Davina McCall is an English television presenter. She began her career on MTV before moving to Channel 4 with the cult hit Streetmate. She was the presenter of Big Brother during its run on Channel 4 between 2000 and 2010 and enjoyed it so much that she planned her family around the transmission schedule. All three of her children were born in September. Davina hosts a variety of prime time and popular programmes including ITV's Long Lost Family which seeks to reunite family members. Her own childhood was complicated. Her French mother was an alcoholic and drug user, and Davina was largely brought up by her father and grandparents. After a difficult childhood, she moved to London with her father and step-mother, and during some wild teenage years, she became a drug user. She has been clean since she was 25. Alongside her television presenting career, she has a large following with her fitness DVDs and healthy food cookbooks. In 2014, she undertook a 500 mile triathlon for Sport Relief raising more than two million pounds. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is the BBC hello, on Kirsty young, thank you for downloading this podcast of desert island, six from BBC radio for for rights. Reads: the music choices are shorter than in the radio broadcasts for more info nation about the programme. Please visit bbc dotcom, dont uk slash radio What Castaway this week is giving them a coal a queen of prime time for a long time, her glamour, warms and willing are ideally suited to the small screen. Big brother comic relief million per. job long lost family. Her tv shows spanned. The channels and the choices of millions of viewers-
She stands out from the immaculately quaffed pack for her ability to talk to real people likely are real people her. She, a bloody minded gumption interesting to a couple of years back she completed a five hundred mile triathlon raising well over two million pounds for the charity, helping the disadvantage she herself news that life can be tough ass. A little girl she really saw her mother would gone in her teens and twentys to fight drug addiction. She says, being famous, has done sides in the same way as not being famous has it stand size, I'm very, very grateful that I got famous after I got clean and after I was twenty five, which meant I worked in the real world and struggled to pay my rent so welcome to vehicle an important feature of your life. These days is,
We get the best selfies of the flap stomach and equally binding, and here too did you look like you, ve already done a worker. I haven't I haven't now: it's ok, don't worry Kostiei, I'm not that, and I think people say to me. I can't you work out every day and you dont know, because I have a job and three kids and twond. Crowbar n is really difficult and I got up six thirty this morning to get the kids breakfast then came in here and our shores hovels wake up a five. There should work out. The lawyer done. I believe, tat the work that you do. Of course, one of the things that you personally
it is for a decade presenting big brother. You know a lot of it does scrutinise people's lives. You talk to people about in my new shy the intimate the difficult moments of their life. The quid pro quo of that is of course, knew then asked about those moments in you. Ve been very open about your life, but is there any part of you that feels a little bit uncomfortable with revealing yourself, because we all have the right to private life. The thing that I have to tread wait, a coffee with which often I just want to bear about. As my husband and my children and I'm the one. That's famous I'm at that. Everybody knows about me, but I do run things by Matthew. If I'm going to talk about something, we went to marriage guidance counselor and I said I think it would be amazing if I could talk about that. But how do you feel about it if he'd said? No, I would have told you I said And all of you see, children have september birthday and I read once the device
Those children were born in september because to Vienna had commitments to big brother, and I would like this to this- is that I love big brother so much and the idea of somebody else presenting it. It was like over my dead body, so I said matthew we are not trying for baby until after the summer and so that we are three birthdays in september. When I come tell me the first one. What is it and why have you just entering? Ah the divine comedy neil Hannan there's something about his phrasing and his musicality and the way he orchestrates peace and the way that he considers really searing love, songs but use very committed lyrics, but make them sound, terribly says he's just a genius. I loved the lyrics in this song. It's quite romantic, a naughty and souci
and then quite heartbreaking and it's called homage referred just lies, intrude even I'm sort of ecstasy. I honestly I'm in raptures. I should tell a list- and that was a friend with the divine comedy and let's talk a little about the early days than the very early days you were born in nineteen sixty seven. Yes, you dad
drew your mum, french florence S, budget parents meet each other, I think they met on a boat going between france and the uk, and they both sat in the cordial stayed up all night talking and fell in love. Now that you ve written off her that she was eclectic naughty impish funny, irreverent and captivating. Tell me more about her. She was born to parent olga and I think they were very loving people, but they were incapable of kind of loving her in a nurturing parent away, so they just three money at the problem and throughout its life than an and must concentrate on her early, when she was a young man. She had alcohol and drug problems and how did that effect he viewed as a mom from what you can remember early early. My first recollection would be that she just would forget me when I was about
