Dame Julie Walters addresses death of Caroline Flack

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Dame Julie Walters has said that Caroline Flack’s death is a “big example” of how being at the “mercy of opinion” can make people “ill”.

Former Love Island presenter Flack was found dead at her home in east London on Saturday, having taken her own life aged 40.

Dame Julie told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that she would have found the intensity of modern fame “very difficult” as a young actress.

The veteran performer, who also revealed that she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer, said she did not need “any Tom, Dick or Harry” critiquing her.

Asked how she would have dealt with the “scrutiny of social media, the news and the showbiz websites”, Dame Julie replied: “It would be very difficult because I have nothing to do with social media.

“I’m very private – you’re at the mercy of opinion enough without that, without any Tom, Dick or Harry coming up and saying, ‘You look old’ or ‘You look fat’ or ‘Your acting is dreadful’.

“I don’t need that, thanks. I can question those things enough myself.

Tributes placed outside Caroline Flack’s former home in north London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“So if you’re slightly fragile and you’ve got a wall of that coming at you, it’s unhealthy.

“It makes people ill. Poor old Caroline Flack is a big example of that.”

She also revealed that she had watched Love Island after waking from the operation to remove part of her colon.

Flack’s death prompted a wave of grief from celebrity friends and members of the public.

Caroline Flack outside court (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The TV star stepped down from presenting the current winter series after the alleged assault on her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

She pleaded not guilty at a court hearing in December and was released on bail.

But she was ordered to stop having any contact with Mr Burton ahead of a trial, which had been due to begin in March.

The dating show did not air on Saturday or Sunday as a mark of respect to her family and returned on Monday with a tribute to Flack, who started hosting the programme in 2015.