John Lydon hits out at 'middle class fantasy' trailer for Sex Pistols TV series

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John Lydon is not happy about the new Sex Pistols TV series 'Pistol', in which he is played by Anson Boon. (FX/AFP/Getty)
John Lydon is not happy about the new Sex Pistols TV series 'Pistol', in which he is played by Anson Boon. (FX/AFP/Getty)

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has criticised the latest look at Danny Boyle's new TV series Pistol as a "middle class fantasy" of the band.

FX and Disney unveiled the first trailer for the series earlier this week, featuring Anson Boon as Lydon — then known by stage name Johnny Rotten — and an unrecognisable Maisie Williams as punk star Jordan.

Read more: John Lydon explains decision to do The Masked Singer

The series is told from the perspective of Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and tells the story of the band's rapid rise to fame at the height of the punk movement in the 1970s, based on Jones' memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol.

In a statement on his official website, Lydon's representatives said he was disappointed to see the trailer for the series focus more on the band as a whole than Jones.

The statement said: "We were originally led to believe Pistol was a Steve Jones story, not a Sex Pistols story. Going by the trailer it doesn’t seem to be the case.

"John’s 'likeness' is clearly being used to sell this series, a series he was not involved in, and was put together behind his back.

Read more: John Lydon says Queen should speak "our English"

"Putting words in John’s mouth and rewriting history. A middle class fantasy.

"Disney have stolen the past and created a fairy tale, which bears little resemblance to the truth. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic."

Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones perform with Sex Pistols at their last concert in 1978. (Getty)
Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones perform with Sex Pistols at their last concert in 1978. (Getty)

The Sex Pistols were founded in 1975 and unveiled their only album Never Mind the B***ocks, Here's the Sex Pistols in 1977, as well as controversial singles God Save the Queen and Anarchy in the UK.

They split in 1978, with Lydon going on to form Public Image Ltd before rejoining the Pistols when they reformed in the 1990s despite a fractured relationship with his bandmates.

Read more: John Lydon shouts at Susanna Reid amid Donald Trump rant

Lydon lost a High Court battle last year around the use of Sex Pistols tracks in Pistol, with Jones and drummer Paul Cook suing him after he tried to veto the decision to license the band's songs.

In court, the singer said: "I care very much about this band and its reputation and its quality control and I will always have a say if I think anything is being done to harm or damage [it]."

Sir Anthony Mann, the presiding judge, ruled that Lydon had signed away his rights to various companies over the years and now had "only qualified rights of approval which could be overridden if he was being unreasonable".

Danny Boyle has directed all six parts of 'Pistol'. (Rebecca Brenneman/FX)
Danny Boyle has directed all six parts of 'Pistol'. (Rebecca Brenneman/FX)

As well as Boon and Williams, the series stars Toby Wallace as Steve Jones, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Christian Lees as Glen Matlock, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley as Vivienne Westwood, Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Malcolm McLaren.

It was created by writer Craig Pearce, who is best known for collaborating with director Baz Luhrmann on films including The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet.

Pistol will stream on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland from 31 May.

Watch: Sex Pistols series films in London

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