eight or nine on nearly drowned out I'm hit on the head in the sea by a little boat. You know I chose my came. A woman saw it and waded out to me and lifted me up out of the water, and just hugged me, remember: hugging! I really tight and coming down, and I remember standing on the beach thinking, shall I go and tell mommy and then thinking while there is no point she one mother me she always kind of came first. So her feelings and her worries and her life was always more important. We always sort of way around her and I suppose, to any anybody who has been the offspring of fanatics, that's a very very from your thing because they have their primary relationship in with their job of choice and it. So it's not gonna be with with the kids. So when your mother and your father divorced, it was your there who was granted custody as people were in those days, go out custody of you. How much was explained to you, but was happening, and I mean nothing actually
I knew that my mama gone somewhere and I didn't know why she haven't come back and I didn't know I was living with my grannie. I felt that guilty because I loved my Conny so much, but I thought I have over state. My welcome, like poor garnish will be, doesn't want me hair anymore, but as she she loved me, she was desperate to have me thou. But I didn't know that very confusing. You did spend a little bit of time with no, yes, I mean in the holidays, your memories from the time he has a minute was pretty captives. Chaos. I mean thank god my sister, who born when my mama's sixty so my mom was fifteen when she got pregnant with my big sister Anne she lived with, have french grandparents and my mom parents class was really exactly the same international repeating it soon found yes and say, thank god I went say with then when I was in france, or they will actually pretty solid, but my mom would come. come and go in in chaos, unfair! I I don't want it to sound, like a compendium of, because I thought she was kind of brilliant, but also lead crossing?
embarrassing, but exciting and she had no boundaries for miss. I could go out whenever, where whatever I wanted, high heels. Where make up do anything I mean anything, and I thought at the time that was great, but I know I looked back now so destructive.
so on the subject of your mother, leaving when you were young and not coming back and not being present, you said I am quoting the refugees it. I dont think she found it easy, I'm wondering what evidence you have for that which you didn't find easy. I haven't, we got any evidence of that. I just. I would like to think that my mom found it difficult. Otherwise I was that we need to pressing. Let's have you certain piece of music of inimical to me about, listen and why particularly close knit. While this is an ode to my dad and he introduced me to jobs and pepe his mom and he just fanatics, but my dad in Particular- loves g cunningham and obviously everybody knows the nutcracker sweet. But G Clinton did just the most brilliant swing, big bang version of it, and this is
the future yeah
That spot of the overture from minute, cracker, sweet complaints by tchaikovsky, arranged by ellington and straight on performed, thereby duke ellington and his orchestra. Dynamically. And as we know you said you went most of the time where a lot of the time in your early tilted to live with you, grandmother and grandfather. Your dad was working in london town. about whom life then with your grandparents mannheim life was amazing, is mighty. Grannie looked after her mother nor grandma, she was just go run. My life in france is always pretty chaotic mad. I really appreciated the roots Pepe gave me and she was always cooking. When it's perfect issues in the garden. She grew or unfair to screw her on fruit, and did you have
an abiding sense as you were growing up of difference of separateness from other people, because if you were picked up from the school play, it would be by your grandma, not by your mother. You had assistant, but she wasn't with you was that something that should have built in you incrementally, as you grew up nicely, the thing that made me fail. Sat apart from the fact that I couldn't let s talk about what is going on in france, I hadn t lives and I in some way wanted to protect my man, because I was worried that people might not. Let me go back if I told him what was because I wanted to see her, but at the same time I knew what was going on with picking me up and that's if I mentioned that I might not be allowed to go back. I guess I only people that are experience they are experiencing. It will know what I mean, but it was weird I wanted to be with her will. Of course you do cause you hot words to love europeans. That's the way were built is to have the attachment so that the deepest thing you can have,
Is there a particular moment when you think, while she really did the she really just stood there, I mean there's a lot, but we think so act into my mind. This electric blue flunked fur coat and we were at once and she wasn't lying in the thing underneath it and she just flash people cause. She thought it was funny- and I was just dying inside, get guys giving her interest and her loving the interest, but me hating the interest that these men are giving her and feeling protective, but feeling fun rebel and needs. protection myself and not knowing where to get it and seeing people pity me hold you. For example, we were caught up ten levin, so small music room, a cool tell me about your search. What's this site, I mean nobody's really hard, for this was the famous track, but the whole album is amazing because it was produced by the inevitable
davy wonder and he was married to sorry turn. It really reminds me of my mom when she came back to live in london after she'd spit out with my dad. She must another englishmen my sister used to come over visit. Sometimes this was her third husband and this the album from that time in our lives, and we danced together made my sister, but this song in particular as well as leaders can guess that was so risa and your kisses sweet. You can still do the moves to that. Didn't like how much I can still gotta you went to live with your stepmother
and your dad in london when you are how old, that's just turning thirteen and the perfect mick. and was wrongly sizing, tell me what you got up to an we lived in shepherds bush and I so lately loved shepherds bush. It was so different to sorry, and I loved the mix of music, suddenly opened my eyes too lightly. Of right. I e those loads of light. Sound systems happening out in the streets, it was so exciting and it felt like being. We born, unfortunately, I think I was already slightly careering off the rails. When I went to live with my dad, my stepmom you already smoking already smoking authorities
