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BBC to mark Bowie's 70th with new film

AAP logoAAP 5/11/2016

A previously unheard original vocal which David Bowie recorded for Lazarus, his last release before his death, will be broadcast in a new BBC film on the star's final five years.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years, will feature rare and unseen archive footage and air on BBC Two in January next year, marking what would have been the singer's 70th birthday.

Produced and directed by Francis Whately, it is his follow-up to the acclaimed David Bowie: Five Years, which was broadcast in 2013.

The BBC has released a clip from the film, featuring the vocals and Bowie's longtime producer, Tony Visconti, talking about the recording.

"He would stand in front of the mic and, for the four or five minutes he was singing, he would pour his heart out and I could see through the window that he was really feeling it," Visconti said.

"The audio picked up his breathing. It wasn't that he was out of breath. He was like hyper-ventilating in a way, like getting his energy up to sing this. A man on top of his game. It's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And the saddest lyrics to hear them now."

David Bowie: The Last Five Years will focus on albums The Next Day and Blackstar, which was released just two days before his death, and the musical Lazarus, which moves to London from Broadway this autumn.

It will also feature "unprecedented access" to Bowie's closest friends.

Director Whately said he had come to a different view of Bowie in making the new film.

"I always hoped that I would make another film about Bowie as we were only able to scratch the surface in the first film, but I just didn't expect it to be this soon," he said.

"However, looking at Bowie's extraordinary creativity during the last five years of his life has allowed me to re-examine his life's work and move beyond the simplistic view that his career was simply predicated on change - Bowie the chameleon... 'ch ch ch changes' etc.

"Instead, I would like to show how the changes were often superficial, but the core themes in his work were entirely consistent - alienation, mortality and fame."

The Last Five Years also visits the 55 bar in New York where Bowie heard the jazz quartet who would become the musicians for the acclaimed album Blackstar.

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