By Deirdre Tynan • 01 September 2021 • 12:32
This September, BBC Music will celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the most influential albums of all time – Nirvana’s second studio album, Nevermind – with a range of programming across BBC TV, radio, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
Lorna Clarke, Controller, BBC Pop said, “Nirvana’s Nevermind was an album that had a huge impact on music at the time both for the industry and for fans. The longevity and influence of Nirvana as a band is undeniable, with their music holding a special place in the hearts of audiences across the board. So, it’s fitting that BBC Radio and TV are coming together to celebrate this iconic record, thirty years on. It’s another great opportunity for our platforms to come together to mark the big moments in music, as we have done this year with David Bowie: Five Years On, The Glastonbury Experience and Amy Winehouse: 10 Years on, in addition to our upcoming coverage of the Mercury Prize 2021.”
When Nirvana Came To Britain (BBC Two) produced by Wise Owl Films, tells the story of how between 1989 and 1994, Nirvana introduced a new and exciting brand of rock music to the UK, changing the musical landscape of the time and influencing a generation of British youth.
The programme charts the band’s rise from their very first British tour, during which they performed in pubs and tiny venues, through to their legendary and infamous TV appearances on programmes such as The Word and Top of the Pops – moments that helped to cement their status as one of the biggest rock bands on the planet and brought grunge culture to the mainstream.
Viewers also learn the ways in which British music had a huge influence on Nirvana and their sound.
Featuring unseen archive as well as home movie footage shot by the band themselves, the film revisits the little-known British locations that played a surprising role in Nirvana’s story. These include the London guest house they regularly stayed at – the Dalmacia Hotel on Shepherds Bush Road, outside which photographer Martyn Goodacre took his famous shots of the band in 1990 – to the small Edinburgh pub where they once played a surprise acoustic gig to just 30 people.
There are contributions from Nirvana’s surviving members, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq (both of whom were present to chart band’s meteoric rise), members of Nirvana’s British tour crew, their UK publicist Anton Brookes, booking agent, Russell Warby and George Krivosic, former manager of the Dalmacia Hotel on Shepherds Bush Road (where the band regularly stayed during their time in Britain). Dave and Krist, in revealing new interviews, share their memories of the band’s time in Britain and explain why it has always held a special place in their hearts.
Dave Grohl said, “The UK definitely responded to Nirvana much more, before America. You guys were the first with everything…we cut our teeth there. After touring the UK I remember going back to America to the same bars and clubs where we were playing to 99 people…150 people…it was definitely not like what it was in the UK. It really is like a second home.”
Speaking of Nirvana’s first UK tour in 1989, bassist Krist Novoselic said, “I’d never been to Great Britain. We got off the plane and we were in this different world.”
Mark Robinson, Executive Producer of When Nirvana Came To Britain added, “Nirvana’s relationship with Britain really was a two-way trade-off. Nirvana were inspired by bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and championed British groups like The Raincoats and The Vaselines – but their brand of rock was to have a huge influence on the sounds coming out of the British music scene in the 90s. This story has never been told on TV before, so it’s been fascinating to hear it from Dave and Krist themselves, as well as the people who literally went on the journey with them, as they toured the UK.”
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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