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Davina McCall on how she beat her heroin addiction: ‘Everyone knew I was a junkie’

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Kayleigh Dray
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Davina McCall is one of the UK’s most loved TV personalities, with the 49-year-old first flexing her presenting muscles on MTV Europe back in 1992. Since then, she has appeared almost constantly on our screens, working on shows such as Big Brother, This Morning, The Jump, Long Lost Family, and The Nightly Show.

In these shows, she’s usually the one asking the questions – but, when McCall sat down on John Bishop: In Conversation With, she found herself on the other side of the microphone. And she decided to take the opportunity to address her past battles with heroin, explaining that she accidentally pushed loved ones away when she began her cycle of drug abuse.

“I’d lost all the good people,” she told Bishop. “There was one person left, and she was the one that said to me in the end, ‘Look, we’re all talking about you. You think you’ve got this kind of mask up and you’re kidding us all, but you’re not.’”



McCall went on to explain that her friend – who she chose not to identify by name – told her that she couldn’t be around her anymore, saying: “‘We all know that you're a junkie and we all know you're taking heroin or we all know that you're, you know, you're lying to us the whole time. And I'm not going to stand around and watch it anymore.’”

McCall continued: “She said, ‘I’ve had enough.’ And she’d been there for me the whole time – I just thought that she was going to be the one constant. When she said, ‘That’s it,’ I was devastated.

“Of course, I swore at her a lot and got out the car, slammed the door.”

Davina McCall in 1994

Davina McCall in 1994

It was exactly what McCall needed to hear, however, and inspired her to seek help: just a short while after the confrontation, the TV presenter attended her first Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting - and she has continued to regularly attend ever since.

Speaking to the Mirror about the support group she turns to at least once a month, McCall said: “I do still go to meetings because I just think that NA is brilliant - a very, very clever system.

“I've always been really nervous talking about it though, because obviously it's an anonymous thing.

“But it really does work and I've had an awful lot of support from NA over the years.

“It's sort of a misnomer that people only go when they're about to relapse or they really need help… [but] it’s not the Moonies, it’s not some weird cult. It’s just a place where people get help and support. I get a lot from it.”



The mother-of-three has now been clean from illegal substances for more than 20 years – but she admitted that the experience has had a lasting effect on her.

Nowadays, she will “do anything not to let people down”, to make up for her past behaviour.

“I will do anything to not let people down because when I was using I was so unreliable and undependable,” she said. “And so it was really important to me in recovery that, if I say I’m going to do something then I do it.”

If you or anyone else needs help or information regarding substance abuse, then Frank offers a live chat facility on their websiteemail support, an SMS number – 82111 and a 24 hour telephone helpline – 0300 123 6600.

Images: Rex Pictures

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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