Preview: Paula

Paula Yates

Paula Yates, TV presenter, author and journalist, was one of the most famous British women of the 1980s and 1990s. Appearing on some of the most iconic TV shows of the era, presenting both The Tube and The Big Breakfast on Channel 4, Yates redefined what it was to be a woman onscreen.

Fiercely intelligent, outrageously flirtatious and effortlessly cool, Paula also had her personal life played out daily in the tabloid press – and would experience the full impact of what it means to be a woman in the public eye. Yates was famous for her rockstar partners – married first to Bob Geldof and then in a relationship with Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of Australian rock band INXS.

This two-part series re-examines Paula on her own terms, exploring the huge influence she had, and the difficulties she faced as a result of her fame. After the tragic death of Michael Hutchence in 1997, Paula recorded a series of interviews that have never been broadcast until now. Using these audio tapes, as well as contributions from many of those who were close to her, Paula both celebrates Yates, but also explores the pressures she faced, and gives her a voice in the telling of her story. Paula’s close friend Belinda Brewin was the executor of her estate after Paula’s death in 2000. Brewin was at her side for many of the happiest moments in Paula’s life, as well as the most challenging times she faced, including the revelation by the press that Paula’s dad was not who she thought it was.

Part One of Paula focuses on Paula’s rise to fame, her ground-breaking appearances on The Tube, interviewing some of the biggest popstars in the world, and the huge fame she and husband Bob Geldof experienced after the success of global charity Live Aid. Celebrity stylist and friend Nicky Clarke explores the relationship Paula had with the press and how she made herself into a brand. Fellow Big Breakfast presenter Vanessa Feltz discusses the impact Paula had in her notorious ‘on-the-bed’ interviews. And Michael Hutchence’s sister Tina examines what it was like when Paula and Michael became even more sought after by the tabloids after they had a child together.


Monday at 9.00pm on Channel 4.

Image: Duncan Raban/Popperfoto.

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