She reported on the emergence of acid house and interviewed stars like Johnny Rotten during her career
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.”
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.”
Devine is survived by her father, Gerald Taylor, her sisters Gillian and Georgina, and her brother Nicholas.