South London Memories: The Goody, the bad, and the media circus…

At the height of her fame, press photographers followed Jade Goody everywhere.

Pictures of her were so much in demand that once when she attended the A-list Embassy Club in Mayfair, the paparazzi were more interested in her than probably the most famous Englishman on the planet.

Paul McCartney wrote or co-wrote 32 No 1 songs and has sold more than 800 million albums worldwide with the Beatles.

He also helped change the world in the late 1960s.

But Mark Fuller who ran the Embassy Club, recalled: “I remember one time there were 30 or 40 paparazzi outside, and I remember watching Paul McCartney walk down the road past them, and because I knew a few of them, I went ‘Boys, there’s Paul McCartney.’

“And they went, ‘Nah, not interested in his picture.’ “They wanted Jade.”

The incident was revealed in a mini-documentary series made about Jade’s life.

Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain details the life of Jade Goody, beginning with her upbringing in Bermondsey, and chronicling her rise and falls.

She was one of the first people who was famous for being famous – and came from complete obscurity to being almost idolised across the UK, at least for a time.

Jade Goody poses with copies of her autobiography ‘Catch A Falling Star’

And finally, she became respected. She famously battled cervical cancer and helped many other women to be more proactive in getting themselves tested for the disease.

By the time of the Embassy Club incident, she could have been considered the most famous person in the UK.

Jade was born in Peckham in 1981, and grew up on a Bermondsey council estate with her mother, Jackiey Budden, and father, Andrew Goody.

Jackiey and Andrew separated when Jade was 18 months old, and when her mother was seriously injured in a motorbike accident, leaving her partially paralysed, Jade took on an active role in their flat.

Jackiey Budden said: “From being five, she had to quickly be 12.

“She washed up, she ironed, she changed plugs. She put light bulbs in, she dressed me. “Growing up, Jade was amazing. “That girl, she worked and worked and worked.”

In her younger years, Jade was full of life, personality and initiative. She loved to express herself and was on the books of a local talent agency, and even got bit parts in TV adverts.

While she got poor grades in her other GCSEs, she got an A* in drama, before being expelled for disruptive behaviour.

After school, she worked a number of dead-end jobs before becoming a dental nurse earning just £3.50 an hour.

At the age of 20, in 2002, she wanted to do something to change her life, and saw entry into the third series of Big Brother house as an opportunity to leave her Bermondsey routes behind and start a new life.

She said at the time: “It’s not that I want to get away from Bermondsey because I don’t like it. “I want to get away because I’ve been there since I was a baby. “I want to see what else is out there.”

Her application video caught the attention of the programme’s executives and they knew instantly that they had a star in the making.

Executive producer for the show Gigi Eligoloff said: “She had that slight kind of, you know, fingernails on a blackboard thing going on.

“And you couldn’t not watch her.”

She started off hated by the public, but after revelations of her upbringing came about, they warmed to her.

She came a modest fourth in the show, but was plunged into celebrity status, and became the UK’s first reality TV star to become a millionaire.

She rode the roller-coaster of fame for five years.

Then Jade got the opportunity to go into the Celebrity Big Brother House in 2007, at a time when she was considered one of the most famous people in the UK.

Her time in the house was marred by increasing hostility towards famous Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, which some saw as race-derived bullying.

This exploded into an argument over chicken stock cubes, with Jade calling Shilpa ‘Shilpa Poppadom.’

The total number of complaints topped 54,000.

She was the third person to be evicted from the house with 82 per cent of the public vote, and exited the house with just crew and Davina McCall on the other side.

Her widespread public adoration evaporated for a while.

In 2008, she decided to go on Bigg Boss, which was India’s version of Big Brother, and it was Shilpa Shetty who presented the show at the time.

Jade discovered after one day in the house that she had cervical cancer – her symptoms were missed multiple times by herself and the NHS.

Because her cancer by this stage was terminal, she only had a week to organise her wedding to Essex-boy TV personality Jack Tweed.

She famously married him in a ceremony which was covered by OK! magazine and for which she received £700,000.

She wanted to set up a trust fund for her children and for them to have the education she never had.

She died one month after getting married but left behind her a trailblazing reputation.

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