Caroline Flack

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Caroline Flack
Caroline Flack.jpg
Flack in 2012
Born
Caroline Louise Flack

(1979-11-09)9 November 1979
Enfield, Greater London, England
Died15 February 2020(2020-02-15) (aged 40)
London, England
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
Occupation
  • Television and radio presenter
  • actress
Years active2001–2020
Known for

Caroline Louise Flack (9 November 1979 – 15 February 2020) was an English television and radio presenter. She began her career as an actress, starring in Bo' Selecta! (2002) and presented various ITV2 shows including I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! NOW! (2009–2010) and The Xtra Factor (2011–2013).

Flack won the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014; the following year she began presenting The X Factor (2015) – replacing the long-standing presenter Dermot O'Leary – and Love Island (2015–2019). She left Love Island in December 2019 after being arrested for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, the tennis player Lewis Burton.

On 15 February 2020, Flack was found dead at her home in North East London; in August 2020 a coroner's inquest determined it was a suicide.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Caroline Louise Flack was born in the Enfield area of Greater London on 9 November 1979,[3] the youngest of the four children of Coca-Cola sales representative Ian Flack and his wife, Christine (née Callis).[4][5] Shortly after her birth her father was promoted to the company's management, and the family moved to Thetford, Norfolk. When Flack was seven, they moved again to nearby East Wretham. Flack and her twin sister, Jody, were born when their sister Elizabeth was 10 and their brother Paul, eight. Jody, the elder twin by six minutes, was originally supposed to be called Caroline, but her mother decided the name did not suit her.[6][7] Flack attended Great Hockham Primary School and Wayland Community High School in Watton, Norfolk.[8] She developed an interest in dancing and performed in village pantomimes while at school. While at school she was given medical treatment for being "very underweight".[9] Between 1996 and 1999 she studied dancing and musical theatre at the Bodywork Company in Cambridge.[5]

Career[edit]

In 2002 Flack gained her break on television playing Michael Jackson's pet chimpanzee Bubbles on the sketch show Bo' Selecta![10] She then presented the International Pepsi Chart Show, before moving to Channel 4 where, in 2005, she presented links between videos on E4 Music and co-presented The Games: Live at Trackside on E4 with Justin Lee Collins. In 2005 she also had a regular segment on the video games show When Games Attack. A year later she co-presented the Saturday morning show TMi with Sam & Mark, which aired on BBC Two and the CBBC Channel. Subsequently, she hosted the CBBC show Escape from Scorpion Island together with Reggie Yates.[11]

Flack hosted the CBBC coverage of Comic Relief Does Fame Academy in March 2007,[12] commenting on the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with Paddy O'Connell.[13] She also hosted Big Brother's Big Mouth during Week 5 of the 2008 series. The Daily Mirror journalist Rob Leigh commented that "her sharp delivery makes her the best presenter they’ve had on this series".[14] However, this was not the first time that Flack was linked to Big Brother. Before the series began, it had been reported that she was Dermot O'Leary's replacement on Big Brother's Little Brother.[15]

Flack at the 2013 BAFTAs

In 2009 Flack replaced Kirsty Gallacher as co-host of Gladiators with Ian Wright for the second series on Sky1.[16] In July 2009, she was a substitute presenter on the BBC's Sunday show Something for the Weekend, while Amanda Hamilton was on maternity leave. In the same year Flack began hosting the ITV2 reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here NOW! Scheduling clashes with I'm a Celebrity meant that she could not film the next series of TMi, leading to her bowing out after three series. The same year she won BBC Three's Dancing on Wheels with disabled partner James O'Shea[17] and the pair represented Great Britain in the 2009 Wheelchair Dancing European Championships in Tel Aviv, finishing 16th in their category.[18]

Flack co-presented the game show The Whole 19 Yards with Vernon Kay on ITV in 2010. She also modelled for the mag Maxim.[19] On 16 February 2010, she presented backstage at the 2010 Brit Awards on ITV2. In November 2010 she returned to host I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here Now! on ITV2.[20]

