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BBC to air new Freddie Mercury film ‘The Final Act’

The new film will focus on the final years of Freddie's life

By Jen Thomas

Freddie Mercury playing piano
A new film about the final days of Freddie's life is coming to the BBC (Pic credit: YouTube)

The BBC have announced details of a new Freddie Mercury film that will air on BBC 2 next month.

‘Freddie Mercury: The Final Act’ will focus on the final chapter of the music icon’s life, and the journey that led to a historic tribute concert held in his memory at Wembley Stadium in 1992.

It will air thirty years after Freddie died from AIDS complications in November 1991.

For the timeline of the film, it begins with Freddie’s last concert with Queen, through to the now-iconic tribute concert that took place in April 1992 featuring the likes of Elton John and David Bowie. 

As well as archive footage and music, the film has a whole host of new interviews with the people who knew Freddie best.

It features conversations with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, Freddie’s sister Kashmira Bulsara, his friends Anita Dobson and David Wigg and his PA, Peter Freestone.

Brian 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.”

The film also includes interviews with artists and bands who performed at the tribute concert.

They include Extreme’s Gary Cherone , The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Lisa Stansfield, and Paul Young.

The concert’s promoter, Harvey Goldsmith, is also interviewed.

Medical practitioners, survivors, or human rights campaigners, including Peter Tatchell are also featured to provide insight on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The film starts in 1986, at the end of Queen’s ‘Magic’ tour, where the final date took place at Knebworth Stadium in Hertfordshire.

Fans of the band were heartbroken to discover that Freddie had been battling HIV/AIDS in secret.

Following his tragic death, Freddie’s bandmates and manager put together a plan for one of the biggest concerts in history.

It went down in history as one of the most remarkable concerts ever, with 70,000 people attending and more than a billion viewers on television.

Roger Taylor said: “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.”

Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, BBC Music TV says: “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.”

James Rogan added: “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.”

As well as the new film, the BBC will also show a one-hour special called ‘Queen at the BBC’ in November. It will feature highlights of the band’s performances and concerts.