Channel 4 has commissioned the production from Curious Films Paula (2 × 60′), a two-parter that explores the life and legacy of the real Paula Yates behind the tabloid-driven narrative.
The program will draw on an “exclusive” range of never-before-heard interviews, the words of some of those who knew her best and a rich archive to tell her story in her own words.
As a television presenter, journalist and writer known for her sharp wit and flirtatious charm at the helm of The pipe and The big breakfast, Paula Yates interviews everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Robbie Williams. She was at the heart of pop culture and dominated the airwaves and headlines for two decades.
Yet Paula’s feisty, funny, intelligent spirit, along with her incredible skills as a TV presenter, were largely written out of the story by the tabloid press, which instead viewed her through the lens of the men in her life – Sir Bob Geldof and the , who accused her of leaving him for – Michael Hutchence.
In the heart of Paula are four utterly compelling interviews recorded in 1998 and 1999 before her death in 2000, never before heard, in which she candidly and eloquently discusses the positives and pitfalls of her life. Alongside these, the series contains testimonies from friends and close colleagues who knew the real Paula Yates, along with some of the many other interviews she gave and shows she presented, all against the musical and cultural touchpoints of the era.
Shaminder Nahal, Head of Fact Specialist at Channel 4, said: “Paula Yates burst onto our screens in the first week Channel 4 went on air in 1982, a whirlwind of wit, enthusiasm and charisma – a completely unique style. Looking at what she has achieved now, it feels like no one has ever been able to match her as a TV host. So as Channel 4 covers 40 years, it’s only right that we take a look at her life and career and what impact she has made. As always, Curious Films has made a compelling and sensitive series that will hopefully introduce Paula to a new generation.
Charlene Chika Osuagwu, Producer, Curious Films said: “Paula is the true story of a unique woman who was ahead of her time and fully developed, who explores how she shaped and was shaped by seismic shifts in British culture and celebrity, and what it meant to be a successful woman in that era.” Paula’s struggle to “have it all”, torn between the responsibilities of family life and her personal career and happiness in the majestic glare of a world determined to judge her, provides a powerful lesson for today’s world and women who have been struggling with the same issues for 40 years later.”
Paula (2×60′) is a Curious Films production for Channel 4. Produced by Charlene Chika Osuagwu, directed by Charlie Russell and executive produced by Dov Freedman.
Curious is currently negotiating international rights for the program.
Curious Films recent commissions include Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee (Netflix), Making Sense of Cancer with Hannah Fry (BBC Two), Wagspiracy: Vardy vs Rooney (BBC3/iPlayer), National treasures on trial (Channel 4), Return of Amy (BBC Two), Team Goals (BBC Three) and Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death (Channel 4).
Photo: Paula / Curious Films / Ch4 / Getty
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