London: The footage of David Bowie’s 1973 Top of the Pops performance of ‘The Jean Genie’, which was thought to have been lost forever, will be aired on Wednesday for the first time in nearly 40 years.
It will be screened on a BBC2 Top of the Pops special after retired TotP cameraman John Henshall found the clip in a dusty box in a cupboard at home, the Mirror reported.
“I didn’t realise that it had been wiped by the BBC or that anyone was seeking it,” Henshall, 69, said.
“I initially got permission to keep a copy of Bowie’s performance for my showreel, as I used my own effects in the clip.”
John first disclosed its existence on a radio show, after which the BBC bosses contacted him.
“Apparently, it’s something that Bowie people have been trying to find for years,” John, of Stanford-in-the-Vale, Oxfordshire, said.
“When I first saw it again, the hairs came up on the back of my neck and there were gasps around the room. It hadn’t been viewed since it was recorded but it was broadcast quality. Amazing.”
“One guy said he’d been looking for it for more than 12 years.”
The song features on the singer’s hit Aladdin Sane album and fan Mark Adams, who was at the screening, described the archive footage as “the holy grail” of Bowie performances.
The clip shows the star and his band The Spiders from Mars performing the hit live, in full glam rock mode.
“Bowie singing The Jean Genie is electric and it brings back how brilliant the show could be,” Mark Cooper, executive producer of Top of the Pops 2, said.