Rare footage of David Bowie’s first ever TV performance as Ziggy Stardust has been unearthed.

The footage, once thought to have been deleted and lost forever, has been unearthed as part of a new documentary. The clip depicts Bowie’s performance of Starman on ‘Top of the Pops’ way back in 1972.

The footage, shot by a fan on a home camcorder, has been described as the “Holy Grail” and will appear in new BBC’s documentary David Bowie: The First Five Years – Finding Fame. “For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail,” documentary director Francis Whately told 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 restoration of the tape is being carefully dealt with by specialists but a BBC spokeswoman said: “The footage has only very recently been discovered. We’re hoping it will be ready in time to include in the film.”

Apparently, the clip was once part of 144 tapes sent by Granada Television in a bid to turn them into digital. However, a catastrophic error made by a technician saw the footage accidentally deleted.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked,” Marc Riley once told Bowie biographer David Buckley. “My gran was shouting insults at the TV, which she usually saved for Labour Party political broadcasts. And I just sat there agog. I was experiencing a life-changing moment. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it really did knock me for six.”

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