Thirty years after Mercury died in November 1991 from complications of AIDS, the 90-minute documentary tells the story of the final chapter of the Queen singer’s life, as well as the journey leading up to the epic tribute concert at Wembley Stadium that followed in April 1992.
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The documentary features new interviews with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, Mercury’s sister Kashmira Bulsara, his friends Anita Dobson and David Wigg and his PA, Peter Freestone.
Those who performed at gig, 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, are also interviewed, as are those who saw the impact of HIV/AIDS first hand, either as medical practitioners, survivors, or human rights campaigners, including Peter Tatchell.
In the aftermath of Mercury’s death, his bandmates May and Taylor, along with Queen’s manager Jim Beach, approached a range of popular musicians including Elton John, David Bowie and Annie Lennox and decided to commemorate their friend’s life with what would become one of the biggest concerts in history. It was attended by over 70,000 people, with over a billion viewers on television.
“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. It was commissioned by Owen Courtney, commissioning executive, BBC Music.
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.”
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.”
To accompany “Freddie: The Final Act,” BBC Two will also show “Queen at the BBC,” a one-hour special, featuring some of the greatest musical moments from Mercury, May, Taylor and John Deacon that have been shown on the BBC over the years, in November.
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