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Cinema On Demand: Billie (15*)

a woman singing and a man sitting next to her playing a guitar

A newly-unearthed treasure trove of audio interviews about Billie Holiday form the basis of this new documentary profile of the great jazz singer.

Eschewing the standard talking-heads presentation, this new documentary combines archive and performance footage and stills with audio testimonies from those who met or knew Billie Holiday, conducted in the 1970s for a planned biography. The book was scotched after the author’s early death; the tapes have not been heard, until now.

The outlines of Holiday’s life are well known, but the story is brought vividly to life through these first-hand accounts from her friends, relatives, fellow musicians (including Count Basie and Sylvia Sims), and even the arresting officer on one of her drug busts, and the pimp who pressed her into prostitution as a young girl. 

UK 2019 Dir James Erskine 98 min

You can watch the trailer on Facebook.

This rental is only available within the UK.  

From purchase, you have 48 hours to start and finish watching the film.



‘James Erskine’s film showcases the unforgettable Holiday voice: her elegantly casual, almost negligent readings of melodies, with a sensual moan or purr that was on the verge of a sob.‘


Billie Holliday singing

ScreenTalk Live: Billie Director James Erskine & Shianne Brown

Join us at 5pm on Sunday 15 November for a live ScreenTalk with Billie director James Erskine and co-producer Shianne Brown, hosted by broadcaster and DJ Zakia Sewell.

How to watch

Please note this rental is only available within the UK

1.    Choose the film you want to watch.
2.    Add to basket and proceed to purchase.

3.    If you already have an account, you can log in during the purchase. If not, create an account as you buy. 

4.    Once your purchase has gone through, you can click on the button to click to ‘Watch your films', or click on the link in your email, or go to your account.
5.    Start watching your video. From purchase, you have 48 hours to start and finish watching the film. Enjoy! 

If you have any issues, please contact our Box Office team via [email protected] between 9.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.