David Bowie: The Last Five Years focuses on the last half-decade of the singer’s life, including his surprise 2013 comeback LP The Next Day, his final masterpiece Blackstar and his musical Lazarus. The film features “a wealth of rare and unseen archive footage and early audio interviews which have never been released before,” the BBC said in their announcement. The documentary also broadcasts the never-before-heard final vocal Bowie ever recorded for Lazarus.
Bowie’s key collaborators over this period – the musicians on The Next Day and Blackstar, the cast and crew of Lazarus and Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti – all sit down for interviews with The Last Five Years, with Visconti also providing a look into the production process.
David Bowie: The Last Five Years is the follow-up to David Bowie: Five Years, a 2013 BBC documentary. The same director, Francis Whately, helmed both films.
“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,” Whately said in a statement. “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.”
To accompany David Bowie: The Last Five Years, BBC has united its sister networks to broadcast similar Bowie tributes in January. BBC Four will air Bowie at the BBC, a look at Bowie’s history with the British Broadcasting Corporation that stretches from his first appearance in 1964 to his 2016 death. BBC Radio 2 will also broadcast an audio documentary dedicated to Bowie’s classic “Life on Mars?”