In an exclusive interview with The Sun’s TV Buzz magazine, TV presenter Davina McCall has revealed that her mother was too immature to take care of her as a child.
Davina – who of course presents a number of shows, including The Biggest Loser, The Million Pound Drop, Got to Dance and Long Lost Family – also discussed how her varied TV career fulfils her ambitions.
She said, “My current TV shows all give me something different…
“The Biggest Loser fulfils my thirst to get the nation fit, while Got To Dance takes me back to my clubbing days when I used to jump with joy – there’s still nothing quite as powerful as an entire room pogoing to an amazing tune.
“The Million Pound Drop serves my need for the excitement of live TV, and Long Lost Family almost needs no explanation.”
Davina then revealed how her French mother – who walked out on Davina when she was just three years old – struggled to cope with raising her…
She said, “I think my mum did love me because she gave birth to me, but she couldn’t take care of me and that’s the thing you look to mums for.
“My eldest daughter [Holly] wrote in my last Mother’s Day card: ‘I love our chats.’ I didn’t get the chats with my mum.
“I had to give her the chats. I’d be like: ‘You can’t wear that, Mum!’ I was Ab Fab’s Saffy and she was Edina”.
Davina then shared one particularly painful memory. She said, “There was an electric-blue, fake-fur coat she used to wear…
“One time she went out in it with nothing underneath – just a pair of high heels – then she’d do the odd flash.”
Davina then revealed that as a teenager, she and her mum were reunited, but it was not a healthy relationship.
She said, “She’d take me clubbing…and then go off to buy some weed while I was left in my little pink Holiday-era Madonna dress and lace gloves, trying to be grown up with a bunch of pervy guys who thought I was 16.
“I was scared, but I tried to pretend it was cool that she’d left…
“Then I’d return to England, tell my friends I’d been to a club and they’d think it was really cool, so I wouldn’t tell them I didn’t enjoy it. It was so complex.”
And of how the difficulties she encountered as a child have affected her in adulthood, Davina said, “It has probably made me try to be a perfectionist, but I’m a bit more gentle on myself now.
“If I’m late to pick them up from school – which is very rare – I don’t beat myself up about it. I used to cry if I was late because my mum was late for me.
“But I have realised now that I’m not my mother. I keep thinking as long as I give them a good foundation, even if they go off the rails, they’ll come back.
“I can’t stop them doing anything. I can’t stay with them 24/7. But I can give them a really solid grounding.”
And of her plans for the future, Davina said, “I’ve got this idea that’s like a Jeremy Kyle show, but nicer.
“I’m just waiting for the right place to put it, but it’d be lovely and we would all learn something from it”.
But when asked if there are any career opportunities she’d turn down, Davina said, “The only shows I won’t do are ones that would take me away from the kids for weeks at a time. Or ones to do with marriage.
“Marriage is such a precious nugget of loveliness and I’ve never known a TV show about marriage to work.”
Davina is of course married to TV presenter Matthew Robertson, and she’s very careful about keeping her professional and private lives separate.
She said, “I draw the line between TV life and personal life at my front door.
“I get out of the car, walk up the path, go through the front door and then I’m Mrs Robertson, mother of three, wife of one. And that’s it!”
But she admitted, “The other day my son Chester called me ‘Davina McCall’ and laughed out loud.
“I said: ‘Don’t call me that, I don’t like it!’ That’s alien. It’s two very different people.”
You can read the full interview in this weekend’s edition of TV Buzz, which is free with The Sun. You can also visit the TV Buzz Facebook page by clicking here.