New Dolly Parton film to reveal singer behind the sparkles

A new feature-length documentary about Dolly Parton will reveal the songwriter behind the rhinestones, the BBC has said.

The film, which has the working title Dolly’s Country, plans to show the real person behind her famous persona.

Parton will take viewers musically and lyrically though some of her biggest hits including The Bridge, I Will Always Love You and 9 to 5, revealing how they fit into her 50-year career.

Music – Dolly Parton – Heathrow Airport – London – 1976
Dolly Parton in 1976 (PA)

It will include footage of her celebrating the 50th anniversary of her very first performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville’s home of country, as well as that original performance and her headlining set at Glastonbury in 2014.

It will also feature anecdotes from Kylie Minogue, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as well as Danny Nozell (Dolly’s manager), Charley Pride, Mac Davis, Chris Stapleton, Wayne Moss, music producers Linda Perry, Kent Wells and Val Garay, and band members Jerry Douglas, Carl Jackson, Charlie McCoy, Eddy Anderson, Lloyd Green, Mike Severs, Hargus “Pig” Robbins and Stuart Duncan.

Speaking about her life and career in the film, Parton says: “You’ve got to be daring, you’ve got to be able to get outside yourself and I’ve always said… that my desire to do something was greater than my fear of it…

“I’ve loved the journey, and it’s been hard, and I’ve paid some major dues and learned some hard lessons, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I wanted to be seen, I wanted to be recognised, I wanted to be appreciated for what I do.”

Dolly Parton
Parton in 2008 (Ian West/PA)

Jan Younghusband, head of commissioning for music television at the BBC, added: “Dolly Parton is a living legend and I’m thrilled she’s given her time to make this incredible film for BBC Two.

“It’s going to be a fascinating insight into her incredible career. Along with Ken Burns’ definitive major series, Country Music, and wonderful coverage of the CMAs, this is going to be a brilliant autumn of programmes for fans of country and music-lovers everywhere.”

The film will air on BBC Two as part of a season of programmes about country music across the BBC.

This will include the star-studded eight-part series Country Music by Ken Burns on BBC Four and the four part-series Brad Paisley: This Is Country Music on BBC Radio 2.

Country Music features never-before-seen footage and photographs and interviews with more than 80 country music artists, with biographies of key players such as the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Garth Brooks.

The series will be broadcast as six hour-long episodes followed by two 90-minute episodes.

Meanwhile, highlights from the Country Music Association Awards 2019 – hosted by Parton, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire – will be broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio 2.

Bob Harris will also return to The Country Show on BBC Radio 2 on September 19 after time away due to illness.

He said: “I am so happy to be returning to Radio 2. Following my aortic dissection at the beginning of the summer, the past few months have been amongst the toughest of my life, but I am now fit again and raring to go.

“Thank you with all my heart to the thousands of people who have sent me messages of love and support. Your good wishes have been an essential part of my recovery.

“Thank you to Kristian Bush, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Trisha Yearwood, Lady Antebellum, Paul Sexton and especially to Ben Earle for doing such a fantastic job sitting in for me and thank you to Radio 2 and my producer Mark Hagen for keeping the door open for my return.”