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‘Michael treated me like an adorable baby girl,’ she says.‘Diana wasn’t as friendly, but then she hadn’t had as much time to get to know me.’Her arrival also meant a sister for Natasha, who was then 15, and had little in common with the couple’s sons, Tom and Will, both in their 20s at the time. I got more excited about seeing him on television than the rest of the family, who’d got used to it. ‘We didn’t automatically get on just because we’d both been taken in by Dad.

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Desperately malnourished and needing an operation her grandmother could not afford, she was facing an early death when she met Mr Nicholson.‘At first I was scared,’ she remembers. But he shook my hand and gave me sherbet-coated sweets.

A Brazilian journalist called Jan Rocha [who had put Michael in contact with Donna Maria] helped interpret, and he promised he’d be back the next day.’Michael kept his word and by the time he had finished filming a few days later he had acquired Ana’s trust.

She has spent the past three years flitting from hostel to hostel, racking up debts and acquiring drug habits.

Father and daughter have not spoken for two-and-a-half-years.

Her natural father, she was told, had been a drug trafficker and her mother had abandoned her at birth.

Brought up by her 65-year-old grandmother, Donna Maria, the pair ate from bins and scraped a living in Sao Paulo selling cardboard boxes they picked up off the filthy streets. Surrounded by crack addicts and slum gangsters, Ana was trapped in a hand-to-mouth existence with almost no chance of survival. She was given drugs to hide in her underwear when the police were around.Hardened from covering 15 conflicts during his 25-year career, he was still visibly saddened by Ana’s plight.Determined to help her, he ignored professional protocol and flew her to Britain for vital medical treatment at huge personal expense.I need his support more than ever and I wish we could go back to the father-daughter relationship we once shared.’Articulate and unnervingly honest, Ana has experienced both extreme poverty and privilege in the course of her short lifetime.Shaking with nerves, her turquoise eyes mist with tears as she speaks of her love for her adoptive father.It is not as if he was new to the difficult business of adopting a foreign child when he took in Ana.

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