BBC announces new documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years

It will coincide with what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday

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The BBC have announced details of a new David Bowie documentary.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years is due to air in January 2017 and has been produced and directed by Francis Whately as a follow-up to his acclaimed David Bowie: Five Years which was broadcast on BBC Two in 2013.

As with the first film, this new piece will feature a wealth of rare and unseen archive footage and early audio interviews which have never been released before. This includes the original vocal which Bowie recorded for “Lazarus“, which has never been heard before.


The documentary will focus on the three major projects of Bowie’s last five years – the best-selling albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, alongside the musical Lazarus.

Francis Whately says: “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.”

The original band members of The Next Day album will be reunited alongside producer Tony Visconti to recreate the production process for key tracks on the album. There will be interviews with the video directors and the stars of Bowie’s last videos, exploring how the album consolidates Bowie’s back catalogue with thematic and musical references to his past.

For the album, Blackstar, the film visits the famous 55 bar in New York where Bowie first encountered Donny McCaslin‘s jazz quartet and the film features exclusive access to the writer, director and cast of Lazarus and will tell the story of the project from its inception through to the opening night.

Additionally, BBC Four will broadcast Bowie At The BBC, a compilation of rarely seen archive exploring Bowie’s career as captured by the BBC from his very first appearance in 1964 to through to his death in 2016. BBC Radio 2 will broadcast a documentary, Life On Mars, presented by Martin Kemp examining the legacy of the song, featuring unreleased music archive.

The programmes will air in January 2017, marking what would have been David Bowie’s 70th birthday and one year on from his death.


The December 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on Pink Floyd, plus a free CD compiled by Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner that includes tracks by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Sleaford Mods, Yo La Tengo, Can. Elsewhere in the issue, there’s TheDamned, Julia Holter, Desert Trip, Midlake, C86, David Pajo, Nils Frahm and the New Classical, David Bowie, Tim Buckley, REM, Norah Jones, Morphine, The Pretenders and more plus 140 reviews


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