Cracked Actor: David Bowie in 1974
In 1974 Alan Yentob, a 27-year-old producer-director for the BBC's Omnibus strand, received a call from Tony Defries, whose management company MainMan looked after David Bowie. After meeting Bowie in New York, agreement was reached to film a documentary around his Diamond Dogs tour of North America. The legendary film Cracked Actor was the result, capturing Bowie at an extraordinary moment in his life.
Alan Yentob, now the presenter of BBC One's imagine series, recalls Bowie demonstrating his use of William S. Burroughs' cut-up style of writing, and Bowie talking in the back seat of a car - footage which encouraged Nicolas Roeg to cast him in The Man Who Fell to Earth.
"He was fragile and exhausted, but also prepared to open up and talk in a way he had never really done before."
- Watch the original Cracked Actor film: BBC One, Imagine on 4 April 2013 at 22:35 and on BBC iPlayer for seven days.
- In addition, BBC Two is preparing to screen a feature-length profile of David Bowie in May 2013. Five Years tracks the critical points of his career - 1971, 1975, 1977, 1980 and 1983 - via unseen archive footage of Bowie and interviews with some of his closest collaborators.