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Davina Lucy Pascale McCall (born 16 October 1967) is an Englishmarker television presenter and actress, most notable for her work on Channel 4's Big Brother reality TV series.

Early life

McCall was born in London to Florence (née Hennion) and Andrew McCall, and at the age of three went to live with her paternal grandparents in Surreymarker after the break-up of her parents' marriage.Her Frenchmarker mother Florence – whom McCall has described as something of a "wild child" and later, specifically as "an alcoholic" – returned to Paris, and McCall saw her only when on holidays. Her relationship with her mother was a difficult one and she has said that her mother "should never have had kids" describing how she once left her, at the age of 12, in a nightclub on her own. She continued to see her father Andrew, a graphic designer, at weekends before moving in with him and his new wife Gaby when she was 13 years old.

McCall attended the Godolphin and Latymer Girls Schoolmarker, a famous independent school in Hammersmithmarker, London, whose alumni include celebrity students Nigella Lawson, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kate Beckinsale. During her teens McCall developed the eating disorder anorexia, which she has attributed to her fractured childhood and a desperate need for attention. At the age of 15, while studying for her nine O levels and later two more A levels, McCall sang professionally with a band; however when she was 19 she decided to go solo.

During this time she dated old family friend Eric Clapton, who also produced her demo music disc and helped her to try to crack the pop music world. Dissatisfied with her near misses in the record industry, she gave up singing and took a job at Models 1 on the men's desk as a booker. She also appeared in a music video for Kylie Minogue, Word Is Out, in a striped sweater and beret, in a nod to her French ancestry.

Later, she ran a restaurant for two years and worked as a singing waitress in Parismarker. However, after a failed Moulin Rougemarker cabaret audition, she returned to London where she quickly became a fixture on the club scene, which eventually led to her becoming a nightclub hostess. It was at this time, during her early 20s, that McCall was a drug addict. Davina McCall Profile Hello!. URL accessed 3 September 2006


After difficult times, Eric Clapton helped McCall turn things around. In 1992 she landed a job presenting her own show on MTV. She was the Female Voice Dubber on the first series of Channel 4's Eurotrash in 1993. In 1995 she went on to host the ITV game show God's Gift (transmitted very late at night, around 3am usually, after weekend football highlights) and in 1998 to present the cult dating show Streetmate. Since 2000 McCall has presented Big Brother (see below for more information). She presented the BRIT Awards in 2000, as well as the BBC charity show Comic Relief on several occasions. She presented the ITV show Don't Try This at Home from 1998-2001, Popstars: The Rivals (ITV1) in 2002, The Vault (ITV1), Oblivious (ITV1), the reality TV show Reborn in the USA in 2003, as well as an entertainment show on the subject of love and dating called Love on a Saturday Night (ITV1) in 2004. In 2004 she also presented the BAFTA television awards.

McCall has also tried a hand at acting appearances in Sam's Game (2001), a Friends-style TV sitcom (also starring Irishmarker comedian Ed Byrne), which was slammed by the critics and lasted only one series. She has also appeared in the Leigh Francis comedy sketch shows Bo Selecta and A Bear's Tail. McCall provided the voice of an android version of herself for the Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf" in 2005, and played herself as a human and subsequently as a bloodthirsty zombie in Dead Set in 2008.

She has featured as a guest on numerous chat shows, and in 2005 appeared on the BBC Two motoring show Top Gear, participating in the show's "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment. She rounded the track in 1:57.1, which earned a lowly 67th place on the score board.

During 2005, McCall presented the BBC series "He's Having A Baby", which received poor ratings. In December 2005 it was announced that she would be hosting her own BBC One prime-time chat show called Davina in early 2006. Early reviews were scathing of the show, and viewing figures flirted around the 3 million mark (at one point, dropping as low as 2 million), compared to over 6 million watching The Bill on ITV1 at the same time. In April 2006, BBC One axed the show due to the ratings not reaching expectations.

It was revealed in March 2006 that ITV1 had signed up McCall to host the BAFTA television awards for the second time in May. In April 2006 McCall was confirmed as the main presenter on Sport Relief on BBC One in July of that year, alongside friend Chris Evans. McCall's involvement with ITV had gone back some years earlier as she often appeared on the pre-programme sequences standing on a stage, something done by other ITV starts like Chris Tarrant.

She has since appeared as a host for Red Nose Day 2007 and, in conjunction, appeared in the video for Girls Aloud and Sugababes' cover of "Walk This Way", walking down a catwalk. In Red Nose Day 2009, she volunteered to donate £50.00 for kissing Doctor Who actor David Tennant who also co hosted the charitable show with her. Also on the show, McCall had been competing against David on the celebrity version of MasterMind . She resumed presenting Big Brothermarker on 30 May 2007.

McCall has starred in a documentary, Let's Talk Sex, about sex education, and how sex education is taught in Britainmarker (one of the countries of Europe with the highest teenage pregnancy levels). She also has published a book under the same title.

