Lost David Bowie Footage Uncovered

'Top of the Pops' appearance from 1973 to air on BBC Christmas special

December 21, 2011 9:20 AM ET
David Bowie
David Bowie circa 1973
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A rare videotape of David Bowie performing on Top of the Pops in 1973 has surfaced and will be shown on a BBC Christmas special tonight. Bowie's performance of his hit "The Jean Genie" had been considered lost to history, part of an ongoing policy of television networks "wiping" old shows to reuse videotape, which was very expensive at the time. 

Cameraman John Henshall, who kept a copy of the performance for himself, mentioned it recently during a radio appearance. When excited Bowie fans let him know the rarity of his tape, he loaned it to a British Film Institute event and made it available to the BBC.

"I just couldn't believe that I was the only one with it," said Henshall. "I just thought you wouldn't be mad enough to wipe a tape like that."

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