Keith Richards - The Origin Of The Species

Confirmed for BBC Two on 23 July at 9pm to 10pm

Saturday 23 July



This is the story - filmed by acclaimed director, Julien Temple - of Keith Richards’ formative years during the post-war period, and an exploration of how they impacted his life, and influenced the 60s and the decades that followed.

Unlike other recent films, which have tended to view Keith through an American lens, Julien’s film situates him within an English perspective. Focussing on the lost world of Keith's childhood and adolescence between 1945 - 1962, it brings the extraordinary times and place in which he grew up vividly back to life.

Keith's favourite-ever gig found him singing in front of the Queen at Westminster Abbey as a choirboy aged 12. But when his voice broke, he and his best friends were thrown out of the choir and forced to repeat a school year to make up for all the lessons they had missed. Keith describes the cathartic effect of hearing raw blues and unadulterated rock'n'roll on imported albums for the very first time.

Keith speaks with hard-fought experience and authority on the wider preconditions of the 40s and 50s - rationing, austerity and the end of national service amongst them. His oak-aged drawl tells the story of how he escaped into London on long night walks with his grandfather Gus through the bomb-scarred streets.

Keith revisits those same London streets, as well as Dartford, its High Street, and Sidcup Art College where he learnt to play the guitar. Weaving together both high and low culture of the period, The Origin Of The Species brings to life the emerging forces of those post-war years that so spectacularly coalesced in the 1960s.