Of course thirteen started my get twelve. How did you know in school? I was pretty smart back then, I'm pretty sure most of my brain cells waged by in the late eightys and the right thing, but I was a smart kid and I were. I got nine o levels then, and I got pretty good grades, but by the time it got to my aid levels. I just got to levels I flung tat. I did I was doing max you not be up in my room and they think I was studying, but I wasn't studying and I'd go round people's houses under the guise
Studying but I wouldn't be I'll, be at my boyfriend, so I mean I was pretty noisy and I feel quite sorry for my kids, because I just know what they can return to get out to son, I'm ahead of it all the time and when you got loose results, did you dead suit? You, though the kitchen table and say I was doing my dad was amazing. He just said what do you want from life? Where do you want to go? He said, because you can do anything, but you just have to wait wanted another time. Also, I don't really know. I just love music and I fell into a job at models, one on the men's desk representing male models, which nineteen years old you can imagine, was just the best job, and I did that for me. He is, but all the time always trying to either sing all or do something may cause running night clubs, the weekends which again was all about music and life bands and clubbing. So
nothing was con. Pointing towards Onawandah either get a career in music and then mtv launched a moment and then not. my shining beacon. I want to work their hold. That thought tell me about this piece of music. The vehicle found a delicate is really from late seventies, and it was when I started really beginning waiting enjoy music and it was the track the east to play quite a lot at the condom which is now cocoa in cameroon, and I was about fourteen only nifty. Look to. I we ve drinking, it was mad, and this is funny like one nation.
There also tents, blankets, again. One nation and retreated told me during that call you wear that states dance. I was some passing, but also swore the most amazing place because I used to go out in next to nothing. I went out once in a body gloves swimming costume path, timberlands. that was it units of rhetoric,
sounding teenage life. An you started to do what many people do you use drugs, recreational and thought I can handle this and its fun and then, of course it did what they often does, which has the fun turns into something else by the late teens. What was the reality of your drug use? I thought I had it all under control, but it was very much sort of white knuckling right. I'm definitely not gonna do anything until Right a night and then fraud- and I returned into Thursday night just to see me through on the weekends we're getting over another. But really I got bad and my early twenties, The thing was was this: I used to look a people in my early twentyth when I went up clapping and I started meeting a few people that would clean, and I think how Is it that I'm so out of it, but I'm not having a good time and yet you're, not drinking or taking any drugs and your much happy? The me am, I just couldn't quite get it taking drugs is like russian roulette some
people can take drugs and then put them down and walk away and have not life, never having touch them again, and some people pick up the drugs and their competent. Damn knows me and I'd witty cat quite carefully stayed away from alcohol, because I could say that my mother was now colic, so I thought I was being caught cooks. I didn't really want not much so just take a few drugs and sat on a what kind of common sense is that nicholas so did end up in a complete mess on when you were in a complete mess. What did your life look like until the last year? You wouldn't have known that my life was can paint my samina had a job mao's. Never on time ever I didn't steal. I didn't inject. These are all things that made me different from other
we'll talk at its over there, I'm not as bad as them. So it's ok, I'll carry on, I would have been absolutely destroyed. If I throw other people thought I had a problem with drugs and what was the turning point when I realized the other people knew. I had a problem with drugs and my best friend Sarah setting a yo, the topic of every dinner party. I go to one absolute mess you are and that you're lying to me. I know you're lying to me. I know you're taking heroin unknown. No, you know so just just. I can't talk to you any more account baby. I can't have the animal. Why did you tell me? What did you do when she saw? I was like waiting. Angry swore had tons, gonna walk. A friend a. U like just got really attitude. He really in, face and then left a man just cried nonstop for about eight hours. Until this is it. I've got to stop I had nowhere to go except for to stop
I did and I went to meeting that day and that was it but do yeah. I went to take a bunch of last my friend. I was feeling really really terrible at that point like quite soon an awful and I went to see her, and I said I'm really sorry, you absolutely right. I'm a mess and I'm gonna change, and I went to meeting that night at six o clock and everybody talk to me. I thought you were gonna, go junkies come out, they were really nice. That was it. Let's have units piece of music to vienna. Tell me about this. We're gonna, listen to your fists. Whitey chosen is, if you talk about sort, if he for it, we call about a time of my life when I was clubbing all the time, and this was the track that they would put on. And they could turn on every single light in the club and everybody would have their hands in the air, and there was kind of a collective energy, but went this
that anybody that was around at the time will feel again when they hear it. It's a weird thing is a button, a switch that switches only hit song is cool. Can you feel it? I certainly count on it. as far as by tat time did you feel it was? Can you feel lives by philip b?
