WHERE WERE YOU WHEN: Sparks flew between Paula and Michael

Who knew that famously flirty interview foreshadowed so much tragedy? says Sylvia Patterson.

Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence
Photo by ©ALPHA

The UK’s morning coffee cups hovered and people watched open-mouthed at the moment INXS frontman Michael Hutchence appeared on The Big Breakfast bed for an interview with Paula Yates. The show’s two million viewers couldn’t miss the flash of her knickers as she wrapped her legs over those of the smiling Australian dreamboat. ‘Boy,’ she twinkled, ‘this is a guest who has tackle-troubling trousers. And… for once! A guest where I want to have my leg over.’ Hutchence burst out laughing, as did the TV studio crew.

Watching at home in London I, too, was laughing, yet not so surprised. As a Smash Hits journalist, I’d interviewed Hutchence the previous year and, completely unexpectedly, was confronted by his tangible sexual charisma – like a force field around him – something I’d never encountered in any other rock star before (or in real life). You couldn’t help but feel embarrassed, though, for her husband Bob Geldof. In the mid-90s gossip circled around Paula (a teenage hero of mine from her irreverent presenting days on 80s music show The Tube) as colleagues reported her similarly cavalier come-ons around the pop giants of the day – amid rumours of a controlling Bob back home.

Back on the bed, they couldn’t have imagined any of that – only the thrilling possibilities.

Also that month…

Photo by Everett Collection, Inc. /Alamy Stock Photo.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres for their efforts in the Middle East.
  • Tennis champ Venus Williams made her professional debut, aged 14, in California.
  • The bodies of 48 members of the Solar Temple cult were discovered by Swiss police following an apparent mass suicide.
  • Pulp Fiction, The Lion King and Forrest Gump were released in the UK.
  • Burt Lancaster died from a heart attack, aged 80.