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Brel et Moi: Alastair Campbell on Jacques Brel

Alastair Campbell, former director of communications for Tony Blair, reveals his little-known but lifelong passion for the music of Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel.

Campbell happened across Brel's music during the time he spent hitchhiking across France as a student in the late 1970s, and has been hooked ever since. Now, over 30 years after Brel's death, Campbell travels to Paris to delve into the secrets of the singer's life and music. Though he is revered in France, Brel is still little known in Britain. With songs like Ne Me Quitte Pas he was willing to explore much deeper, darker emotions than most pop music. On stage, he was hugely popular for his intense, ferocious live performances. But behind his public image, he led a complicated personal life.

Campbell meets Brel's friends and family to find out more about the personality that produced his powerful, emotional music. The programme includes contributions from Brel's co-writer Jean Corti, journalist and author Olivier Todd and another Brel fanatic, comedian Mel Smith.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Thu 12 Nov 2009 11:30