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Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story

Fri Oct 11, 9-10pm, BBC4

Sex, drugs, Bacchanalian excess… this documentary about Mike Oldfield’s huge-selling instrumental album ‘Tubular Bells’ has precisely none of the above. Instead, Oldfield’s drifting journey through the outer fringes of the music biz incorporates such rock ’n’ roll elements as entrepreneurism, depression, glockenspiel solos and the kind of personal therapy that involves lying on your back and yelling while gangs of bearded hippies enthusiastically poke you with pillows.

Surprisingly, this is an highly entertaining doc, exploring how Oldfield’s little analogue tape experiment blossomed into a mammoth prog monster, how the album single-handedly created the Branson empire, how William Friedkin loved the opening passage so much that he slapped it all over ‘The Exorcist’, and how Oldfield’s dabbling with alternative trauma therapies led to a happier life, it not necessarily a more creative one.

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