BBC to air new film on David Bowie's final years

BBC to air new film on David Bowie's final years

BBC Two has revealed it will be airing a new David Bowie film in January 2017 as part of a month of programming to mark the first anniversary of his death. 

David Bowie: The Last Five Years was produced and directed by Francis Whatley, who was behind 2013’s David Bowie: Five Years. The film will feature rare and unseen archive footage and previously unheard early audio interviews with the singer, who died on January 10 this year.

The BBC also revealed that BBC Four is set to broadcast Bowie At The BBC, which charts his career using rare BBC archive footage, from his first appearance in 1964 up until his death. BBC Radio 2 will air the Martin Kemp-presented documentary Life On Mars, while BBC Radio 6 Music will poll listeners for their favourite Bowie album and hold a listening party for the winning record. Marc Riley will also present a special tribute show. All set to air during January, the programmes will what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday.

Of his film, which will focus on The Next Day, Blackstar and musical Lazarus, Whatley said: “I always hoped that I would make another film about Bowie as we were only able to scratch the surface in the first film, but I just didn’t expect it to be this soon. However, looking at Bowie’s extraordinary creativity during the last five years of his life has allowed me to re-examine his life’s work and move beyond the simplistic view that his career was simply predicated on change - Bowie the chameleon… ‘ch ch-ch-changes’ etc. Instead, I would like to show how the changes were often superficial, but the core themes in his work were entirely consistent – alienation, mortality and fame." 

Adam Barker, channel executive for BBC Two and BBC Four, added: “BBC Two is thrilled to have commissioned this unique documentary chronicling the most recent achievements of one of the most significant figures in the history of music.”

As well as reuniting the original players from The Next Day with producer Tony Visconti, the film will feature interviews with directors and stars of Bowie’s last videos and a visit to New York’s 55 bar, where he encountered the jazz quartet who would play on Blackstar.

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