Keith Richards to tell story of early years in BBC documentary

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The Rolling Stone will star in Keith Richards – The Origin of the Species, directed by Julien Temple

Keith Richards to tell story of early years in BBC documentary
Keith Richards, who will front a new documentary by Julien Temple as part of a new BBC season, My Generation. Photograph: Jane Rose

Keith Richards will front a BBC2 documentary about his formative years growing up in post-war Britain and curate a “lost weekend” of films and live performances for BBC4.

The Rolling Stones rocker will star in the film Keith Richards – The Origin of the Species, directed by Julien Temple, which will be a centrepiece of the BBC’s My Generation season about the history of pop music.

“There was a feeling late ‘50s/early ‘60s that there was a change coming,” Richards says in the film, which will air on the BBC next month.

“Harold Macmillan actually said it – ‘The winds of change’ and all that – but he didn’t mean it in quite the same way. I certainly felt that my generation and what was happening and the feeling in the air – was it’s time to push limits. The world is ours now and you can rise or fall on it.”

Richards’s weekend of programmes for BBC4 will feature two nights of shows hand-picked by the man himself, the first time the BBC4 schedules have been taken over in this way, each introduced by the guitarist.

The BBC said the film by Temple, whose other credits include Glastonbury, Absolute Beginners and the Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, would “reclaim on film for the first time” Richards’s roots growing up in south-east London.

Temple, who made a concert film in 1991 with the band called Stones at the Max, said: “Listening to the early Stones as a kid changed everything for me. I felt a new way of living emerging, a new kind of person becoming possible – something I wanted to be a part of.

“And without a doubt I thought Keith Richards was the origin of the species. This film sets out to explore how both he and the ‘60s in England came about.”

Richards, 72, is still touring with the Rolling Stones and they are expected to release an album of new material later this year. He published his autobiography, Life, to critical acclaim six years ago.

He also became an unlikely film star appearing in several of the the Pirates of the Caribbean films alongside Johnny Depp.

Cassian Harrison, BBC4 editor, said: “Keith Richards is undoubtedly one of the key icons of our age.

“His film for BBC2 will be a fascinating exploration into the post-war years, how they impacted both his life and others and influenced the 60s and the decades that followed.

“And his curated weekend of programmes for BBC4 will be a thrilling musical journey for viewers – giving an extraordinary and unique insight into Keith’s passions and inspirations.”

Jan Younghusband, head of music TV commissioning, added: “Keith Richards is an outstanding talent and an inspiration to us all.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring his unique and entertaining insights to our audience, in this special collaboration with Julien Temple. I know it will be a totally original experience.”


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