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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Paula Yates was charismatic, irreverent, sexy and smart – so why did the tabloids hound her?

Part of the film addressed the behaviour of the press. It was quite sickening to see Yates’s lawyers begging them not to film her young children leaving the house hours after Hutchence’s death, only for them to do it anyway. Thankfully, times have changed (in Britain at least), but poisonous female columnists who revel in attacking other women haven’t gone anywhere. The one who wrote “Pathetic Paula makes mockery of love and loss”, after Yates began an unwise relationship in the depths of her grief, is still plying her trade. 

Yates worked with the media on her own terms. She recorded interviews with Martin Townsend, former editor of OK! magazine, shortly before her death, which were featured here. What a contrast between the vivacious Yates of old and this broken figure. 

But the documentary got the balance right by giving us so much of Yates at her best, with tributes from former friends including Robbie Williams and Terence Trent D’Arby (who she had a year-long affair with). Perched next to pop stars on The Tube or draped over them on The Big Breakfast bed, she never conducted a dull interview. Flirting was her stock-in-trade but she was no bimbo. Her intelligence shone out, whether talking about feminism, motherhood or the fame that she marshalled so cleverly, until she no longer could. 

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