Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jade Goody - good luck to her

You would have to be a really cold, unfeeling person to have no sympathy for the awful situation Jade Goody finds herself in. As a mum, I can only too easily understand the fear and pain at being forcibly taken away from your children, especially when they are as young as her 4 and 5 years old. The nature of her illness is not making it easy for her to enjoy the time she has left with them, either as she appears to be very frail and in huge amounts of pain.

Her first instinct has been to ensure their financial future by making as much money as possible for their education, not just for its own sake but so that they will see that as their legacy from her. She is terrified that they won't remember her and this is her way of giving them something tangible from her. She has the ability to sell magazines and newspapers, so why shouldn't she make the most of it while she can? If that demonstrates something negative about our characters, that's not her problem.

I've been quite a long term supporter of Jade since watching her on Big Brother all those years ago. For her to have been able to forge a career out of her sometimes ill advised antics on the programme and to stay in the public eye for so long, amassing a considerable fortune in the process, is not bad for someone who came from her extremely difficult background.

She may well have displayed significant gaps in her general knowledge and ability to control her temper but I don't think she's as ignorant as she reportedly thinks she is. She has been shrewd enough to take advantage of most of the opportunities that have been offered to her and has known when to take good advice. She has made some spectacular errors in both private and public life but balanced them with a likeable warmth, tenacity and enthusiasm. No other Big Brother contestant has had such longevity in the public eye. The only other reality contestants to have had successful and long term careers have been the likes of Will Young and Leona Lewis, both of whom had the Simon Cowell machine backing them.

Even when she stuffed it up big time on Celebrity Big Brother, making what at the time seemed to be career ending racist and unpleasant comments to her fellow competitor, she managed to get back into public favour by recognising her mistake and making amends.

It seems that the sanest influences in her life are not her immediate family, but publicist Max Clifford and the producer of her Living TV shows Kate Jackson. For all the murky kiss and tells that Max Clifford has been involved in, his influence has undoubtedly been good for Jade. About 15 years ago I sat beside him at the filming of a Sunday lunchtime politics programme in Nottingham. I had no idea who he was, but he was very chatty, gossipy and funny and happy to blether away to a complete stranger. As far as you can tell from a relatively brief conversation, he seemed like a very genine and friendly person. There's no doubt that both his wallet and his reputation will be enhanced by the work he is doing for Jade, but I think he's managed it as well as it could have been done.

In fact, there may be some good that comes out of her public battle with Cancer. We all wish it hadn't happened, but she is raising awareness of the importance of cervical screening and the tabloids are now campaigning for women in England to get screening from 20 rather than 25 as they do in other parts of the UK. Hopefully the availability of the new HPV vaccine will do away with the need for such early or even frequent screening in time but it makes sense to lower the screening age when there is clear evidence that girls are becoming sexually active earlier.

I think it's also helped to make people aware of the issues around cancer treatment, and approaching death which we still are very wary of discussing publicly.

Anyway, all we can hope for Jade is that she that everything goes as she wishes for her wedding tomorrow and that in the weeks to come she is comfortable both physically and emotionally.

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Anonymous said...

I’m a journalist from France 24’s Observers website ( We’re writing about Jade Goody today and looking for comments from both side of the argument (whether she should publicise her death or not). I read your blog on the subject and would love to use an extract to print as part of the post.

Let me know if it's a possibility!

spilgrim AT

Unknown said...

Sophie, thank you for your comment. Feel free to quote what you like from this article and thank you for asking.

Simon said...

I think Jade is to some extent ignorant, but she is aware of that and not proud of it. And that's too her credit. If she were ignorant and proud of it, then I would dislike her.

I don't blame her for taking advantage of the opportunities placed before her, particularly with 2 soon to be orphaned children.

In my opinion no one forces people to read coverage of her and other people who are famous for not a lot. If you can't stand certain d-list celebrities, you shouldn't read the showbiz pages or gossip mags.


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