In January the footage, filmed in 1973, will be screened as part of a BBC4 documentary for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The film of Bowie singing the number two hit The Jean Genie came to light recently after fears it had been wiped from archives.

It emerged earlier this month at the British Film Institute’s Missing Believed Wiped event, which celebrates the discovery of lost TV programmes.

Retired cameraman, John Henshall, 69, from Oxfordshire, kept a copy of the footage and didn’t know the BBC hadn’t got one itself until recently.

He said: “I just couldn’t believe that I was the only one with it. I just thought you wouldn’t be mad enough to wipe a tape like that.”

Speaking of the moment he rediscovered the footage, he said: “The hairs stood up on the back of my neck… There it was in full broadcast quality. Amazing.”

The performance of Jean Genie was transmitted the night after it was filmed on January 3 1973, for the first and only time.

Next year, fans will be treated to the rock God’s four-minute performance with his band at the time, The Spiders From Mars, in a BBC4 documentary called Tales of Television Centre.