BBC2 to broadcast feature-length David Bowie documentary

New album and V&A exhibition to be marked with programme focusing on the most important Five Years of pop legend's career


BBC2 is to broadcast a feature-length David Bowie profile in May.


The programme has the working title Five Years and will concentrate on five key years in Bowie’s career, each of them marking a commercial breakthrough or change of direction: 1971 (release of Hunky Dory), 1975 (Young Americans), 1977 (the Berlin trilogy, starting with Low), 1980 (Scary Monsters) and 1983 (Let’s Dance).

The film will, according to BBC2, “feature an extraordinary wealth of unseen archive footage of Bowie and include interviews with some of his closest collaborators, including the six key musicians who played on the latest album”.

Rare audio recordings “of Bowie at his most intimate and revealing” will feature, as will previously untrasmitted interviews.

Bowie shocked the music world last month when, without any warning at all, he released Where Are We Now?, his first new material in almost a decade. An album, The Next Day, is scheduled for next month and will be his first since Reality in September 2003.

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is running an exhibition devoted to the singer, entitled “David Bowie is”,  from 23 March to 28 July. BBC2’s film will complement the exhibition, which is described by the V&A as “the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie, [featuring] more than 300 objects that include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs and Bowie’s own instruments.”

The BBC2 film’s director, Francis Whately, said: “This is a project that has been in development for more than a decade, in fact since Bowie and I worked together in 2001 on a film for the BBC Omnibus strand. This year, 2013, is shaping up to be the year of David Bowie, and now is the perfect moment for this feature length film devoted to this extraordinary artist.”


Whately’s other BBC projects include Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music and Tankies: Tank Heroes of World War II.