TV presenter and journalist Magenta Devine died last week after a short illness. She was 61. One of the key faces of “Yoof” TV in the 1990s, Magenta (born Kim Taylor) had style, poise and a well-honed journalistic sense for a good story. As co-presenter of Rough Guide on BBC 2 with Sankha Guha she showed Britain’s TV viewers that there was more to travel than a package holiday, and inspired a generation of teenage backpackers. Though not directly related to our books, the programmes were inspired by the local’s-eye-view, tell-it-like-it-is approach of Rough Guides.
Magenta’s struggles with heroin addiction made her a less visible TV presence in later years, but she continued to make an impact on the wider world and was named a UN goodwill ambassador for women’s equality and reproductive rights in 1998.
Co-founder of Rough Guides Martin Dunford said “We got lucky with Magenta all those years ago – she was not only much cooler than us but also really got the Rough Guide approach to travel.”
Rough Guides’ founder Mark Ellingham summed up our feelings when he wrote in The Telegraph this week, “When I head off on my next trip, I’ll be looking for the wildest and most stylish bar that will let me in, and raising a glass to Magenta, an enduring inspiration and an undisputed queen of cool.”
Top image: Magenta Devine (left) and singer Martin Degville in 1988 © Dave Hogan/Getty Images
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