Amy Winehouse's mum Janis makes documentary 'to save memories from MS'

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Amy and Janis Winehouse in 2008Image source, Richard Young/Shutterstock
Image caption,
Janis Winehouse joined Amy on stage at the 2008 Grammy Awards

Amy Winehouse's mother Janis is to tell her daughter's story in a new BBC documentary to mark the 10th anniversary of the singer's death.

The BBC said a large part of Janis Winehouse's motivation for taking part in the film was because Multiple Sclerosis "threatens to strip her of her memories of Amy".

Janis was diagnosed in 2003 and memory problems are common with MS.

"I don't feel the world knew the true Amy, the one I brought up," she said.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to offer an understanding of her roots and a deeper insight into the real Amy."

The singer, whose 2006 album Back To Black established her as one of the greatest talents of her generation, died from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 in July 2011.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Back To Black was the UK's best-selling album of 2007

The BBC said her story would be told in the new documentary "primarily through her mum", whose version of events "often differs from the narrative we have been told before".

Janis will be joined by family and friends, and the film will offer "a new female-driven interpretation of her life, her loves and her legacy", the announcement said.

In her 2014 book Loving Amy: A Mother's Story, Janis wrote that a gradual "loss of sharpness" of memory was part of MS. "I worry about the day when Amy stops being alive in my head and in my heart. I don't want that day ever to come," she wrote.

'One of a kind'

Janis had been experiencing symptoms of MS for more than 20 years before being formally diagnosed. She became an ambassador for the MS Society in 2019.

Amy's childhood friend Juliette Ashby told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday: "I think it's a lovely, wonderful thing her mum's doing for her."

Ashby remembered Amy as "a force to be reckoned with" and "one of the kind", adding: "Genuinely there is no one like her. And there won't ever be anyone like her."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Amy's dad Mitch complained about the 2015 Oscar-winning documentary Amy

The documentary, which has the working title Amy Winehouse: 10 Years On, is not the first to be made about the singer.

A 2015 film titled Amy, made by director Asif Kapadia, won the Oscar for best documentary, although the singer's father Mitch complained that it was unbalanced and "tainted".

The anniversary will also be marked with the release of a three-CD compilation of Winehouse's performances at the BBC.

And there will be other special programmes, including a BBC Radio 2 documentary about her influence on younger female singer-songwriters and a Radio 1 documentary to introduce her to a new generation of listeners.

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