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When Nirvana Came To Britain airs Sat 18 Sep on BBC Two

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When Nirvana Came To Britain

When Nirvana Came To Britain (9.30pm BBC Two) produced by Wise Owl Films, tells the story of how between 1989 and 1994 Nirvana introduced a new and exciting brand of rock music to the UK, changing the musical landscape of the time and influencing a generation of British youth.

The programme charts the band’s rise from their very first British tour, during which they performed in pubs and tiny venues, through to their legendary and infamous TV appearances on programmes such as The Word and Top of the Pops – moments that helped to cement their status as one of the biggest rock bands on the planet and brought grunge culture to the mainstream.

Viewers also learn the ways in which British music had a huge influence on Nirvana and their sound.

Featuring unseen archive as well as home movie footage shot by the band themselves, the film revisits the little-known British locations that played a surprising role in Nirvana’s story. These include the London guest house they regularly stayed at – the Dalmacia Hotel on Shepherds Bush Road, outside which photographer Martyn Goodacre took his famous shots of the band in 1990 (pictured) – to the small Edinburgh pub where they once played a surprise acoustic gig to just 30 people.

There are contributions from Nirvana’s surviving members, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq (both of whom were present to chart band’s meteoric rise), members of Nirvana’s British tour crew, their UK publicist Anton Brookes, booking agent, Russell Warby and George Krivosic, former manager of the Dalmacia Hotel on Shepherds Bush Road (where the band regularly stayed during their time in Britain).

Dave and Krist, in revealing new interviews, share their memories of the band’s time in Britain and explain why it has always held a special place in their hearts.

Dave Grohl says: “The UK definitely responded to Nirvana much more, before America. You guys were the first with everything… we cut our teeth there. After touring the UK I remember going back to America to the same bars and clubs where we were playing to 99 people… 150 people… it was definitely not like what it was in the UK. It really is like a second home.”

Speaking of Nirvana’s first UK tour in 1989, bassist Krist Novoselic says: “I’d never been to Great Britain. We got off the plane and we were in this different world.”

Image credit: Martyn Goodacre

When Nirvana Came To Britain airs Saturday 18 September at 9.30pm on BBC Two.