TV: watch David Bowie – Five Years documentary on BBC iPlayer

Watch this! It’s fantastic TV. It’s a documentary which focuses on five key years in David Bowie’s career, and in so doing, reveals much about the man, his music, and the alter egos he created. Bowie himself provides the voice-over, which is pithy, to the point and often witty. There’s lots of great archive footage of him – horsing around, writing music, transforming himself into Ziggy Stardust, being interviewed high as a kite, and performing live (the clips of him on stage with Mick Ronson are particularly fascinating. See if you spy what we spy) – all of which make for brilliant viewing. Best of all though, are the extensive interviews with the musicians, producers (including Brian Eno), and backing singers who have worked closely with Bowie over many years. They go into detail not only about what Bowie was like, both as a person and a musician, but how he wrote music and why that music – with, say, its unexpected chords – was so ground breaking. That’s one of the pleasures of watching this documentary: it shows Bowie as a showman, an artist, a provocateur, and an actor, yes, but it also reminds you that beyond everything else, what Bowie did (and does) best was write and perform incredible music.

David Bowie - Five Years documentary
Available until 10.49pm on Sat 1 June, 2013
BBC iplayer
— Daisy
29th May 2013