BBC to air new Freddie Mercury documentary

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Freddie Mercury credit:Bang Showbiz
Freddie Mercury credit:Bang Showbiz

The BBC is to air a new documentary about the final years of Freddie Mercury's life.

'Freddie Mercury: The Final Act' will be on BBC Two next month, and the film will tell the story of the late Queen frontman's last chapter - following his death in November 1991 aged 45 - leading up to 'The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert' at Wembley Stadium, which followed on April 20th, 1992.

The documentary will feature new interviews with many of those who were closest to him, including Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, Freddie’s sister Kashmira Bulsara, his friends Anita Dobson and David Wigg and his PA, Peter Freestone.

Speaking on the programme, Brian says: "Freddie opened up his heart and gave it everything he had.

"He was a musician through and through and through. He lived for his music.

"He loved his music, and he was proud of himself as a musician above everything else."

Freddie died from complications of Aids, and the film will also explore those who saw the impact of HIV/Aids first hand.

The documentary starts in 1986, as Queen’s Magic tour reaches its climax at Knebworth Stadium in Hertfordshire.

Following Freddie's death, Brian and Roger, along with Queen’s manager Jim Beach, devised a plan to commemorate the iconic singer with a concert, and they approached the likes of Sir Elton John, David Bowie, and Annie Lennox to perform.

The show also raised awareness of HIV/Aids.

Speaking about the stigma surrounding HIV/Aids at the time, Roger says: “We were very angry and we had to stick up for our friend - our best friend.

"I became fixated with the idea of giving him a hell of a send-off.”

It became one of the biggest concerts of all time as more than 70,000 people attended, and more than a billion viewers tuned in on TV.

A number of those who performed at the memorial show will also feature on the documentary, including Gary Cherone (Extreme), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Lisa Stansfield, and Paul Young, as well as the concert’s promoter, Harvey Goldsmith.

Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, BBC Music TV, said: "James Rogan’s film: 'Freddie Mercury: The Final Act', is a poignant story of one of music’s most popular and talented musicians, and the legacy he left.

"Not only does it shine new light on Freddie Mercury’s brave journey through those final five years of his life, it also tells a wider - and hugely important - story of the emergence of Aids at the time and how the incredible tribute concert after his death, helped to change for the better public opinion about the crisis.

"The artists of Queen and others who were there, speak candidly for the first time."

To accompany the documentary, BBC Two will also show 'Queen at the BBC' - a one-hour special, featuring some of the greatest musical moments from the band that have been shown on the BBC over the years - in November.

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