Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death: Caroline’s Family Want People To Know ‘She Wasn’t An Awful Girl’
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Featured Image Credit: PA/Flack Family
Caroline Flack's loved ones have paid tribute to their daughter, sister, colleague and friend ahead of a new documentary about her lifer.
Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death will take an imitate look at the TV presenter through home movies, archive footage and interviews with some of her friends including Olly Murs and Dermot O'Leary.
A year has passed since Caroline was found at her flat in London, with her death later ruled as suicide. At the time of her death aged 40, Caroline was due to appear in court charged with assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.
But her family and friends - including mother Christine and twin sister Jody - want the documentary to dispel the negativity surrounding Caroline during her final weeks and to show "how loved she was".
"There was so much negative press around or at the end and she wasn't a negative person," Caroline's mum Christine Flack told Tyla.
"She was a fun loving person but she had this other side that she suffered with depression and downtimes and just bad times and she had them for a long while," added Christine.
"She wasn't an awful girl. She wasn't horrible. She wasn't perfect but she had this 'thing' and people did love her. She didn't have any bad in her. Everything that was written about her hurt her and it shouldn't have done and we would say 'don't read it.' It's so easy to say, because you do read it."
Caroline's career spanned almost two decades, with some of her most recognisable gigs including presenting the staple CBBC program TMi, the ITV spin-off shows I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Now! and The Xtra Factor and she even won the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing.
A very different documentary film was in development before Caroline died, it has now emerged. She had originally teamed up the film's director Charlie Russell and producer Dov Freedman for a documentary that would have allowed her to 'tell her own side of the story' and document what she was going through as she faced trial for assault.
"Dov and I both went to chat with her and we felt like it was just a strong connection," said Christopher, explaining how the current film came to be. "Although she was in the midst of everything, and you could see the pressures that was exerting on her, she was also really lovely and sweet to us and just really interested.
"We felt we owed her in some way to try and tell this story."
Dov added: "Caroline was going through something quite unique at the time and she felt she wanted to document".
Lee McMurray, Channel 4 commissioning editor, said: "Caroline felt she was being silenced. She was very keen to get her side of the story [out] and to present the version of events as she saw it. After she sadly passed away we wanted to still honour that commitment. We went to the people who knew her best."
"The second or third time we went to meet Christine and Jody, Jody handed us two shopping bags full of old VHS and family videos," added Dov. "There's such a richness and a sense of authenticity that really comes across in [the] family videos."
Going down memory lane so soon after Caroline's death was difficult. Christine revealed that her eldest daughter cannot watch Caroline's stint on Strictly, and the whole family struggled at times. However, looking back at Caroline as a teen or when she was a carefree child did offer some solace. "My eldest daughter hasn't even looked at the strictly film yet, she can't bring herself to look at things yet.
"Because we were doing this we were looking at things again and remembering things and funny things that she had written and that was really nice," said Christine.
Jody explained: "It's very much about mental health and I'd quite like it to have an impact on people. That's wasn't really want we wanted to make at the start but it's a better and more important film than what we wanted to make, otherwise it would've been a home video of Caroline."
"If it can reduce the shame around these issues, it would be really good."
Commissioning editor Lee added: "We see it as an important film because it shines a light on the stigma still attached on mental health issues and it speaks to the complexities of that.
"Even if one person is encouraged to seek help as a result of watching this film then we've done something incredibly worthwhile."
After Caroline's death last year, fans spread the #BeKind hashtag on social media to encourage people to take mental health more compassionately.
Christine revealed Caroline always felt nervous about staying with one particular doctor because she was 'fearful' of anyone finding out about her private life and printing it. "She had down times when she would go to clinics and everything had to be so secretive which is so sad," she said.
The coroner had to send her a note to ask who Caroline's doctor for their report because she'd had so many.
Mental health - particularly women's mental health in the public eye - has become one of the biggest conversations in 2021. From Framing Britney Spears to Meghan Markle's ground-breaking interview with Oprah, we have all taken a step back to look at how we society and the press treats key figures.
Director Charlie hopes this documentary adds to that conversation. "We wanted [the] audience to feel what that it was like and there are tweets and headlines [in the documentary] that are painful to watch and awful, and getting that across is really important. Hopefully what you get is a sense of how that would affect someone."
Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death airs Wednesday 17th March at 9pm
Topics: TV and Film, Caroline Flack, wellbeing, TV News, Love Island, Channel 4