‘Celebrity Big Brother’ started out on Channel 4 as a week-long experiment to put six nice-enough celebrities in a house and see what they did when the showbiz sheen started to wear off.
Over the years, particularly since its move to Channel 5, it’s become a guaranteed controversy magnet, thanks to contestants’ behaviour under the glare of the ‘CBB’ cameras.
However, Channel 4 weathered arguably the biggest controversy ever, back in 2007, when the late Jade Goody entered the house with her family, and ended up becoming the subject of a global scandal.
Throughout her time in the house, Jade - as well as fellow housemates Jack Tweed, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara - were accused by viewers of bullying Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, with some remarking as the days went by that their behaviour had noticeably racist undertones.
Things reached a peak when the group had an infamous row over an Oxo cube, the aftermath of which saw Danielle Lloyd remarking that Shilpa should “fuck off home”, and Jade referring to her as “Shilpa Fuckawallah” and “Shilpa Poppadom”.
The dynamics in the house generated plenty of tabloid headlines, before eventually being discussed in the broadsheets, TV news and even - as the controversy spread internationally - in Parliament.
By Jade’s eviction - which took place 10 years ago today - tens of thousands of complaints had been made to Ofcom, and effigies of her and ‘CBB’ producers had been burned in protest in India.
For the first time, ‘CBB’ bosses felt the need to intervene and tell housemates how they were being perceived, and when Jade was voted out of the show, there were no crowds outside waiting, which made for somber viewing.
The consequences in the wake of the controversy varied for the housemates involved, with Jo O’Meara later revealing in an interview on ‘GMTV’ that she’d been the subject of “death threats” and was scared to go home.
Jade Goody’s media career also took a nosedive, with the public’s perception of her having been drastically changed following her time in ‘CBB’.
A year later, she said in a video on the News Of The World’s website: “I [was] wrong and I know that my words and my actions were wrong and I’m not trying to justify that in any way – I am wrong, and the people who have complained are not wrong. They’re just insulted by me and I completely take that criticism.”
Jade later took part in the Indian version of ‘Big Brother’, hosted by Shilpa Shetty, but was forced to pull out after just two days, when she discovered she had cervical cancer, and died just six months later, at the age of 27.
As for the show itself, media regulator Ofcom ruled that ‘CBB’ had breached their code of conduct, and an official apology was read out when the regular series of ‘Big Brother’ aired that summer.
The show took a year out in 2008, and instead ‘Big Brother: Celebrity Highjack’ was aired on E4.
Watch Jade’s exit interview with presenter Davina McCall in the video above.