“I'm just the space cadet...he's the commander”
On the evening of Sunday 26th January 1975, BBC 1 premiered Alan Yentob's Cracked Actor documentary as part of the Omnibus series.
Thirty eight years later it's almost impossible to calculate just how important the broadcast was to Bowie-starved fans in the UK.
In America, not only did fans have the Diamond Dogs/Philly Dogs tours, but they also enjoyed the luxury of both The 1980 Floor Show and Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture broadcast on TV.
After the seismic shock of 'Starman' on TOTPs in 1972 and Bowie's first proper television interview on Russell Harty Plus in January 1973, there had been little to sate the appetite of the hungry Bowie fan on UK TV.
Cracked Actor was filmed in California and Philadelphia during the legendary Diamond Dogs Tour of 1974 and it captured Bowie at a transitional stage in his life.
The BBC had unique access to Bowie on and off stage, in the recording studio and while travelling. This gave fans a rare glimpse of the private Bowie and it made for compelling viewing.
As with the aforementioned UK TV appearances, Cracked Actor had a profound effect on Bowie fans. Like much of the dialogue from The Man Who Fell To Earth (coincidentally it was Cracked Actor that inspired Nicolas Roeg to approach Bowie for the film), many fans would learn parrot-fashion the majority of the one-liners that Bowie uttered throughout: “Bleedin’ wax museum in the middle of the desert...you'd think it would melt”, “I never wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll star. Honest guv, I wasn‘t even there. But I was, you see, I was there”.
And thank goodness he was there! If you’ve not seen it yet, you should make it your priority to track down a copy.