U.K.'s BBC Two will air the documentary Freddie Mercury: The Final Act in November, 30 years after the legendary singer's untimely death.
The film will begin in 1986, when the band’s Magic tour had its final performance at Knebworth in Hertfordshire. The gig would turn out to be Mercury’s final live performance with the band, who had also performed with him during 1985’s famous Live Aid benefit concert. The public did not know about Mercury's struggle with HIV.
The 90-minute documentary will then tell the story of the final chapter of the Queen singer’s life: his battle with AIDS and death in 1991, and the journey leading up to the epic tribute concert at Wembley Stadium that followed in April 1992. That concert featured the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, and Annie Lennox, and was attended by over 70,000 people with over a billion viewers on television.
Not only will The Final Act feature interviews from former Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, but also Mercury's sister Kashmira Bulsara, his friends Anita Dobson and David Wigg, and his PA, Peter Freestone. Those who performed at the 1992 tribute concert, 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, will also be featured.
Finally, those who saw the impact of HIV/AIDS first hand, either as medical practitioners, survivors, or human rights campaigners - including Peter Tatchell, will get time to speak in the documentary.
Freddie Mercury: The Final Act is produced by Rogan Productions, directed by James Rogan, and produced by Dan Hall, with Mark Hedgecoe, Soleta Rogan, and Simon Lupton serving as executive producers.
Director James Rogan said: “Making Freddie Mercury: The Final Act has been an extraordinary journey into the final chapter of one of rock music’s greatest icons. Working with Queen and getting to see behind-the-scenes of some of their greatest performances and the legendary Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was a rare privilege. Equally important was speaking to the people who had lived through the eye of the storm of the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS, with all its resonances with COVID today. Freddie’s death and the Tribute that Queen organised for him helped to change global awareness of this terrible disease at a critical time.”
In the film, Brian May and Roger Taylor discuss their dear friend. May 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.”
Taylor, speaking about the stigma surrounding HIV/Aids at the time, 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.”
Alongside the premiere of Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, BBC Two will also show Queen at the BBC: a one-hour special featuring the greatest musical moments from Mercury, May, Taylor and John Deacon that have been shown on BBC over the years.
In other Freddie Mercury news, a Z2 Comics graphic novel about his life and career is set to be released next month. It is available for pre-order and will be sold in comic stores, book shops, and record stores.
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