Channel 4 have announced that they will be releasing a two-part documentary on the life and death of Paula Yates. The documentary, titled Paula, will explore the life and legacy of the Channel 4 icon, who died of a drug overdose in 2000 aged 41.


Yates' personal life was the stuff of tabloid headline fodder, much of it focusing on her 10-year relationship with Bob Geldof from 1976 to 1986, and then her relationship with musician Michael Hutchence throughout the mid '90s.

But this two-parter will provide important context and seek to reveal the real person behind the tabloid-driven narrative.

It will include an extraordinary set of never-before-heard interviews, the words of some of those who were closest to her and archival footage that will allow her story to be told in her own words.

The well-known TV presenter, journalist and author became known for her appearances on some of Channel 4's most popular shows after beginning her career as a music journalist. Her television debut for the broadcaster came in 1982 when she fronted ground-breaking pop music programme The Tube alongside Jools Holland and then in 1992, The Big Breakfast.

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She went on to appear in 1987 mockumentary Bananarama alongside friend Jennifer Saunders and after the birth of her daughters, penned two books on motherhood, then continuing her work in rock music journalism.

She became known for her style of interviewing The Big Breakfast, namely her "on the bed" interviews which included the likes of Kylie Minogue, Take That and late comedian Robin Williams.

While she became adored for her work as a presenter, though, she continued to dominate headlines for two decades. But, as per the synopsis for this documentary, there's much more to her story than her relationships with the men in her life.

"Paula’s own fierce, funny, intelligent spirit alongside her incredible skill as a television presenter has been largely written out of history by a tabloid press which viewed her instead through the prism of the men in her life – Sir Bob Geldof, and the man they accused her of leaving him for – Michael Hutchence," the synopsis reads.

"At the heart of Paula are four extraordinarily compelling interviews recorded in 1998 and 1999 before her death in 2000, which have never been heard before, and in which she frankly and eloquently discusses the positives and pitfalls of her life."

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The series will contain anecdotes from friends, close colleagues and those who knew Yates as well as a celebratory look at some of the interviews she conducted throughout her career, the programmes she was at the helm of, and an overview of the music and culture of the era.

Channel 4 is celebrating its 40th year this year and so, these films seek to celebrate a talent who made the channel stand out when it first started in the 80s. Paula is a Curious Films production for Channel 4 and is produced by Charlene Chika Osuagwu, directed by Charlie Russell and executive produced by Dov Freedman.

Speaking about the new films, Shaminder Nahal, head of specialist factual at Channel 4 said: “Paula Yates exploded onto our screens in the very first week that Channel 4 came on air in 1982, a whirlwind of wit, verve and charisma – a totally unique style.

"Looking at what she achieved now, it feels like no-one has ever quite matched her as a TV presenter. So as Channel 4 reflects on 40 years, it feels right to look at her life and career, and what an impact she made. As ever, Curious Films has made a riveting and sensitive series that will, I hope, introduce Paula to a new generation."

Charlene Chika Osuagwu, producer for Curious Films (who are at the helm of this project) also said: “Paula is the real story of a singular woman who was both ahead of her time and totally of it, which explores how she shaped, and was shaped by the seismic changes in British culture and celebrity and what it meant to be a successful woman in that era.

"Paula’s battle to ‘have it all’, torn between the duties of family life and her own personal career and happiness in the magnifying glare of a world determined to judge her, provide a powerful lesson for today’s world and women fighting the same issues 40 years later.”

Paula will air on Channel 4. Check out more of our Factual coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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