Ricky Gervais had asked David Bowie to record a version of the Space Oddity-inspired song he had written about Slough before the rock star’s death in January.
The 54-year-old had written the ode to the Berkshire town, where sitcom The Office was set, for his upcoming mockumentary film Life On The Road, in which former Wernham Hogg boss David Brent tries to make it as a rock star 15 years after the original comedy series.
David Bowie died at the age of 69 from cancer (AP)
The pair famously teamed up for a 2006 episode of Extras in which the Let’s Dance singer played himself and humiliated Ricky’s character, Andy Milman.
Seated at a piano, he sang about the ‘little fat man who sold his soul’ and branded Andy, the star of a terrible sitcom, as a ‘chubby little loser’.
Ben Bailey Smith, who stars in the film as rapper Dom Johnson, said: “We were hoping David (Bowie) would do his own version of Slough and I’ve done a rap version, but what happened happened and it’s such a shame.
“I never got to meet the man, but Ricky always talks about him and he was genuinely one of Ricky’s heroes.
“It would blow my mind when he said, I played Bowie Equality Street (their spoof 2013 Comic Relief song) and he thought it was wicked. It’s a shame that never came about, but I think you can still expect some pretty surprising celebrity endorsements of the album.”
Ricky Gervais as David Brent (Richard Hardcastle)
Derek creator Ricky has said he will release an album of songs from Brent’s fictional band Foregone Conclusions alongside the film, with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows involved.
In December, Ricky told NME that he had sent Bowie a copy of Slough.
Ben revealed more details about the film, including its salutes to classic rock spoof This Is Spinal Tap.
“On the surface there’s a lot of goofing around, a lot of improvisation, there’s a lot of nods to Spinal Tap, and we had a hell of a lot of fun shooting.
“But underneath that was a very serious, very strict, very lean approach to filmmaking. We’ve got three hours of footage and we could ‘Quentin Tarantino’ it, but instead we’re doing 88 minutes of brilliant comedy, with some heart and some pathos underneath it.”