John Lydon says he was 'completely ostracised' from Sex Pistols TV show

·Contributor
·3 min read
John Lydon clearly has no love for Danny Boyle's upcoming TV show about the Sex Pistols. (Justin Tallis/AFP)
John Lydon clearly has no love for Danny Boyle's upcoming TV show about the Sex Pistols. (Justin Tallis/AFP)

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon — formerly known as Johnny Rotten — has said he was "completely ostracised" from the making of Danny Boyle's new TV series Pistol.

Lydon has repeatedly spoken out against the miniseries, which will air in the UK via Disney+, and even launched an unsuccessful legal bid to ban the creators from using the band's music.

Read more: First look at Pistol as UK release confirmed

He has now told The Sun that his bandmates secretly developed the project for three years without involving him.

"I don’t really want to watch it but I will need to fact-check it. I have not seen one single second of it — not any script. I’ve been completely ostracised," he said.

Watch: Trailer for punk rock miniseries Pistol

Lydon added: “To be misrepresented in such a rude manner is unacceptable. If there was any truth in it, they wouldn’t have kept it from me."

Anson Boon portrays Lydon in the six-part series, which is based on Pistols guitarist Steve Jones's book Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol and also stars Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan.

Read more: John Lydon went on The Masked Singer to help his wife

Lydon described the decision to keep him away from the project as "shockingly stupid" and criticised his bandmates, saying: "None of these f***s would have a career but for me."

He added: "The underhandedness of it is preposterous and the assumption that I would be negative right from the start is clearly ludicrous in itself.

"I wrote all those songs. I’m the image. It’s my name they’re using to promote it. Monsieur Rotten here.”

Pistol will tell the brief but influential story of the Sex Pistols and their rise to fame in the 1970s. (Rebecca Brenneman/FX)
Pistol will tell the brief but influential story of the Sex Pistols and their rise to fame in the 1970s. (Rebecca Brenneman/FX)

Pistol will be able to use the band's iconic punk tracks including Anarchy in the UK and God Save the Queen, but Lydon described this as "inappropriate thievery" and said he was given just days to make a decision on whether to allow their use.

He launched a legal case at the High Court, but the judge ruled against him in August, saying that the band were able to green light the songs via a majority vote as per their written agreement.

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

Lydon said: "I knew it would cause me serious financial problems going into the court case, but I had to stand up for what I view as value systems, and I’ve had to take it on the chin.

"I knew I couldn’t fight against the Disney wealth and might without suffering substantial kicks in the teeth, but I still went ahead, because what they’re doing is wrong."

The Sex Pistols were active for just three years in the 1970s, but left a huge impact on the music business. (Mirrorpix/Getty)
The Sex Pistols were active for just three years in the 1970s, but left a huge impact on the music business. (Mirrorpix/Getty)

Pistol will explore the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols, examining their importance as a key part of the burgeoning British punk rock scene in the 1970s.

They formed in 1975 and split in 1978, but made waves in that time with the release of their 1977 album Never Mind the B*****ks, Here's the Sex Pistols.

Read more: Why the Sex Pistols were fired by their record label

The album has repeatedly been ranked as one of the greatest records of all time, appearing just behind The Beatles' classic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on a Rolling Stone list in 1987.

Pistol will debut in the UK via Disney+ and in the USA via Hulu on 31 May.

Watch: John Lydon loses court battle over Sex Pistols series

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