The BBC has announced that “The First Five Years,” the final part in a trilogy of documentaries devoted to the musical icon David Bowie, will air next year on BBC Two.
“David Bowie: The First Five Years” will follow on from “David Bowie: Five Years” and “David Bowie: The last Five Years,” which aired in 2013 and 2017 respectively. All three are produced and directed by Francis Whately.
The new work, set to air 50 years after the release of “Space Oddity,” will be a 90-minute film exploring the pre-Ziggy-Stardust Bowie, beginning in 1966 soon after David Jones changed his name to David Bowie and tracing his evolving interests in subjects such as Holst, Anthony Newley and Tibetan Buddhism.
Among highlights, the film features a report unearthed from the BBC Archives covering a BBC audition in November 1965 by a band called David Bowie and the Lower Third. After presenting a program that included an original song and “Chim-Chim-Cheree,” Bowie was described by the talent selection group as having “quite a different sound” but also “no personality”; “not particularly exciting,” they reviewed, and “will not improve with practice.”
Also included are exclusive interviews with Bowie’s first cousin and lifelong friend Kristina Amadeus, former girlfriend and muse Hermione Farthingale, Lindsay Kemp in his last filmed interview, and additional friends and producers.
Bowie classics including “Space Oddity” and “The Man Who Sold the World” are said to be deconstructed through both the eight-track masters and previously unheard demos, along with master tapes from songs that “Bowie wanted to forget,” says the BBC, such as “The Laughing Gnome.” Viewers will also see never-before-seen footage of Bowie’s journey through Siberia in 1973.
In an archive clip featured in the film, Bowie says, “I spent all my formative years adopting guises and changing roles, just learning to be somebody. I wanted to be accepted as David Bowie — a person that you will always watch to see what kind of thing he is doing.”
The documentary will air on BBC Two in 2019.