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Nirvana by Michael Lavine
Nevermind session, Los Angeles, May 23, 1991© Michael Lavine

30 years of Nirvana’s Nevermind will be marked with a new BBC documentary

The film about the grunge band’s time in the UK features appearances from former members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic

Nirvana’s second studio album, Nevermind, was originally released by DGC Records on September 24, 1991. In celebration of the upcoming 30-year anniversary, the BBC has announced an upcoming film on the band’s time in the UK. Titled When Nirvana Came to Britain, the documentary arrives alongside a series of special radio programmes revolving around the seminal grunge album.

When Nirvana Came to Britain picks up the story a couple of years before Nevermind, in 1989, when the band visited the UK on their Bleach tour (AKA the tour where someone pilfered a lock of Kurt Cobain’s hair). Running through to 1994, the doc covers how Nirvana “introduced a new and exciting brand of rock music to the UK, changing the musical landscape of the time and influencing a generation of British youth,” as detailed in a BBC synopsis.

The film will include unseen archival footage and home movies by the band members themselves, as well as visiting “little-known British locations” that played “a surprising role” in Nirvana’s rise to fame. Interviews with the Nirvana road crew and surviving members, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, will provide extra insight into the special connection between Nirvana and the UK.

As Grohl explains: “The UK definitely responded to Nirvana much more, before America.”

“You guys were the first with everything… we cut our teeth there. After touring the UK I remember going back to America to the same bars and clubs where we were playing to 99 people… 150 people… it was definitely not like what it was in the UK. It really is like a second home.”

“I’d never been to Great Britain,” adds Novoselic of the Bleach tour. ‘We got off the plane and we were in this different world.”

Of course, the influence isn’t a one-way street; the film will also explore how Nirvana were inspired by bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and The Vaselines (who Nirvana covered at their famous MTV Unplugged gig). “This story has never been told on TV before, so it’s been fascinating to hear it from Dave and Krist themselves, as well as the people who literally went on the journey with them, as they toured the UK,” says executive producer Mark Robinson.

Shows on Nevermind will also air on BBC radio stations. On Radio 4, author Doug Coupland will host Teen Spirit: Nevermind at 30 (September 24), while 6 Music will play tracks from the album for its Deep Dive into Nevermind programme (September 23).

In case you missed it, the iconic cover of Nevermind – which features a naked baby reaching for a dollar while submerged in a swimming pool – is currently at the centre of a very public legal battle. Last month, model Spencer Elden filed a lawsuit against the band’s remaining members, Kurt Cobain’s estate, and the original photographer on accusations of child pornography and sexual exploitation.

Legal experts, however, have stated that the lawsuit is “ridiculous” and likely to be dismissed, particularly due to Elden’s past embrace of the image, which has seen him re-create the photo and benefit from the associated publicity.