A Channel 4 documentary looking into the life and tragic death of much-loved presenter Caroline Flack left viewers in tears as it aired on Wednesday night.
Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death saw friends and family of the Love Island host pay tribute to her, while documenting the rise of her career and her tragic passing one year on.
Viewers took to Twitter in their droves as they watched the ‘heartbreaking’ scenes and praised her family for bravely shedding light on Caroline’s mental health.
The emotional documentary saw the late TV star’s mother and twin sister discuss her ‘fascination’ with suicide and past mental health battles, with her relatives admitting they begged her to quit showbiz to give herself some chance of ‘an easy life’.
The harrowing one-part show also featured appearances from some of Caroline’s closest friends, including her former X Factor co-presenter Olly Murs, 36, who broke down in tears and said her untimely passing is ‘going to hurt for a long time’.
Emotional: A Channel 4 documentary looking into the life and tragic death of much-loved presenter Caroline Flack left viewers in tears when it aired on Wednesday night
Caroline was tragically found dead on February 15, aged 40, the day after hearing the Crown Prosecution Service would go ahead with a trial for allegedly attacking her model and former tennis player boyfriend Lewis Burton in December 2019.
BAFTA winner Charlie Russell directed the documentary and commissioner Becky Cadman said she hoped the programme would be a ‘fitting tribute to Caroline.’
She said: ‘This film is about and for Caroline. A sister, daughter, friend and one of the most successful TV presenters in the country.’
They added: ‘A rollercoaster life told through the memories of the people who knew her best, Caroline’s family and friends, we hope this will be a fitting tribute to her.’
Moving: Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death saw friends and family of the Love Island host pay tribute to her, while documenting the rise of her career and her tragic passing one year on
Devastating: Caroline’s mum Christine revealed the presenter attempted to hide her problems because she was ‘frightened’ of the public’s reaction
Heartbreaking: Viewers took to Twitter in their droves as they watched the ‘heartbreaking’ scenes and praised her family for bravely shedding light on Caroline’s mental health
And viewers flooded Twitter as they watched the late TV presenter’s mum Christine, 70, and twin sister Jody, 41, talk about Caroline.
One viewer wrote: ‘Watching the programme and it’s heartbreaking such a beautiful person inside and out was a shame that she thought this was the only way out! Hope this helps people understand what she was going through.’
Another added: ‘How brave are Caroline’s mum and sister talking about the many suicides attempts of Caroline even before she was famous, such a hard thing to have dealt with in all their lives, so desperately said.’
RIP: Caroline was tragically found dead on February 15, aged 40, after hearing the CPS would go ahead with a trial for allegedly attacking her boyfriend Lewis Burton
Always remembered: Caroline Flack’s mum has revealed the late star’s ‘beautiful’ memorial bench where the family goes to feel at ‘peace’
Tragic: The former Love Island presenter is remembered with a bench in Norfolk that’s inscribed with a heartbreaking message
Always remembered: To mark the first anniversary of her tragic passing, Caroline’s mother Christine and sister Jody, 41, visited her bench, which is located in a serene woodland
‘The documentary about Caroline Flack is truly heartbreaking. I can’t believe I’m sat here watching this and only just coming to terms that she’s really no longer here. Rest in peace you beautiful lady, you’re still so loved,’ typed another.
‘Oh my god this Caroline Flack programme is heartbreaking,’ a third viewer chimed.
A different Twitter user typed: ‘Caroline Flack was a real life angel.’
‘I am sat here in tears listening to Caroline’s story and listening to her family talking about her,’ said another.
Tribute: Viewers flooded Twitter as they watched the late TV presenter’s mum Christine, 70, and twin sister Jody, 41, talk about Caroline
During the Channel 4 documentary, Caroline’s mum Christine and her sister Jody spoke about how the presenter was always ‘fascinated’ by suicide and previously tried to kill herself following a relationship breakup before she found fame.
And in a bid to encourage her fans to open up about mental health, they revealed Caroline attempted to hide her own problems – she had battled depression since becoming a teenager – because she was ‘frightened’ of the public’s reaction and how it might impact her career.
Christine said: ‘She had a long relationship when she was in Cambridge but that ended and then we got a call, she’d taken some pills, she spent time in hospital and then you could tell it wasn’t right, her reaction wasn’t right. Yeah, she didn’t handle heartbreak well.
‘You always worried’: During the Channel 4 documentary, Caroline’s mum Christine and her sister Jody spoke about how the presenter was always ‘fascinated’ by suicide
Shining a light: In a bid to encourage her fans to open up about mental health, they revealed Caroline attempted to hide her own problems as she was ‘frightened’ of the public’s reaction
‘We went through all the doctors and they saw to her and thought no it’s just a one off but there was always that fear after then that… I don’t know, you always worried in case anything happened.’
Jody added: ‘It feels so weird talking about it because I know it’s something she never wanted anybody to know about.
‘Each serious boyfriend, she sort of took a lot of tablets, drank a lot, and ended up in an A&E situation a lot of times. She really didn’t think she could cope with that feeling so it was her trying to control it.’
