Skip to main content

Wilko helped film maker through mum’s death

The film-maker behind The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson says the veteran guitarist’s spirit in the face of death helped him deal with the passing of his own mother.

Julien Temple originally expected to cover the last months of Johnson’s life after he’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But that changed after photographer, fan and surgeon Charlie Chan persuaded the ex Dr Feelgood man to seek a second opinion – leading to the operation that saved him.

Temple tells the BBC: “It was about two months between my coming on board, and suddenly Wilko getting his amazing news.

“My mum was dying at the time that Wilko was so ill, and all the emotions began to emerge. I actually found what Wilko said, both on and off the screen, very inspiring.”

He adds: “The film is not just for fans of rock’n’roll – all of us are going to face something like he faced, ourselves or in a parent, partner or friend.

“Both of us are atheists, but I think there’s an unexpected element of spirituality to the film. As well as the rock’n’roll, of course.”

The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson was premiered in London this week, at a benefit night for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It’s on general release from July 17. Johnson tours the UK with Status Quo later this year.