and told terry and many millions of people watched you in twenty fourteen. Do this, I'm gonna use the word horrific because it was It was a five hundred, my fire flown. You were going from edinburgh to london. You were doing it for sports relief to raise money. You raised a very significant sum over two million. Could what possessed you to say? Yes, I whistle to think or now I can't do this- do this, but I've got such low sort of experts visions of myself and the night. She I do is, I think, god I'm capable of so much more than I give myself credit for So sometimes I think I don't think I can Do this, but I'm gonna say yes, because. Maybe I will do so in the end. It will make me feel amazing, and thus it is yeah that sport relief challenge. I cheat things that I literally didn't think were human possible of myself. I mean I mentally I'm.
Longer than I ever imagined. I would be. One of them was swimming loot windham you you had. You have some morbid fear, willie of didn't dark water. Lots of people will understand share that few indeed, but they wouldn't put themselves in late windermere. God knows what temperature and god knows what time in the morning and sam swim across it. You did that and you became at one point. Seventy from a documentary eyewash hypothermic what you were on the age of high collar. I was at the time of hydrogen. I mean I am I kept going. I dont know what me going a one point. I was so painful. Sarah, my best friend was there. she said it was the most painful thing to watch ever because at one point I was doggie paddling. I couldn't lift my arm out of the water anymore. I was just shutting down and I was just desperately trying to get to the other side. The temper of the water was five degrees, the shock of putting your face in that kind of water.
Somebody's ripping off your face with the clause, but you could have quietly turn that nobody would have ever known. that you had a conversation where you said you know no but you? Why did I say? Yes, that's what I'm asking you didn't. I dont know cause it's really weird mentally. It's me. It's get over, didn't yeah, I'm not cry every time. I thought about it. For you, I saw some footage of thumb and she had gone to school. This is a qualified visited before she was working, a quarry in there He was in high school uniform and I showed me that on sport left, I I was an absolute right after that time for some more music dream cool term about this you're sick. What can I say about Kay? push this woman. I went to see her inconstant last year and howled through the entire concept, every single track. Every breath she takes is magic, and this is from hounds of love, which is my favorite bush album.
and this is Jacob life. Kate books and I notice that was to give life to vehicle you're a mother of three. As we know, how has a well we all mother, if we mother influence by what's happened to us. How much has what happened to you that we ve heard about the influence? The way you try to prepare an
you just naturally on appeal to your three kids- was constantly just trying to be perfect, I'm so uptight and tense and I thought I was being very relaxed. But in retrospect I look back and you know I gave myself such a hard time about everything. I was desperate to not repeat the same mistakes and to be everything, and you can't be everything all the time. It's impossible. And also you know, Matthew needs attention and I need attention and their life. I had to work such as I had to just let go of the reins bit of becoming that if a control free, it was exhausting, did you own relationship with your own mother repair at some point for a moment fat. A second. So when I married Matthew, she'd been clean so before one we had been speaking she's living south africa When I married Mathieu said, would you like to come to the wedding? I do love you to come to the wedding says she did
that before we went to meeting and we sat together, we both cried and we held hands It felt like you so amusing, just to be clear. I uneasy narcotics and unless anything else it was what I don't always dreamt of. mom supporting me me: sporting. Her is beautiful, had a great time at the wedding, and then we went on honeymoon and Matthew nigh popped over to paris alone. Up as part of our honeymoon go and see my mum, she went back south africa. Six months later, Matthew took me out scotland, four nights for my birthday and on the day of my birthday, face came up in the paper and it was like a headline of something like mommy. I need a meeting and she'd sold a story about me and us going to meet I'd. I'd never actually talked about going to narcotics anonymous because it's an anonymous fellowship and she blew my anonymity sort of right at that moment and her own unsold pictures,
of our honeymoon, and it was terrible. I mean it was the worst. It was not being stopped in the heart and she twisted it hard and she did that a couple more times. She she sold a couple more stories and I kept going back and trying to build bridges again and think that this time would be different the annex and acceptance by you- that this simply cannot be repaired, and I was in counselling when she goes witty. Second end. Just try and come to terms with the fact that my mother will never mother me. I got the news this. She was very very molly and one night in bed. I just lay there with my palms facing outputs, and I said out loud- I forgive you, I forgive you and then a few days later she died.
