Friday 29 June 2018, BBC4:
Duran Duran: There's Something You Should Know
We all know the story and we all know how it’s going to be told, don’t we? There’s the pictures of a cold, grey 1970s Birmingham. Cut to mad-looking New Romantics, and then on to the videos – Girls On Film, Rio and The Reflex, plus some screaming girls. Skip to Ordinary World and fade.
Not this time.
With a huge curve ball we get the guys chatting, joking, looking smooth and taking time to walk around their long lost past. Finally the whole amazing tale unfolds as we watch amazed: Simon's back at church, John gets choked up looking at his Hollywood star, and Roger cruises around in his flash car wondering how he lucked out by living this life for hitting stuff. Nick, as ever, must have been an editor’s nightmare with presumably hours of him flicking through his 10,000 sets of clothes with an amazing story for every one.
Live Aid was mercifully free of the Le Bon slip-up as the main feature, with a sadness setting in as the raucous joy which the show had established ebbed away. Simon was in a particularly vulnerable and open mood when pondering the loss of his star status. It was great to see him rouse himself with the bullishness we love, and which we know we helped him with through some long years in the 1990s.
Throughout Simon comes across as the man we’d like to share a pint with. His ease following all those years on camera and on stage flows from the screen. John likes to play at keeping us at arms length – even now sober, one feels the need to hear his stories over a bottle of something expensive in his favourite club.
The programme rather brilliantly gives the story room to breathe and allow the band to tell it all at their own pace. Post Live Aid, as expected the show cuts corners. This may be frustrating for us fans who want to hear Big Thing stories, or a tale from Warren, but the cultural reference points have passed. The Duran story now becomes about their personal story of survival. Where before events were happening and changing on a monthly basis, it now is in 5+ year intervals before the story moves on. The Wedding Album gets the attention it deserves with the clever and insightful addition of Nick Egan.
The show is very fair to the Astronaut years. It maintains the momentum by ignoring Warren and the John solo years, and gives Andy a fair platform. His contribution gets due recognition, and it was rather nice to hear Chains given a deserved moment in the sun.
The image of the boys in that car in Birmingham will become a key part of the Duran Duran story. The pride they showed in their achievements was touching and delightful. It was time to reclaim their glorious history and talent after all the critical hits they’ve had to endure. This show was a deserved honour and a tender tribute to this band of ours.