A celebration of the last five years in the life of much missed icon David Bowie receives it’s premiere on BBC Two on Saturday 7 January 2017 at 9.00pm
There was nothing predictable about David Bowie – everything was designed to intrigue, to challenge, to defy all expectations. But perhaps no period in David Bowie’s extraordinary career raised more fascination, more surprise, and more questions, than the last five years.
This film – to be broadcast on the night before what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday – is an intimate portrait of one of the defining artists of our time, told by the people who knew him best: his friends and artistic collaborators. It follows the widely acclaimed film David Bowie: Five Years, first broadcast on BBC Two in 2013.
It takes a detailed look at Bowie’s last albums The Next Day and Blackstar, and his play Lazarus. Through the prism of this last work the film shows how, in his final five years, Bowie not only began producing music again but returned to the core and defining themes of his career.
These were artistic rebirth, a shedding of skins, a quest for a different palette to express the same big ideas – dissonance, alienation, otherness – the human condition. The film explores how Bowie was a far more consistent artist than many interpretations of his career would have us believe, by tracing the core themes from his final works through his incredible back catalogue.
Viewers will see Major Tom reflected in Blackstar; Diamond Dogs in the play Lazarus; and Fame in the song The Stars (Are Out Tonight). Bowie’s urge to communicate feelings of spirituality, alienation and fame underpin his greatest works, from the 1960s to 2016. This is what lies at the heart of his success and appeal, music that deals with what it means to be human in a way that goes far beyond the normal palette of a rock star. This film is not a comprehensive overview of his entire career, but an in-depth exploration of its pivotal moments and a look at how the themes, the narrative, the approach are consistent – it is simply the palette that changes.
It features every key member of the Next Day band, the Blackstar band and those who worked with Bowie on the stage play Lazarus, plus old friends and colleagues including Tony Visconti, Gail Ann Dorsey, Tony Basil, Michael C Hall, Donny McCaslin, and old school friend Geoff MacCormac. And, as in David Bowie: Five Years, there is a wealth of unseen and rare archive.
Produced and Directed by Francis Whately, Executive Producer Phil Dolling
Bowie: The Last Five Years premieres on BBC-2 Saturday 7 January 2017 from 9.00pm to 10.30pm