New Kurt Cobain documentary to 'demystify' tragic death of Nirvana legend

The BBC is documenting the life and death of Kurt Cobain with a series of programmes and specials to mark the 30th anniversary of his tragic passing.



Kurt Cobain's life and death is being marked by the BBC this April
Kurt Cobain's life and death is being marked by the BBC this April

A new BBC documentary aims to "demystify" the tragic death of Kurt Cobain - 30 years after his suicide rocked the world.

The late Nirvana frontman and Grunge pioneer died on April 5, 1994, aged 27, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after being found at his Seattle home with a suicide letter.

The ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ hitmaker’s death sparked many conspiracy theories over the years, including him being “murdered” and even some accusing his widow, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, 59, of causing his death.

To mark the 30th anniversary of his passing, the BBC has announced a series of programmes, including the hour-long documentary 'Moments That Shook Music: Kurt Cobain' for the BBC from Touchdown Films, which aims to put an end to the “myth and legend” surrounding the circumstances of his death.

BBC Two and iPlayer will dedicate a Saturday night in April to Kurt – who had daughter Frances Bean Cobain, 31, with Courtney - and Nirvana.

A press release notes: "Told exclusively through powerful and rare archive footage – some of which has never been seen on British TV before – Moments that Shook Music: Kurt Cobain is a visceral account of the days that surrounded that tragic moment in 1994 when Cobain took his own life."

Jonathan Rothery, Head of BBC Popular Music TV, said: "Kurt Cobain’s life and death has turned into myth and legend since his passing. This documentary tries to demystify that moment in time by telling the story direct from the scene, via fly on the wall footage filmed by those that were there."

The film will feature "footage captured by local fans in Seattle and raw material from news crews reporting at the time are woven together, immersing the viewers in the events that unfolded, as they happened."

It will also show the "poignant reaction from the electrician who discovered Kurt’s body when installing a security system at his Seattle home; statements from police at the scene; the chaos, confusion and devastation caught on video by his fans – including the moment a tape recording of an emotional Courtney Love reading her late husband’s final letter was played out to a crowd of thousands at a vigil in Seattle; and a revealing interview with Cobain himself, just months before he died."

Fans still to this day flock to the piece of grass to the side of Kurt's former home on Lake Washington Boulevard to lay flowers, etch Nirvana lyrics on a bench, and hold vigils in his memory.

On the same evening, BBC Two re-show 'When Nirvana Came To Britain', which examines the bond between Nirvana and the UK – including the famous Reading festival and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl's band Foo Fighters.

On Friday 5 April, BBC Radio 6 Music will pay tribute with 'Kurt Cobain Forever'; Each hour from 7am-7pm, presenters Nathan Shepherd (sitting in for Chris Hawkins), Deb Grant (sitting in for Lauren Laverne), Mary Anne Hobbs, Craig Charles and Emily Pilbeam (sitting in for Huw Stephens) will play a track by Kurt.

A collection of programmes dedicated to Kurt will also be available on BBC Sounds from April 5.

On BBC Radio 2, Jo Whiley will be playing tracks from Nirvana’s seminal album second studio album, 1991's 'Nevermind', and sharing listeners’ memories in her show (April 2 to April 4 from 7pm to 9pm) and Dermot O’Leary will mark the anniversary by playing a Nirvana track in his Saturday show’s weekly vinyl slot (April 6 from 8am to 10am).