Magenta Devine, a TV presenter and former music publicist, has died at the age of 61.
The star, who worked on Channel 4’s Network 7 and the BBC’s Rough Guides To The World, died today (March 6) after undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness at a London hospital, according to her family.
In a statement, her family called her “a talented writer and stylish on-screen presence who was greatly admired by her many friends and colleagues for her creativity and wit.”
Devine, whose real name was Kim Taylor, was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1957. While living in Aylesbury, she had a column in the Aylesbury Roxette fanzine, and began her career working as a publicist. She initially worked for Tony Brainsby, a publicist for acts including Queen and Thin Lizzy. She went on to become the publicist for her then-boyfriend Tony James’ band, Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
She began working in TV after Janet Street-Porter asked her to be a presenter on Channel 4’s short-lived youth music and current affairs programme Network 7 in 1987. From there, both Street-Porter and Devine moved to BBC Two to work on DEF II. A segment from that show would later become Devine’s standalone programme Rough Guides To The World, while she also contributed to current affairs show Reportage, covering the emergence of acid house among other topics, and hosted ITV documentary series Young, Gifted and Broke.
During her TV career, Devine interviewed numerous stars of pop culture, including Johnny Rotten and Boy George.
Devine was also made a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 1998 and led a campaign for women’s equality and reproductive rights.
Street-Porter has paid tribute to Devine on Twitter, calling her “a brilliant presenter” and a “one-off who always made everything we did together utterly memorable.”
Magenta De Vine was a brilliant presenter, a one-off who always made everything we did together utterly memorable xxx
— Janet Street-Porter (@The_Real_JSP) March 6, 2019
Magenta Devine, TV presenter, dies at 61 – BBC News
So sad to hear this news, you were an amazing extraordinary woman Magenta xxx https://t.co/bHufu5daH4
— tony james (@tonyjamesworld) March 6, 2019
James said he was “so sad to hear this news”, adding: “You were an amazing extraordinary woman, Magenta.”
Her former DEF II co-presenter Sankha Guha said in a statement given to the BBC: “[She was] 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.”
I've just heard that Magenta DeVine has died. I knew her slightly for a while and she was one of the funniest, most entertaining and lovely people I ever met.
— David Quantick (@quantick) March 6, 2019
RIP Magenta Devine. Played media midwife to Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and did it all without ever taking her sunglasses off. That's got to count for something.
— Simon Price (@simon_price01) March 6, 2019
Another staple of my youth gone. RIP Magenta Devine. The epitome of cool and a youth TV trailblazer. She started out her career presenting BBC Wales music programme Juice (see pic) Here's a link to some fine performances from some great lost Welsh bandshttps://t.co/7ZTbzrcoDa pic.twitter.com/pwai3SZTKx
— David Owens (@asoundreaction) March 6, 2019
So sad to hear that Magenta Devine has died. Growing up she was by far the coolest person on TV, there was no-one else like her. https://t.co/tKCqhT7hOc
— Geoff ?????? (@itinerantgeoff) March 6, 2019
Magenta was magically cool. A brilliant presenter, really intelligent, always a laugh and full of help and advice. We worked on Reportage together in 1988/9 – it was my second job on TV, I was 18 and she used to call me "Baby". God this is sad. https://t.co/4viqQC82qX
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) March 6, 2019
Ah what a sad week. The divine Magenta Devine has left us. A look. A voice I recall so well from Network7 and those Rough Guides to wherever, that's been copied by so many since. I saw her once at an eatery in London and NOT ONCE did she take them sunglasses off. #RIP pic.twitter.com/S8WwPe2OLc
— Mark Binmore (@MarkBinmore) March 6, 2019
Gutted to hear of Magenta Divine. She was just the coolest person to grace the telly back in the day. Oh to have a 10th of her style!
— Kim (@transmute) March 6, 2019
Devine is survived by her father, Gerald Taylor, her sisters Gillian and Georgina, and her brother Nicholas.