Autopsy show to focus on Hutchence death

The new series of Channel 5's Autopsy opens with an investigation into the tragic death of INXS front man Michael Hutchence.

The hour-long documentary promises to separate fact from rumour and find out, once and for all, whether the 37-year-old rock star died from suicide or a sex act gone wrong.

Respected forensic psychologist Doctor Richard Shepherd, who examines the cases for Channel 5's Autopsy, told What’s on TV:

"In Michael Hutchence's case there’s an awful lot of rumour as well as a lot of facts.

"What I do here is bring the important facts together. This brings out some of the important and unusual aspects of Michael Hutchence’s death, and leads us to conclusions people will be surprised by."

When Michael Hutchence was found hanged in his room at Sydney's Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1997, his death sent shockwaves around the world.

In life INXS's lead singer had captivated fans and media with his rock and roll lifestyle, which included high-profile relationships with Kylie Minogue and supermodel Helena Christensen, and his very public affair with Bob Geldof's then-wife, Paula Yates.

His sudden death became a media frenzy, as details of his final drug-fuelled night emerged - revealing a furious phone call with Paula’s ex-husband Bob, who was locked in a bitter custody battle with Paula over their thee children.

The coroner ruled suicide, yet Paula – who sadly died of a heroin overdose three years later – remained convinced Michael's death was due to an autoerotic sex act gone wrong.

Dr Shepherd, the forensic pathological expert for the Inquiry and Inquest into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Dodi Al Fayed, said:

"Michael had been drinking and taking drugs the night he died. He had a telephone call with Bob Geldof about whether the children could join him and Paula for Christmas in Australia. He was left terribly distressed by the call, and was alone with his frets and worries. The next time he was seen, he was dead."

He added: “Michael’s tragic death alone in his hotel room turned into a bit of a media circus.

"Celebrities have the same stresses and strains, difficulties and worries and anxieties the rest of the population has.

"Rumours and speculation are interesting, but so is getting to the truth… though it might not be what you want to hear."

To find out what Dr Richard concludes, tune into Autopsy on Channel 5, Thursday July 24th at 9pm.

Later in the series, Dr Richard probes the tragic deaths of singer Karen Carpenter and actress Brittany Murphy.

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.