It was in fact my father who recommended this documentary to me because he grew up in the time when Paula Yates was big on TV, and with everything going on with Meghan Markle and really just the press in general it’s a great eye opener on what people go through, especially women and how detrimental it was to their lives.
Paula Yates started her career as a Talk Show Host on Channel 4, a new Broadcasting Channel that was completely changing the future of TV by being edgy and fun and a bit scandalous. Paula was this blonde bombshell who was very outspoken and a lot of people admired and looked up to her because they were so used to the 1950s housewife that had become so normalised in the world. To be a woman during the 80s and 90s that is outspoken and has their own values and opinions and is happy to be themselves was a huge feat, and I can’t imagine the power and confidence that Paula had to even feel comfortable enough to be herself on such an enormous platform.
Paula started dating rock stars, she was known for dating Bob Geldof and then Michael Hutchence but was also known to conduct her interviews on TV in a double bed lying with these stars of film and music, and really getting them to open up to her because she was so real and authentic. But everything came crashing down when Michael, her second husband, committed suicide in Australia and Paula just seemed to keep spiralling from this point forward.
Not only did Paula have to try and leave the country to deal with her husband’s sudden passing but of course they left behind a daughter too who not only had to deal with her father’s death but also the press that were at their door every day. Paula was such a huge celebrity during the 80s and 90s that the press absolutely loved her because it gave them such scandalous and exciting stories. There was a quote in the documentary where Princess Diana even said to Paula that she was happy when Paula was on the front cover because it meant she had the day off, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like growing up in this time where illegal things could happily happen because there weren’t rules and regulations yet, and these women could be hounded because the press thought it was their right.
After Michael Hutchence’s death Paula also found out the devastating news that the father she thought was her biological father throughout her whole life actually wasn’t and it was the press that she found this out through. It makes me feel absolutely sick knowing how much the press had a hand in her death and how she didn’t deserve any of it. At the core of any person, whether a celebrity or commoner on the street, is that they are a real person who has feelings and emotions and no one deserves to be hounded and treated like a piece of meat just because they’re more exciting than the rest.
I would’ve never watched this documentary if it wasn’t for my father recommending it to me because I didn’t know Paula or her story at all, but actually diving into it just from an angle of women being hounded by the press – whether it is Paula or Princess Diana or Caroline Flack – none of them deserve what happened to them and the way that they all tragically died so young makes you worry for the people that are currently going through it at the moment and how much longer they will be with us before it all gets too much.
What do you think of Paula Yates?
Until next time.