Keith Richards to front BBC Two film for My Generation season and curate a ‘Lost Weekend’ for BBC Four
There was a feeling late 50s/early 60s that there was a change coming... I certainly felt that for my generation and what was happening and the feeling in the air was - it's time to push limits.Keith Richards
For BBC Two, Keith Richards - The Origin Of The Species is a 60-minute film by acclaimed director Julien Temple, in which he journeys back to his formative years during the post-war era. This film is the centrepiece of the BBC’s My Generation season.
And exclusively for BBC Four this September, Keith Richards’ Lost Weekend will feature two nights of programming all hand-picked by Keith, which could include documentaries, films and live performances. Each night will feature an introduction by Keith - specially-filmed by Julien Temple - talking about the reasons behind his selections and inspirations.
Avatar of rebellion, buccaneer, soul survivor, as well as the coolest dude on the planet, Keith Richards - the myth - has meant so many different things to so many different people that it is easy to overlook the quintessential Englishness that still truly defines him. By reclaiming for the first time on film his suburban roots, Keith Richards - The Origin Of The Species explores the impact he has had on how we all live our lives today.
Speaking in the film, Keith Richards says: “There was a feeling late 50s/early 60s that there was a change coming. Harold Macmillan actually said it - the 'winds of change' and all that - but he didn’t mean it in quite the same way. I certainly felt that for my generation, what was happening and the feeling in the air was - it’s time to push limits. The world is ours now and you can rise or fall on it.”
Julien Temple says: “Listening to the early Stones as a kid changed everything for me. I felt a new way of living emerging, a new kind of person becoming possible - something I wanted to be a part of. And without a doubt I thought Keith Richards was the Origin Of The Species. This film sets out to explore how both he and the 60s in England came about."
It is no coincidence that more bombs fell on Keith's birthplace Dartford during the war than anywhere else in Britain. Nor that the ultimate survivor himself should escape a direct hit from one of Hitler's doodlebugs, which sprayed his cot with bricks and mortar, before he could walk or talk.
In the film, Keith's visceral journey through the deprivations of those post-war years allows him to speak with hard-fought experience and unique authority on the wider preconditions of the 40s and 50s - rationing, austerity, the beginning of the National Health and the end of National Service among them - which fed into those attitudes and emerging lifestyles that finally achieved critical mass in the early 1960s.
Ending at the point the Rolling Stones began, the film will explore, through Keith's own coming of age, the cultural undercurrents and transformative thinking which occurred in Britain during those often underestimated decades, and made possible the great worldwide explosion of English rock music in the 60s, of which he was one of the crucial detonators.
Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, says: “Keith Richards is undoubtedly one of the key icons of our age. His film for BBC Two will be a fascinating exploration into the post-war years, how they impacted both his life and others and influenced the 60s and the decades that followed. And his curated weekend of programmes for BBC Four will be a thrilling musical journey for viewers - giving an extraordinary and unique insight into Keith’s passions and inspirations.”
Jan Younghusband, Head of Music TV Commissioning, said: “Keith Richards is an outstanding talent and an inspiration to us all. We are thrilled to be able to bring his unique and entertaining insights to our audience, in this special collaboration with Julien Temple. I know it will be a totally original experience.”
Julien Temple is an award-winning director with a catalogue of work steeped in music and film-making. His first feature film was the Sex Pistols "Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and he directed the band’s music video for ‘God Save the Queen’. He has directed numerous music videos for artists including David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Sid Vicious and Whitney Houston and - among many film credits - directed Absolute Beginners featuring Bowie and Patsy Kensit, and Bullet featuring Tupac Shakur and Mickey Rourke.
Keith Richards - The Origin Of The Species is directed by Julien Temple and executive produced by Jane Rose for Nitrate Films. The film and Keith Richards’ Lost Weekend were commissioned by and executive produced for the BBC by Jan Younghusband, Head of Music TV Commissioning.