‘We were great together’: Meanwhile, Olly Murs, 36, said his ‘heart breaks’ every time he thinks of Caroline
Meanwhile, Olly Murs, 36, said his ‘heart breaks’ every time he thinks of Caroline, and he struggles to imagine the internal suffering she endured in the moments that led up to her suicide.
During the documentary, the singer sobbed as he remembered the good times he shared with his close friend and former co-presenter.
Olly said: ‘I just know that my heart breaks every time I think of Caz and think of what she would’ve had to have gone through to take her own life and that’s going to hurt for a long time because we got on so well – we were great together.’
‘That’s going to hurt’: Olly said he struggles to imagine the suffering she endured in the moments that led up to her suicide
‘It was an awful experience’: Later in the documentary, Olly spoke about the public’s negative reaction to him and Caroline presenting The X Factor in 2015
TV presenter Natalie Pinkham, 43, added: ‘All that talent, all that love, all the joy she brought, just gone.
‘She has gone, it’s just horrible and you feel like saying “come on you’ve made your point now, come back, we’ve all listened, we’ve heard and I’m sorry.”‘
Later in the documentary, Olly spoke about the public’s negative reaction to him and Caroline presenting The X Factor in 2015 – and how they first knew they were losing their jobs when it became a news story.
Olly said: ‘I remember the final of The X Factor there was a big story and basically we were getting sacked after the show.
‘Everyone hated us’: Dermot O’Leary returned to The X Factor a year later after co-hosts Caroline and Olly received a negative reaction from the public
‘It was an awful experience knowing that everyone hated us on the show. That X Factor experience for both of us was hard. But again Caroline, God, she got it so much more than me. I don’t know what it was.’
Elsewhere in the documentary, Dermot O’Leary’s wife Dee, 42, who’s a TV producer and was close friends with Caroline, said the former Love Island presenter became entrapped in a game of ‘cat and mouse’ with social media as she became more famous.
‘She hated it but she couldn’t live without it’: Dermot and his wife Dee reflected on the impact the rise of social media had on Caroline’s mental health
Dee said: ‘Her rise to fame coincided with the rise of social media and I think she was in a kind of weird cat and mouse game with social media, with press, with fame.’
Appearing alongside his wife, Dermot, 47, added: ‘She hated it but she couldn’t live without it.’
The film showed some examples of the hateful tweets posted about Caroline, including one that said: ‘There is nobody on earth I hate more than Caroline Flack.’
Olly said: ‘The abuse that she was getting, it was awful, awful. Those comments did affect her, those comments did hurt.’
‘Those comments did hurt’: Olly said the ‘abuse’ Caroline received on Twitter was ‘awful’ and the remarks would affect on her (Caroline pictured in 2019)
Polly Hill, who was Caroline’s agent between 2003 and 2015, explained: ‘We did try quite hard to try and wean her off social media but actually I don’t think we ever really got a handle on that, unfortunately.
‘It was slightly destroying her, I would say. She was suffering basically and then when you did see her face to face, nothing would get mentioned it would be a “yeah I’m fine” whereas obviously she wasn’t fine… yeah.’
Caroline’s mum, said: ‘I used to say to her “well just don’t read it, get rid of your phone” but she’d be on it constantly, you’d try and talk to her but she’d be looking at her phone.’
‘She wasn’t fine’: Polly Hill, who was Caroline’s agent between 2003-2015, said social media ‘destroyed’ the presenter and while she was suffering, she always put on a brave face in person
And This Morning presenter Dermot hinted at the importance of speaking out about mental health issues, as him and wife Dee said Caroline ‘hid’ her problems ‘so well’ but they never went away.
Dermot said: ‘It’s very difficult to know the extent of someone’s problems if they tell you – if they sweep them under the carpet.’
Dee added: ‘She just hid it too well, that’s the thing she just hid it so well and for me the only warning signs were the addiction to social media and you definitely saw that over the years progressing and obviously that then grew and grew and didn’t really stop and go away.’
In the Channel 4 film, Caroline’s mum Christine shared her regret over not spending more time with her daughter when she had the chance.
She looked back at old Mother’s Day cards from Caroline and her Showbiz memorabilia, including the Strictly Glitter Ball trophy she won in 2014.
Christine said: ‘She used to say to me “oh I’ve booked this mum, are you coming? Come with me.”
‘Or “we’ll go here and go there” and I’d say “I’ve got to work” and I did have to work and do you know Charlie… you shouldn’t, all the times you sort of miss with someone and you should just do it shouldn’t you?’
‘All the times you miss with someone’: In the Channel 4 film, Caroline’s mum Christine shared her regret over not spending more time with her daughter when she had the chance
Her family hope the film will give Caroline’s fans the confidence to talk about their problems and break down the stigma still attached to depression.
They believe if the former X Factor host had opened up about her illness, she may still be here today.
Christine explained: ‘She hated the thought of people thinking she was this awful person.
‘Even when she’d taken pills as a young person, she didn’t want anyone to know, she didn’t want anyone to know she got down and I know they say everyone’s talking about it now but I think a lot of people that really suffer with depression still don’t talk about it, they don’t. I think people are still frightened to say it.’
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.
Sad: Christine looked back at old Mother’s Day cards from Caroline and her Showbiz memorabilia, including the Strictly Glitter Ball trophy and her Love Island pilot hat