U.K. network Channel 4 has commissioned a new documentary from Curious Films about TV host and author Paula Yates, who died following a heroin overdose at the age of 41 in 2000.
The two-part doc, titled simply “Paula,” will explore the “life and legacy” of the wildchild presenter, whose relationships with Boomtown Rats’ vocalist Bob Geldof and rockstar Michael Hutchence dominated the headlines in the late 1990s. Yates and Geldof’s daughter, model Peaches Geldof, also died of a heroin overdose at the age of 25 in 2014.
The doc promises to “reveal the real Paula Yates behind the tabloid-driven narrative, drawing on an extraordinary set of never-before-heard interviews, the words of some of those who knew her best and a wealth of archive to tell her story in her own words.”
Yates was a Channel 4 staple during her prime, fronting shows including “The Tube” and “The Big Breakfast” for which she interviewed stars from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Robbie Williams.
The doc includes four never-before-seen intimate interviews with Yates recorded in the two years before her death as well as testimonies from her friends and colleagues in the context of music and cultural moments from the era.
“Paula” is produced by Charlene Chika Osuagwu, directed by Charlie Russell exec produced by Dov Freedman. Curious Films previously made docs including “Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death” and “Reclaiming Amy,” about Amy Winehouse.
Osuagwu 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 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,” said Shaminder Nahal, head of specialist factual at Channel 4. “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.”