BBC announce new documentary ‘David Bowie: The First Five Years’

The final film in a trilogy about the icon

The BBC has announced details of a new David Bowie documentary, entitled The First Five Years. See footage below.

Following on from the now iconic 2013 film Five Years (which told the story of Bowie’s creative peak between ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and the end of his Berlin period), and The Last Five Years (which gave insight into his final work on ‘The Next Day’ and ‘Blackstar‘), the new film will relive Bowie’s pre-fame years. This is the final part of a trilogy of feature-length documentaries, all produced and directed by Francis Whately.

A newly  unearthed document (see below) has been found within the BBC Archives, was shot after a BBC audition on Tuesday 2 November 1965 with a band called David Bowie and the Lower Third. Their audition material included Chim-Chim-Cheree as well as an original number called Baby That’s A Promise.


The footage shows Lower Third drummer Phil Lancaster seeing the below document for the first time – where Bowie is described as having “quite a different sound” and “no personality”, whhile “not particularly exciting” and “will not improve with practice”.

BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland said: Francis Whately has already created two stunning films about transformative chapters in the extraordinary life of David Bowie. This third film completes that trilogy with the most important and surprising period, the first five years. We are delighted to play it in BBC Two.”

The film also features 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, 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’s BBC audition report. Credit: Press/BBC

The documentary will air on BBC Two in 2019, while BBC have confirmed that they’ll be televising David Bowie’s full Glastonbury 2000 performance for the first time later this month.


While often regarded as one of the greatest sets in Glasto history, the Sunday night closing show has never been released on video or audio in its entirety.

Now, ‘David Bowie Glastonbury 2000’ will drop on November 30 on double CD, DVD, and a triple LP vinyl – complete with notes from Caitlin Moran, photos of Bowie in his iconic 3/4 length custom Alexander McQueen frock coat, and Bowie’s tour diary, originally written for Time Out.

A new box set of Bowie’s ’80s material ‘Loving The Alien‘ will be released on October 12.

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