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David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust

Documentary telling the story of how David Bowie arrived at one of the most iconic creations in pop history - Ziggy Stardust - with contributions from colleagues and famous fans.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is arguably the most important album in the mind-blowing career of David Bowie. Released in 1972, it's the record that set the mercurial musician on course to becoming one of the best-known pop stars on the planet. In just over a year, Bowie's messianic Martian invaded the minds of the nation's youth with a killer combination of extraterrestrial rock 'n' roll and outrageous sexuality, all delivered in high-heeled boots, multicoloured dresses and extravagant make-up. In Bowie's own words, Ziggy was 'a cross between Nijinsky and Woolworths', but this unlikely culture clash worked - Ziggy turned Bowie into stardust.

This documentary tells the story of how Bowie arrived at one of the most iconic creations in the history of pop music. The songs, the hairstyles, the fashion and the theatrical stage presentation merged together to turn David Bowie into the biggest craze since the Beatles. Ziggy's instant success gave the impression that he was the perfectly planned pop star. But, as the film reveals, it had been a momentous struggle for David Bowie to hit on just the right formula that would take him to the top.

Narrated by fan Jarvis Cocker, it reveals Bowie's mission to the stars through the musicians and colleagues who helped him in his unwavering quest for fame - a musical voyage that led Bowie to doubt his true identity, eventually forcing the sudden demise of his alien alter ego, Ziggy.

Contributors include Trevor Bolder (bass player, Spiders from Mars), Woody Woodmansey (drummer, Spider from Mars), Mike Garson (Spiders' keyboardist), Suzi Ronson (Mick Ronson's widow, who gave Bowie that haircut), Ken Scott (producer), Elton John (contemporary and fan), Lindsay Kemp (Bowie's mime teacher), Leee Black Childers (worked for Mainman, Bowie's production company), Cherry Vanilla (Bowie's PA/press officer), George Underwood (Bowie's friend), Mick Rock (Ziggy's official photographer), Steve Harley, Marc Almond, Holly Johnson, Peter Hook, Jon Savage, Peter Doggett and Dylan Jones.

59 minutes

Last on

Fri 26 Jul 2019 22:00

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:03

    The Sweet

    Block Buster!

  • 00:05

    David Bowie

    The Laughing Gnome

  • 00:05

    David Bowie

    The Jean Genie

  • 00:11

    David Bowie

    Space Oddity

  • 00:17

    David Bowie


  • 00:18

    David Bowie

    Life On Mars?

  • 00:19

    David Bowie

    Queen B****

  • 00:20

    David Bowie


  • 00:34

    Lou Reed

    Walk On The Wild Side

  • 00:42

    Roxy Music

    Virginia Plain

  • 00:44


    See My Baby Jive

  • 00:46

    David Bowie

    Aladdin Sane

  • 00:54

    David Bowie

    Ziggy Stardust


Role Contributor
Narrator Jarvis Cocker
Director James Hale
Producer James Hale
Executive Producer Ryan Minchin
Executive Producer Paul Bullock


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BBC Music chronicles Bowie's career