio 1? on his breakfast show from time to time. You never know – maybe we’ll see her presenting Big Brother twenty years from now!

Future…

So what does the future hold for Davina? With Big Brother’s success on the wane she may lose her main meal ticket, but her popularity means that she’ll be in a good position to carry on presenting. A successful prime-time career, loyal hubby and three kids… It looks like Miss McCall has finally found peace and happiness after a rocky start. Long may she reign!

by Susie Gordon

Matt says:

Davina’s life reads like a particularly cool michelle houllebecq novel right up until the MTV bit then it all goes wrong.

Did you know she was mates with legendary female bounty hunter Domino Harvey?

What Happened?