In 2006, BBC Radio 1 DJ, and friend to McCall, Chris Moyles parodied The Feeling's song Love It When You Call to create a song entirely about her. The song, simply titled "The Davina McCall song" is one of the most popular parodies downloaded from website

On 5 July 2007 McCall was a panellist on the BBC's Question Time. It was a special 'Schools' edition, partly produced by students.

In December 2007, McCall presented a New Year's edition of The Friday Night Project, entitled "The Friday Night New Year Project 2007", alongside Alan Carr and Justin Lee-Collins.

Big Brother

Despite holding many high profile jobs McCall is best known for hosting all series of Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother, except Big Brother Celebrity Hijackmarker and Teen Big Brother. Whilst presenting Big Brother she has become known for her catchphrases such as "Big Brother House, this is Davina. You are live on Channel 4. Please do not swear."

During presenting Big Brother series 6, McCall caused controversy when she wore a bikini whilst interviewing contestant Sam Heuston. Shortly after this, McCall attracted some complaints for her hostile interviewing of housemate Makosi Musambasi on the final night, which was much criticised in the British press.

For the 2008 Big Brother series it was reported that McCall earned £85,000 per episode (one a week).

In May 2008, British tabloid News of the World reported that she would quit Big Brother after the 2008 season to concentrate on an acting career. This was later denied by McCall at the Sex And The City film premiere in London, where she said "I'm not leaving Big Brother. They would have to kill me before I'd stop doing it". This was also proven when McCall appeared as a guest on the Paul O'Grady Show in 2007, clarifying her position with the show and its producers.

In October 2008, she appeared as herself in Dead Set, a five-part zombie-horror series set in the Big Brother house.

McCall is currently hosting the tenth series of Big Brothermarker.

Personal life

After dating Eric Clapton, McCall married Andrew Leggett in 1997 in Westminstermarker, London; they divorced.

In 2000 at Eastnor Castle Herefordshiremarker, she married Matthew Robertson, presenter of Pet Rescue. They have two daughters, the first born on 22 September 2001 (Hounslowmarker, Greater London) and the second born on 23 September 2003 (Surreymarker), and a son born on 14 September 2006 (Surrey). Coincidentally, they were all born in the same month of different years, and McCall has been heavily pregnant during Big Brothers 2, 4 and 7 and in the early stages of pregnancy of her third child during Celebrity Big Brother 4. She gave birth to all of her children at home, being an advocate of home birth. When McCall was pregnant with her third child, she recorded a DVD/video workout geared towards pregnant women. When hosting the Friday Night Christmas Project, McCall revealed that if she could have any other job besides presenting, she would be a midwife.

Stated on the 31 July 2005, episode of Top Gear that she once had her nipples pierced but removed the rings to breastfeed.

McCall was estranged from her mother, who died in 2008. McCall is close to Caroline, her half-sister from her mother's first marriage.

A sound clip of her daughter Holly saying "International Radio 1" is played on weekdays by Radio 1 presenter Chris Moyles during his breakfast show at the end of the opening link before the first segue.

McCall has a house in Wadhurstmarker, East Sussex.

She has produced several exercise DVDs along with her personal trainers, Mark and Jackie Wren, including Superbody Workout, High Energy Five, The Power of Three and My Three 30-Minute Workouts.

McCall can also speak fluent French as she lived in Paris as a girl.

Family tree

The first episode of the 7th series of the BBC television programme Who Do You Think You Are? revealed that Davina is the great-granddaughter of a Prefect of Police; Célestin Hennion (1862–1915) and the great great great-granddaughter, on her father's side, of James Thomas Bedborough (1787–1860), a stonemason, councillor, Mayor, property developer, and entrepreneur, who worked on Windsor Castlemarker and Upton Park. Pierre, Hennion's son and McCall's grandfather, gave McCall his father's Royal Victorian Order medal, which she showed on the programme.

In the programme, which first aired on 15 July 2009, McCall learned of Hennion's story from historians Jean-Marc Berliere and Simon Kitson as well as from Françoise Hennion (Hennion's granddaughter and McCall's mother's cousin). After hearing of the part her ancestor played in the Dreyfus affair, she also met with Alfred Dreyfusmarker's great-granddaughter, Yael Ruiz.





  1. Davina McCall Profile URL accessed 3 September 2006
  2. Meet the Team - Davina McCall BBC Parenting. URL accessed 3 September 2006.
  3. "Big Brother 6: Ofcom to investigate over Makosi's treatment"Manchester Evening News, 16 August 2006. URL accessed 3 September 2006
  5. Sun reports birth of Chester
  6. Marriages and Births England and Wales 1984-2006
  7. Big Brother's Davina McCall moves to Wadhurst
  8. Davina McCall Moves To Sky One’s Just Dance – Audition Now! 26-8-2009

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