David Bowie's first TV performance as Ziggy Stardust is found after 47 years

29 January 2019, 11:30 | Updated: 16 January 2024, 11:23

David Bowie
David Bowie. Picture: Getty

David Bowie's first TV appearance as Ziggy Stardust may finally be seen after nearly 50 years.

David Bowie's performance of 'Starman' on Top of the Pops in 1972 is now seen as an iconic moment in music history.

Appearing in his famous snakeskin jumpsuit, and his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson, he amazed viewers at the time due to his fashion sense and androgynous style.

However, this wasn't actually the first time he launched his Ziggy Stardust persona. He had actually done so on ITV a month earlier.

The performance has finally been discovered, and could feature in a new TV documentary.

It was found by a fan on a home video recorder, but sadly the tape has degraded so much that it must now be slowly "baked" in an incubator to have any hopes of surviving fully.

David Bowie Starman (1972) official video

"For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail," said Francis Whately, producer and director of David Bowie: Finding Fame in the Radio Times.

"It would fall apart if we played it, so it's had to be very carefully restored. It will be a real coup if it comes off."

The programme is expected to air on BBC Two in February.

"The footage has only very recently been discovered," said a BBC spokesperson. "We're hoping it will be ready in time to include in the film."

David Bowie's lost performance was taken from the ITV show Lift Off With Ayesha, which ran from 1969 to 1974.

The footage was accidentally wiped when Granada TV sent the tapes to be digitised. Host Ayesha Brough later said that copies had been marked with an 'x', meaning they could be deleted, but the technician misunderstood and got rid the originals.

"He wiped years of my life and performances, and everybody else's performances," she told Record Collector. "It's a terrible thing."

David Bowie was recently voted the world's greatest entertainer of the 20th century.