And my sister and I are hugging each other. We cried a bit and then she said I feel relieved and I said so. Do I and you know, for the first time we could. We could stop hoping that a mother could be anything. the thought she is and we could just live with in our memory and remember humble fondly assessment, music So this one is in memory of my lovely sister and we paid this a funeral which unlicensed witty sad, but it's always assume that makes me actually feel weighty, happy. and I am the harmonizing mother, like It'S- always joke about I have to harmonise to every single track harmonizing started with this track, a school level as well
I guess it was. old, saying. Never let her slip away and it was chosen by you did, leave him a call, because you said you play this at the funeral. This was the funeral of your sisters. She died in twenty She was young and it was a relatively sudden illness that she had to tell me about her importance in your because anything I read or see, I'm going into that piece of music. Indeed, I get the feeling that you were extremely close ministers. I think, because we shad ah mother I mean I've described bits of it to you, but now
but he will really get it without. Knowing her knowing what she was like We will only came together in my sort of mid late twenties. I'm became really close. Then what was quite brilliant about my husband is. I met my husband was sharing a flat with my son and then, when we moved out at the flotsam moved in together use than a boyfriend. She came this then and there, got married and she stayed with us lots of people going also says: caroline gonna move out. As I know I done things, I'm matthews, I know funded thinks. I then we had adopt. married when we move to the country and she didn't come with us cause. She's like I hate the country, and then she's like I sought it, I'm coming and She moved into cottage naxos, our house, and it was a great time She was just in and out of our house part of the fabric of our family. I almost never have above without I sat on the floor next to me talking when you reach this island all on your own as
cost. You away, and will you have a plan? I mean, will you be getting things shipshape? Will you beat, but I think that the one thing that I've got, which has great for the desert island as that idea, Definitely by now know that I am capable of a lot more than I think come capable of I'll, be planning from the gatt go water immediately, then shelter, then I'll go about planting letting subsumed some on I'm already on it. Certainly deleting the call about your final this. What are we gonna hear some slim with some day she's from Canada and she's, not that well known over here, she's, not as that my husband introduce me to be lifted neil for five years and I fell in love with her as I fell in love with him and m. This was ah ah music yeah, I published sending nor you gonna very tricky. We're favours assets in music. If you need to know caddy here yet in Siberia lets you.
Yes, ouch that was soon and angel is time now to vienna. For me to give you the books, I give all of our castaways a copy offer the bible and the complete works of shakespeare, and they get to take their own book favorite book along with them. What's your book can and it still life with woodpecker by Tom robins and it's a love story and it so far removed from what I normally reed, I'm so shattered by the time I go to bed. I want a nice simple book to read and bed, and so I go for a sort of crime thrillers normally, but this book was a love story and it was set on a packet of
camel cigarettes as it so out there, but it's so beautifully written and descriptive so tight that use them you're like a luxury as well. You know what I'd want to take a bath Because I find true peace in my bath, and the children they kind of, knows It- I'm in the bath, I'm out of bounds. I've got candles going, do not set foot in this bathroom. This is my time. We should give you that both with the bathroom If you had to save just one of these tasks of all of the eight that you ve chosen, which one disk would it be, it would be angel samarkand because it was the beginning of a new phase of my life with max. and ever since I met him, I've looked forward and not backwards. It's yours to vehicle! Thank you very much for lessons he doesn't pleasantly.
you ve been listening to a download from the bbc. You'll find information on the radio for website bbc the code on uk slash radio for This is the bbc.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-19.