BBC Two shines the spotlight on David Bowie

I’m thrilled to be bringing this film to BBC Two; David Bowie - Five Years promises to be a revealing look at the life and career of one of the modern era’s most influential and innovative performers."Janice Hadlow, Controller BBC Two
Date: 13.02.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.14
Category: BBC Two
In May 2013, for the first time on British television, BBC Two will broadcast a feature length profile of the legendary David Bowie.

David Bowie - Five Years (working title) will focus on five critical years of his career - 1971, 1975, 1977, 1980 and 1983 before bringing the legend up to date with his latest album.

The film will feature an extraordinary wealth of unseen archive footage of Bowie and include interviews with some of his closest collaborators, including the six key musicians who played on the latest album. It will shine a light on his music, his characters and his unique approach to his work.

The programme will be an in depth and revealing take on this notoriously private artist, who has prided himself on his constant reinvention. It will feature rare audio recordings of Bowie at his most intimate and revealing.

The film will complement the major David Bowie exhibition at London’s V&A, sharing unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive. In addition the BBC has unearthed extraordinary unseen footage of Bowie in the studio, Bowie on tour, Bowie behind the scenes, and previously untransmitted interviews.

Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, says: “I’m thrilled to be bringing this film to BBC Two; David Bowie - Five Years promises to be a revealing look at the life and career of one of the modern era’s most influential and innovative performers.”

Jan Younghusband, Commissioning Editor, Music & Events, says: “David Bowie is one of the most important international music stars of the past fifty years. His impact on the music industry around the globe is exceptional. The never-before-seen footage in this programme will provide a fascinating insight into the world of this very private person.”

Francis Whately, director, says: “This is a project that has been in development for more than a decade, in fact since Bowie and I worked together in 2001 on a film for the BBC Omnibus strand. This year, 2013, is shaping up to be the year of David Bowie, and now is the perfect moment for this feature length film devoted to this extraordinary artist.”

Fifty years ago, David Bowie released his first demo. Thirty years ago he released his biggest selling album of all time. Ten years ago, he released his 23rd studio album. A year later, while touring the album in Germany, he suffered a heart attack backstage and was taken for emergency angioplasty. The remainder of the tour was cancelled. Bowie has never toured again.

Now he’s back with a new single and a new album, the news of which made headlines across the world. And he is being celebrated in a retrospective show at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, from March.

Bowie is recognised as one of the most daring and innovative performers of the modern era, selling an estimated 140 million albums, and boasting both critical and commercial success. Astonishingly, Bowie himself has kept a detailed record of his career.

For over 50 years, he has amassed an enormous collection of his own costumes, props, set designs, sleeve notes, lyrics, previously unseen archive, memorabilia and ephemera spanning his vast career. This collection makes up a fascinating and comprehensive portrait of this very private artist.

Most importantly, it will allow audiences to see Bowie not just as the rock star chameleon of legend, but more as ‘the artist’ - appropriating diverse cultural influences and making him a seminal postmodern pop star. It offers a window on Bowie’s collaborative work with designers of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre and film. It shows how Bowie developed some of the most spectacular stage shows in rock history, and created some of the most iconic music videos of all time.

In addition to the BBC Two programme, the BBC will also have a wealth of other David Bowie-related content across Radio as well as Television this spring.