Davina McCall

Davina McCall

Davina McCall has presented Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother since the shows first went on air. She will present both for the last time in 2010. Here, an emotional McCall looks back over past series of Celebrity Big Brother, looks ahead to the forthcoming series, and reveals why she could never be a housemate herself.

I read that you cried when you heard that 2010 would be the last year of Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother. Is that true?
Yeah. I think it was just the shock of it. I just thought that Big Brother was going to go on for ever. I was quite devastated. But time is always quite helpful, isn't it? I ended up thinking "Well, the brilliant thing is, they've given us another year, and we can just make it a fantastic year. Let's go out with a big bang."

Your enthusiasm for the show comes across every time you talk about it. Why has it meant so much to you?
I think that anybody that watches it as much as I do will also have the same enthusiasm. Twitter has been a bit of a saving grace for me, realising how much it means to people. If I were to listen to people at dinner parties, they all get a bit snooty and intellectually snobby about Big Brother, and how it's the lowest of the low. "You don't really enjoy doing it, do you?"; I never really understand where that comes from. Maybe I'm just being naïve. When you've got lots of other programmes that do far worse things than Big Brother, it seems odd that it's got such an evil reputation. When you watch every single episode since its beginning, I think it's one of the cleverest, funniest, most moving and thought-provoking programmes I've ever seen. So I can't sing its praises highly enough. I'm always a bit dismayed when people ask me if I'm faking my enthusiasm. I get really defensive, because I really like it, and I feel I have to defend it.

Coming up, then, we've got the last ever Celebrity Big Brother. Are there moves afoot to give it a spectacular send-off?
I think everybody is really thinking about making this a really creative, brilliant send-off. I think that potentially there will be celebrities who are interested in doing it because it's the last year. All the people who think "I'll maybe do it one day" are now thinking "I'll never get this opportunity again!" So there's a bit of a rush on. I think we'll have very good people.

Any little hints as to who?
[Laughs] You know what's quite funny? I quite like not reading the papers so I've got no idea who they're even speculating about. But I can tell you that it's not Jordan! She's done enough!

Any little hints, then, about what might be happening in the series?
It would just ruin it. I don't want to give any inkling of anything. People love the surprise. I love the surprise a lot of the time.

It must be quite an operation, keeping the housemates' identities secret?
We're always happiest when people don't know who's going in, because it's so much more fun for the viewers, waiting to discover.

What would you say if they came to you and said "Davina, someone's pulled out, you have to go in"?
Oh, my husband wouldn't let me.

I don't believe you always do what you're told by your husband.
Oh, I do. I absolutely do, because he's really, really good with me and all my madnesses, and snogging David Tenant on Comic Relief and stuff. I push the boat out a lot, but I just think that going into Celebrity Big Brother would be the final straw. He'd hate it. He likes - we like, it's not just him - a private life out of our public life. That's really precious to both of us, and to our children. On Celebrity Big Brother there's nowhere to hide. You have to be prepared to bare all.

On the subject of your husband, do you ever tell him secrets about the show?
I don't tell him who the housemates are. I might tell him that the night before. It's too big a thing. If he got grilled by somebody, he might be tempted, or might let something slip. It's too big a thing. And anyway, he's busy with his stuff, so he doesn't really ask me. He'll start asking me after Christmas, I imagine.

Do you get sick and tired of people asking for little tips and hints and names?
No, because it's the one time I'm really good at keeping a secret. I feel quite smug about knowing something nobody else does. It's a bit like being pregnant, in your first trimester, that feeling of knowing something that no one else does.

You'll be presenting E4's Big Brother's Big Mouth again as well, won't you?
Yes, definitely. I really enjoy doing Big Mouth. It reminds me of when I used to do MTV. It's quite reminiscent of that, it's really anarchic. It's a lot freer than any other television programme I've presented in years, and anything can happen and quite often does. It's fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants television, which I quite enjoy.

Do you watch any other celebrity reality shows?
You know it's funny, but I don't. It's not that I don't like them - when I've watched little bits, I've found them gripping as well - but because I dedicate so much of my life to Big Brother, and I literally watch it every night, I almost can't do that again with another programme. When Big Brother finally finishes, I will probably immerse myself in another programme, but at the moment I spend 16 or 17 weeks a year watching Big Brother or Celebrity Big Brother. I've not missed one episode.

Do you mean ever?
Ever. Every single night. Or I'll Sky+ it. If I've missed two, I'll watch three in a night. I've never, ever missed one. So that's quite a dedication of time. I know these programmes - once you get hooked in - require the same amount of dedication from you, so I just can't do it.

What is it about Celebrity Big Brother that makes it the best?
It's unique, completely unique. For celebrities not to have anyone around them - no make up artists, no hair stylists or anything. I know they don't have that in the jungle, but they have contact with the outside world, they have contact with Ant and Dec, it's just very different. And in Big Brother you are isolated for quite a long time. And I think the thing that sets Big Brother apart from most other shows is the tasks. They're very, very funny.

Why do you think celebrities decide to participate in the series?
I think mostly because they'd like people to see them in a different light. Perhaps they've been seen in a negative light in the past, and they'd like to redress that. Or they just like the idea of being part of it. I'd love it, because I love the idea of doing the tasks. I love the idea of getting dressed up in silly costumes and playing games. I think it would be so funny. I don't think I could take the pressure of no contact, though. No reading, no television. I'd go mad.

