March 06, 2019
TV host and journalist, known for her stylish attire and sunglasses, was the face of ‘yoof TV’ programming in the 1980s and 90s
Magenta Devine, presenter of Network 7 and Rough Guide, dies aged 61
TV presenter and journalist Magenta Devine, who was best known for her appearances on youth culture programmes such as Network 7 and Rough Guide, has died aged 61 after a short illness.
Her family confirmed her death, adding that she had been undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in central London.
A prominent figure in the ‘yoof TV’ strand pioneered on BBC Two and Channel 4 by Janet Street-Porter, Devine was recognisable for her stylish 80s nightclub dress sense, jet black bob haircut and sunglasses, the latter of which she was rarely seen without.
Street-Porter paid tribute to Devine on Twitter, describing her as “a brilliant presenter” and “one-off who always made everything we did together utterly memorable”.
Magenta Devine, presenter of Network 7 and Rough Guide, dies aged 61
The daughter of a toy shop owner and an ex-model, Devine – real name Kim Taylor – was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1957. She began her career working as a promoter for the much-hyped 80s pop group Sigue Sigue Sputnik, before moving into TV as a presenter on Channel 4’s Network 7. The series, devised by Street Porter, was a magazine show focusing on issues pertinent to younger viewers, with Devine interviewing pop-cultural figures such as Dame Edna Everage and Johnny Rotten.
Later Devine followed Street Porter to BBC Two to host travelogue Rough Guide. The programme, which began as a segment on Street-Porter’s youth programming strand Def II, saw Devine and co-presenter Sankha Guha head to exotic locations to report on stories of social interest to younger viewers. Devine also contributed to a current affairs stand Reportage, covering stories such as the emergence of acid house.
Magenta Devine, presenter of Network 7 and Rough Guide, dies aged 61
In a statement to the BBC Guha described Devine as “an icon for a generation ... who invited attention and sometimes hostility for her bold look and style.
“She used her public persona to tell stories about the world that mattered to her and inspired a whole generation to travel with a sense of adventure and an open mind,” Guha said.
Tony James of Sigue Sigue Sputnik wrote on Twitter: “So sad to hear this news, you were an amazing extraordinary woman, Magenta”.
Devine’s later career saw her host ITV series Young, Gifted and Broke and appear on Channel 4 reality programme Extreme Celebrity Detox. She also appeared as a guest panellist on episodes of Big Brother aftershow Big Mouth, and did voiceover work in adverts for Peugeot, Toyota and Motorola.
In addition to her TV work she was appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 1998, heading a campaign for women’s equality and reproductive rights. In the 1990s she was treated for a heroin addiction and declared bankruptcy in 2003.
In a 1996 interview with the Guardian, Devine was asked how she would like to be remembered, replying: “Brilliant, witty, clever, beautiful, generous, sexy, wise. Well, that’s what I’d like …”
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