In 2011 Flack was a team captain on the ITV2 game show Minute to Win It.[21] That year she and Olly Murs presented the eighth series of The Xtra Factor, replacing Konnie Huq.[22][23] Flack and Murs both returned for the ninth series. Flack returned for the tenth series in 2013, while Murs was replaced by Matt Richardson.[24][25] On 12 June 2014 it was confirmed that Flack would not return for series 11 and was replaced by Sarah-Jane Crawford.[26]

Flack hosted the ITV2 show Viral Tap in 2014.[27] In December 2014 she reunited with Murs to host a Christmas Day and New Year's Eve programme on British radio station Magic Radio. Flack was announced as a contestant on the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. Her professional partner was Pasha Kovalev. The couple earned the first perfect 40 of the series for their salsa in the semi-finals, followed by an additional three in the finals giving them a perfect total of 120 points, a previously unmatched feat. On 20 December 2014 Flack and Kovalev became series champions.[28]

On 16 April 2015 it was announced that Flack, along with Murs would replace Dermot O'Leary as the hosts for the 12th series of The X Factor from August 2015.[29] In February 2016 Flack and Murs confirmed that they would not be returning for the 13th series of The X Factor and were permanently replaced by O'Leary.[30][31]

Flack began to present ITV2's Love Island in June 2015 and its spin-off show Love Island: Aftersun when the third series was broadcast from June 2017. On 17 December 2019 she announced that she would be standing down as host for the sixth series following an allegation that she had assaulted her boyfriend.[32]

In December 2015, she was part of the presenting team for ITV's Christmas telethon Text Santa.[33] In May 2016 she began co-presenting Sunday Morning Breakfast from 9 am to noon over the summer with Gethin Jones across the Heart Network.[34]

Flack had been due to present a reality series about cosmetic surgery called The Surjury on Channel 4, but it was cancelled following her death in February 2020. [35] She has a cameo role in the film Greed, which was released on 21 February 2020. The trailer, which featured her role, premiered on the same day.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Flack dated Prince Harry in 2009, but the relationship ended quickly after the media began reporting on it, according to her autobiography.[37][38] In 2011, she had a brief relationship with One Direction member Harry Styles.[39] Around 2014 and 2015, she was in a relationship with Sam Smith's manager Jack Street.[38] She was briefly engaged to the reality TV personality Andrew Brady in 2018,[35] and dated the rugby player Danny Cipriani in 2019.[40][41] In 2015 Flack came fifth in FHM's Sexiest Women.[42]

On 13 December 2019 Flack was charged with assaulting her boyfriend, the tennis player Lewis Burton, after an incident at her Islington flat the previous morning.[43] Flack allegedly confessed "I did it" to police when they arrived, and then warned she would kill herself.[44] On 17 December, Flack stood down from hosting Love Island in order to "not detract attention from the upcoming series".[45] It was later reported that Flack was glad for the break from her hosting role as she was experiencing "personal issues" and had been suffering from an emotional breakdown for "a very long time".[46][47][48] Despite this, the show's producers said that the "door was open" for a possible future return as host.[49] Flack pleaded not guilty to the charges at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on 23 December. Her solicitor told the court that Burton did not support the prosecution and that "he is not the victim, as he would say, he was a witness".[50] She was released on bail with the condition that she did not contact Burton and was due to stand trial on 4 March 2020.[50] Burton posted an affectionate Valentine's Day message to Instagram the day before she died.[51] Flack's management criticised the CPS for pressing ahead with what her management termed a "show trial", even after her boyfriend said he did not support the prosecution.[52][53]

Death and investigation[edit]