On the subject of the tasks, have you ever tried any of them out behind the scenes?
Not really, but I've tried the all-in-one suits that they put the electrodes on, where your muscles go into spasm. That was really funny. It was a thing where you just seize up completely - it didn't really hurt, but it felt horrible.

Who have been your favourite celebrity contestants over the years?
George Galloway probably gave me one of my favourite moments ever on the show, with him pretending to be a cat. Coolio and La Toya Jackson were great. And I quite liked watching Pete Burns.

What have been your favourite moments?
Well, clearly the cat moment was very funny and Gorillagate, with Pete Burns' coat. And Mark Owen winning, because there was such a big crowd, and they were all really screaming for him, and Take That had split up a couple of years before, and he just came out and whispered in my ear "I've forgotten how to do this." I thought it was so sweet.

Do any interviews stick in your mind as having been particularly uncomfortable or difficult?
Well, clearly Jade, Jo and Danielle. That was hard. I had to level the accusations thrown at them, but give them a chance to say their piece.

You tend to try and find the good in most housemates. Have there been any celebrity housemates you found difficult or didn't warm to?
As an avid fan, even people that I find hard work you've got to laugh at, because we've been entertained by them for three weeks. So, for example, George Galloway I thought was going to be quite a slippery customer, but he had made me laugh so much. And actually telling him about that, and showing it to him, he kind of dealt with it quite well, I thought. I do try and find the good in people, but I also definitely try and hold them accountable for their actions in the house.

Do you ever find that you don't like the ones you thought you'd like, and you do like the ones you thought you wouldn't?
Yes, definitely. And what happens - particularly in Big Brother more than Celebrity Big Brother - is that somebody I haven't particularly liked watching in the house then comes out and gives a great interview, and I think "God, why didn't we see more of that when we were watching you?"

Who would be in your Celebrity Big Brother fantasy line-up?
Lindsay Lohan, Robbie Williams, George Michael. George Michael is an enigma, I love it. It would have to be people I don't know much about. People who are dark horses, a bit mysterious. Then you get to see a bit more about what makes them tick. And that's what it's all about.

Courtesy of Channel 4

Davina McCall has presented Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother since the shows first went on air. She will present both for the last time in 2010. Here, an emotional McCall looks back over past series of Celebrity Big Brother, looks ahead to the forthcoming series, and reveals why she could never be a housemate herself.

I read that you cried when you heard that 2010 would be the last year of Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother. Is that true?
Yeah. I think it was just the shock of it. I just thought that Big Brother was going to go on for ever. I was quite devastated. But time is always quite helpful, isn't it? I ended up thinking "Well, the brilliant thing is, they've given us another year, and we can just make it a fantastic year. Let's go out with a big bang."

Your enthusiasm for the show comes across every time you talk about it. Why has it meant so much to you?
I think that anybody that watches it as much as I do will also have the same enthusiasm. Twitter has been a bit of a saving grace for me, realising how much it means to people. If I were to listen to people at dinner parties, they all get a bit snooty and intellectually snobby about Big Brother, and how it's the lowest of the low. "You don't really enjoy doing it, do you?"; I never really understand where that comes from. Maybe I'm just being naïve. When you've got lots of other programmes that do far worse things than Big Brother, it seems odd that it's got such an evil reputation. When you watch every single episode since its beginning, I think it's one of the cleverest, funniest, most moving and thought-provoking programmes I've ever seen. So I can't sing its praises highly enough. I'm always a bit dismayed when people ask me if I'm faking my enthusiasm. I get really defensive, because I really like it, and I feel I have to defend it.

Coming up, then, we've got the last ever Celebrity Big Brother. Are there moves afoot to give it a spectacular send-off?
I think everybody is really thinking about making this a really creative, brilliant send-off. I think that potentially there will be celebrities who are interested in doing it because it's the last year. All the people who think "I'll maybe do it one day" are now thinking "I'll never get this opportunity again!" So there's a bit of a rush on. I think we'll have very good people.

Any little hints as to who?
[Laughs] You know what's quite funny? I quite like not reading the papers so I've got no idea who they're even speculating about. But I can tell you that it's not Jordan! She's done enough!

Any little hints, then, about what might be happening in the series?
It would just ruin it. I don't want to give any inkling of anything. People love the surprise. I love the surprise a lot of the time.

It must be quite an operation, keeping the housemates' identities secret?
We're always happiest when people don't know who's going in, because it's so much more fun for the viewers, waiting to discover.

What would you say if they came to you and said "Davina, someone's pulled out, you have to go in"?
Oh, my husband wouldn't let me.

I don't believe you always do what you're told by your husband.
Oh, I do. I absolutely do, because he's really, really good with me and all my madnesses, and snogging David Tenant on Comic Relief and stuff. I push the boat out a lot, but I just think that going into Celebrity Big Brother would be the final straw. He'd hate it. He likes - we like, it's not just him - a private life out of our public life. That's really precious to both of us, and to our children. On Celebrity Big Brother there's nowhere to hide. You have to be prepared to bare all.

On the subject of your husband, do you ever tell him secrets about the show?
I don't tell him who the housemates are. I might tell him that the night before. It's too big a thing. If he got grilled by somebody, he might be tempted, or might let something slip. It's too big a thing. And anyway, he's busy with his stuff, so he doesn't really ask me. He'll start asking me after Christmas, I imagine.

Do you get sick and tired of people asking for little tips and hints and names?
No, because it's the one time I'm really good at keeping a secret. I feel quite smug about knowing something nobody else does. It's a bit like being pregnant, in your first trimester, that feeling of knowing something that no one else does.


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