Technicians face race against time to restore "first TV performance" of Ziggy Stardust, who came to life in Aylesbury

David Bowie in Aylesbury, 1971 and 1972
David Bowie in Aylesbury, 1971 and 1972

Archivists have uncovered David Bowie’s first televised appearance in his Ziggy Stardust persona – a 1972 performance for ITV’s Lift Off With Ayshea – that was thought to be long lost, according to the BBC.

The footage was thought to be lost forever since all of Lift Off’s tapes were wiped when Granada TV had sent them to be digitised.

David Bowie's alter ego Ziggy Stardust made his debut appearance in Aylesbury in late 1971 - prior to the film being made.

David also debuted the now iconic album, Hunky Dory earlier in 1971 at the Friars Club.

To celebrate in March last year, the world's first David Bowie statue was unveiled close to Aylesbury's Market Square - after a crowdfunding campaign. Bowie referenced the square in his song Five Years.

Such was the success and demand, he returned in January 1972- ostensibly to perform Hunky Dory which was then top of the charts.

Instead, the musical icon unleashed Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars to a awestruck crowd.

Roger Taylor from Queen recalls that January ‘72 gig.

He said: “I got Freddie out in my little mini and I remember the lights didn’t work very well and we were going around the roundabouts and he was going “Oh dear – I don’t think you can see dear, can you?” and I said 'Don’t worry Freddie it will be all right' and anyway, we did get around the roundabouts and we got out to Friars Aylesbury which seemed like the end of the earth at that time.

“I think it could have been the first-ever Ziggy Stardust gig and it blew us away – we were blown away – it was so fantastic, like nothing else that was happening and so far ahead of its time – The guy had so much talent to burn really and charisma to burn as well. I hate to gush but he did have it like no-one else did at the time.”

The Rolling Stone music and lifestyle magazine, reports: "A fan managed to tape it, but due to degradation, the tape is now being “baked” so that the footage can be remastered.

"It may feature in next month’s BBC2 documentary, David Bowie: Finding Fame, if it is restored in time."

"For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail,” Francis Whately, the documentary’s producer and director, told the BBC's Radio Times magazine.

“It would fall apart if we played it, so it’s had to be very carefully restored. It will be a real coup if it comes off.”