The Nation’s Favourite Queen Song uncovers the origins of their best-loved tunes and tells the stories behind the band’s bold and inventive music videos. Featuring interviews with celebrity fans and Queen friends including Katy Perry, Tony Hadley, Mel C, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Al Murray, Noddy Holder, Dame Zandra Rhodes, McFly’s Tom Fletcher, and Arlene Phillips, this 90 minute special counts down Britain's 20 favourite Queen songs.
As rock’s ultimate showmen, the band formed an irresistible combination with Brian May on guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, John Deacon on bass and Freddie Mercury commanding audiences up front. The programme features brand new interviews with band members Brian and Roger, plus archive interviews with Freddie Mercury.
When discussing their 1989 hit I Want It All, Brian May says: “The first time we played it live was at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and I played it with Tony Iommi and Roger Daltrey. I just wish Freddie had been there to enjoy it because that song was made for him, he would have made such a good job of it live.”
Arlene Phillips, a friend of Freddie’s, discusses the poignancy of The Show Must Go On, released six weeks before Freddie’s death in 1991. She says: “My favourite song is The Show Must Go On, because ‘The Show’ means life. I think because of what was happening to Freddie, with all of that knowledge there’s an emotion in it you can never take away.”
Brian reveals what this song meant to him, saying: “I heard the lyric ‘My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies’. To me, it expressed all that I felt about Freddie and that, unbelievably, we might be losing him.” As well as memorable lyrics and inimitable showmanship, Queen were pioneers in creating innovative music videos. On filming the video to Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie said: “People think we took hours and hours to make that video, in fact it took about four hours.”
Queen not only had unique videos and unforgettable melodies, their songs had distinctive lyrics. Discussing the lyrics to Killer Queen, US superstar Katy Perry says: “I was 15 and I heard this song and my world just kind of stopped and went into slow motion, listening to the lyrics. I just couldn’t believe that anyone could be so magical with their words in that way.”
Spandau Ballet front man Tony Hadley similarly applauds Queen’s songwriting, saying: “I can’t actually think of another band that each member of the band individually wrote top ten songs. That’s incredible.” On Freddie’s performance-style, former Spice Girl Mel C says he is “The ultimate performer.” In an archive interview, Freddie himself says: “I like to really ham it up and perform a song. I like to enjoy myself.”
The countdown, narrated by Matt Lucas, includes:
Under Pressure, These Are The Days of Our Lives, I Want It All, Radio Ga Ga, Another One Bites The Dust, plus many more hits including: We Are The Champions, A Kind Of Magic, Somebody to Love, Don’t Stop Me Now, We Will Rock You, You’re My Best Friend and many more.
The 20 classic Queen tracks featured in the show have been voted for by a representative panel of ITV viewers from across the country.
Produced by Shiver, part of ITV Studios, Executive Producer Mark Robinson, Producer John Piper.