Entertainment & Arts

David Bowie 'lost' footage to be broadcast

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Media captionA Top of the Pops David Bowie performance thought lost has been aired for the first time on television since 1973

A rare David Bowie Top of the Pops performance will be shown on television for the first time since it was originally broadcast in 1973.

It was believed that every recording of the singer's performing number two hit "The Jean Genie" had been destroyed.

It emerged in October that one had been found - and it will feature in a Top of The Pops Christmas Special on BBC 2.

The footage belonged to TV cameraman John Henshall, who was unaware how rare the performance was.

Mr Henshall, from Oxfordshire, worked on the show and kept a copy of Bowie's appearance.

He mentioned that he had the tape during an interview on Johnnie Walker's Radio 2 show earlier this year, after which excited Bowie aficionados contacted him to explain its status.

The film was later shown at the Missing Believed Wiped event at the British Film Institute in London, which celebrates the discovery of long-lost TV shows.

The four-minute clip shows Bowie performing alongside his then-band The Spiders From Mars, who play a slightly extended version of Jean Genie.

It will be screened in full on the Top of The Pops special.

Tapes wiped

The performance has not been broadcast on TV since it originally aired on 4 January 1973, the day after it was recorded.

It was lost when hundreds of shows were wiped to allow video tape to be reused by the BBC, because of its high cost.

Mr Henshall was unaware until recently that the BBC had not kept a copy.

"I just couldn't believe that I was the only one with it. I just thought you wouldn't be mad enough to wipe a tape like that," he said earlier this month.

Mark Cooper, executive producer of Top Of The Pops 2, said: "Bowie singing The Jean Genie is electric and the kind of piece of archive that not only brings back how brilliant Top Of The Pops could be, but also how a piece of archive can speak to us down the years.

"I can't imagine what other piece of TOTP from the early Seventies would be as extraordinary a find."

BBC Two's 90-minute Top of the Pops Christmas Special will be screened at 19:30 GMT on Wednesday.

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