BBC Completes David Bowie Trilogy With ‘The First Five Years’ Documentary

Peter White

The first five years of David Bowie’s career is to be the focus of a new documentary for the BBC – the third in a trilogy of docs about the Star Man singer.

David Bowie: The First Five Years will launch on the British public broadcaster’s BBC Two channel in 2019. It follows David Bowie: The Last Five Years, which was acquired by HBO, and David Bowie: Five Years in 2013. All three are produced and directed by Francis Whately.

Coming 50 years after the release of Space Oddity, the 90-minute film explores the Bowie before Ziggy Stardust, following the period from 1966 when he changed his name from David Jones to Bowie.

It includes footage from the BBC Archives including footage of a BBC audition in 1965 of David Bowie and the Lower Third, which included a performance of Chim-Chim-Cheree and Baby That’s A Promise.

David Bowie: The First Five Years will also feature unheard audio recordings, archive and unpublished documents alongside exclusive interviews with David’s family, girlfriends, boyfriends and early collaborators. Contributors include Bowie’s first cousin and lifelong-friend Kristina Amadeus and former girlfriend and muse Hermione Farthingale – both of whom have never before been filmed talking about him; the late Lindsay Kemp in his last filmed interview, longtime friend and producer Tony Visconti, former girlfriend and friend Dana Gillespie, lifelong friends Geoff MacCormak and George Underwood, Bowie’s producer Mike Vernon, Bowie’s early producer Tony Hatch, and Woody Woodmansey, the last remaining Spider from Mars.

David Bowie: The First Five Years is distributed internationally by BBC Studios and was ordered by Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two and by Jan Younghusband, Head of Music TV Commissioning for BBC Music. Executive Producer is Phil Dolling for BBC Studios.

Whately said, “Making this trilogy has been an incredible experience for me, unearthing rare recording, footage and archive, and the privilege of speaking to so many of his friends and collaborators who were so open in talking about the Bowie they knew, loved and admired so much. He is possibly now even more famous in death than in life and I hope this film will bring some new understanding to this great artist from the early years of his incredible life.”

Younghusband added, “We were so honoured to work with David Bowie in his lifetime, and so delighted to be able to continue his story on the BBC with this new film, which looks at the incredible journey of his rise to fame, including first time testimony from the people with him along the way in the early days.”

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