New Music Excess

RetroBlog: Heavy Metal Britannia

Posted in BBC, Heavy Metal, NWOBHM by newmusicexcess on February 15, 2010


The BBC are set to screen a documentary, on Friday 5th March 2010, about the emergence of the Heavy Metal genre in Britain. Here is some information from the BBC website.

Heavy Metal Britannia
Friday 5 March
9.00-10.30pm BBC FOUR

Voiced by Nigel Planer, Heavy Metal Britannia traces the emergence of the genre in Britain in the late Sixties and Seventies. Metal began life in the mid-Sixties underground rock scene – a fledging style spearheaded by the likes of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

This early metal was dominated by paranoia and darkness, albeit often tongue-in-cheek. The players were male, mostly working-class – a uniquely Seventies British style – spawning their own long-haired, head-banging audience with their own dress codes and world view.

While this generation still defines classic British metal, it was nearly overtaken by British punk in the late Seventies. Then back came a new generation such as Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon, dubbed "The New Wave of British Metal" by the press.

As the Eighties dawned, the best of these two metal generations were ready for the long haul – to make their genre the key force in music it remains today.

Tonight’s documentary features contributions from Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Jon Lord, Bruce Dickinson, Edgar Broughton and Lemmy, among others.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Narrator of the above documentary,  Nigel Planer, he initially rose to fame in the UK as part of the ‘alternative’ comedy / Comic Strip scene in the early 80’s. Most people in the UK, over 40, are probably most familiar with his character Neil (‘the Hippy’) from the anarchic comedy sitcom ‘The Young Ones’ on the BBC and also the brilliant ‘Bad News Tour’ episode which was part of the Comic Strip Presents series on Channel 4. Although, his talents spread into the other areas of acting as well as writing novels and plays. Here is a clip of him in Bad News, where he plays guitarist, Den Dennis, who here issues the oft quoted line “two quid for one bloody sausage!”

Bad News on Amazon

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