Flack was found dead in her flat, in Stoke Newington, London, on 15 February 2020, aged 40.[54][55] The lawyer acting for her family stated that her death was a suicide.[56][57] A Love Island highlights episode, due to be shown on ITV2 on the day of her death, was cancelled.[58] The inquest into her death opened on 19 February and heard she had been found hanged in her flat. The inquest was adjourned until 5 August 2020.[59] E4 pulled a Love Island sketch on Robot Chicken involving Bitch Pudding out of respect due to her suicide. On 6 August, after a two-day hearing, the coroner found that Flack's death was a suicide. She had killed herself after learning she would be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, following a long struggle with "fluctuating mental health" that was exacerbated by the stress of fame.[1][2]

Following Flack's death, British Labour Party MP Lisa Nandy blamed social media networks for failing to prevent harassment and bullying, saying "In no other area of life would we allow private companies to police themselves. We ought to make sure the state has a system of regulation and support around that." Many other British politicians, including Keir Starmer, Grant Shapps, Daisy Cooper, Matt Hancock, Nadine Dorries and Kate Osamor, condemned traditional and social media.[60] Following a review of Flack's charges by the Crown Prosecution Service, it was found that the decision to go ahead with the trial was "handled appropriately".[61]

Flack is the fourth person linked to Love Island to have killed themselves.[62] Former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis had also killed themselves after appearing on the show, as well as Gradon's boyfriend.[62] Flack's death raised questions about the pressures of the programme and resulted in calls for it to be cancelled, with many drawing attention to how The Jeremy Kyle Show had recently been cancelled after a participant killed himself.[62][63]

Television[edit]

Principal shows[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2001 Is Harry on the Boat? Blonde British made-for-TV film, based on the lives of holiday reps in Ibiza [64]
2002, 2004 Bo' Selecta! Bubbles [65]
2003–2004 Fash FC Presenter [5]
2004 Weapons of Mass Distraction Corporal Flack A satirical comedy taking a sideways look at the tabloid news [66]
2005 The Games: Live at Trackside Co-presenter 2 series [67]
2005 When Games Attack Co-presenter and reporter [67]
2006–2008 TMi Co-presenter 3 series [68]
2007 Comic Relief Does Fame Academy Co-presenter [69]
2007 Escape from Scorpion Island Host 1 series [70]
2008 Eurovision Song Contest 2008 Semi-Finals Commentator [71]
2008 Big Brother's Big Mouth Week 5 Presenter 5 episodes [72]
2009–2010 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! NOW! Co-presenter 2 series [68]
2009 Gladiators Co-presenter 1 series [68]
2009 Something for the Weekend Presenter As maternity cover for the permanent presenter Amanda Hamilton [73]
2009 Dancing on Wheels Participant Winner [17]
2010 The Whole 19 Yards Co-presenter 1 series [72]
2010 BRIT Awards: Backstage Co-presenter [74]
2011 Minute to Win It Team captain 1 series [75]
2011–2013 The Xtra Factor Co-presenter 3 series [68]
2013 The X Factor Backstage presenter Live Shows [76]
2014 Viral Tap Presenter 1 series [72]
2014 Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Series 12 winner [28]
2015–2019 Love Island Presenter 5 series [68]
2015 The X Factor Co-presenter Series 12 [68]
2015 Text Santa Co-presenter Christmas appeal show [77]
2017–2019 Love Island: Aftersun Main presenter Love Island spin-off show [78]
Unaired The Surjury Main presenter Planned broadcast in 2020 cancelled after Flack's death [79]

Guest appearances[edit]

Radio[edit]

Year Station Show Role Ref.
2016 Heart Network Sunday Mornings Co-presenter [88]

Bibliography[edit]

Flack published her autobiography Storm in a C-Cup in 2015. Following her death, it was reissued in 2020, with further information about her battles with anxiety.[89]

  • Flack, Caroline (2015). Storm in a C Cup: My Autobiography. London: Simon & Schuster UK. ISBN 978-1471154386.

It has been confirmed by Simon & Schuster that Flack had been working on another book before her death, which blended aspects of self-help with her personal recollections on maintaining good mental health.[89]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]