Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

Obituary: Jade Goody

Jade Goody, who has died from cancer at the age of 27, lived her last seven years in the glare of publicity.

Jade Goody
Jade Goody had one of the most sustained reality careers

She careered onto the scene thanks to the third series of Big Brother in 2002, and it was a reality juggernaut which kept running.

Goody, who was raised in a run-down area of south-east London, found that fame was at times harsh, as well as making her a handsome living.

But it was a far cry from her tough background, with a mother maimed by a motorbike accident who relied on her care and a father who served time in prison.

During her first outing in Big Brother, she hit the headlines as a young woman with shockingly poor general knowledge, who was often the object of her fellow housemates' derision.

Pronouncements including: "Is East Angular abroad?" went down in folklore.

The press initially denounced Goody as an embarrassing joke, but by the time she made the final, the mood was softer, almost affectionate.


The interest in Goody after Big Brother did not falter as she built up her profile as a reality celebrity, and happily allowed coverage of her private life for lucrative returns.

Jade Goody in Big Brother
Goody brushed off being called a 'pig' in Big Brother

Her two-year relationship with Jeff Brazier - a reality show presenter - was often stormy and made tabloid newsprint, but also gave Goody her two sons.

She went on to appear in a string of celebrity-titled television programmes and was the star of a string of reality shows that carried her name.

Her decision to return to Big Brother in 2007 marked a turning point in her career.

With boyfriend Jack Tweed and formidable mother Jackiey Budden in tow, Goody's graduation to the show's celebrity spin-off was disastrous.

The racist row with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty attracted 45,000 complaints, with both the press and public turning on Goody - who made a string of tearful apologies after the event.

Goody exits from India's Big Brother

Her stock plummeted and money-spinning products including perfume and an autobiography were removed from the shelves, leaving her TV career in tatters.

The star's earnings, estimated to have amounted to several million pounds at their height, were also put in jeopardy as the work dried up.

Goody's salvation was a public relations offensive centred on India, and a third Big Brother stint on the Indian version of the show, as her very public absolution continued.

'My sons' future'

It was while taking part in the show that she was confronted with the news that she was suffering from cervical cancer.

Goody would go on to spend the final months of her life battling her illness under the public gaze, with the media devoting generous coverage to the sad decline of a terminally ill young woman.

Her treatment and hair loss were captured on film and in a series of newspaper interviews, prompting criticism from some quarters that she was cashing in.

Jade Goody with her autobiography
Jade Goody put her life story in print

She also married Jack Tweed in her final weeks, with the country house ceremony captured by OK! magazine for a fee of 700,000.

Speaking in The Sun newspaper in February, Goody admitted that she was doing it for the money, but claimed she was thinking beyond the reality career that would die with her.

"It's not to buy flash cars or big houses. It's for my sons' future if I'm not here.

"I don't want my kids to have the same miserable, drug-blighted, poverty-stricken childhood that I did," she said.

Goody had gone from from hardship to privilege thanks to the earlier days of surveillance TV and its associated fame.

It was a time when its ordinary stars were less savvy and seemed more genuine.

Her achievement was to make a lasting career out of being momentarily famous, and building personal wealth she could have only dreamt about in her early life.

She faced both affection and loathing during her few short years in the public eye, before her life was tragically cut short at a very young age.

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