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What is the DNA of a great rock 'n' roll band?

The series breaks this mythical beast down into its constituent parts: singer, guitarist, drummer as well as the shadowy 'other one', whose face we don't quite know but without whom the magic wouldn't happen. The evidence is examined closely in forensic studies of what makes these rock 'n' roll types tick, starting with the lead singer. Often he's the leader, sometimes the dictator, benign or otherwise. His voice is his instrument and out front there's nowhere to hide. He hires. He fires. And when it all goes wrong and the backlash begins, he will get the blame.

An eye-opening romp through great war stories from the rock 'n' roll frontline explores the myriad ways of tackling the daunting role of front person. From the seemingly fearless, like taboo-shattering Jim Morrison of The Doors, to the mesmerically fragile, like Joy Division's ill-starred Ian Curtis. From Mick Jagger, who drew up the blueprint of front man as athlete, lothario and chairman of the board to the swaggeringly cantankerous yet strangely static force of nature that is Liam Gallagher.

A starry cast list, including Iggy Pop, Roger Daltrey and Dave Grohl, considers how and why they do what they do on and off stage. Sting speculates where necessary confidence ends and arrogance begins, while Muse's Matt Bellamy wonders whether a tendency towards the diva-ish is an inevitable by-product of the pressures of being the band's focal point. Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays recalls harsh lessons learnt from underestimating the tabloids, and Siouxsie Sioux revels in the moments when it all goes right.

A no-holds-barred look at the talents and foibles of the eternal hero of rock 'n' roll, the guitarist. Windmilling and kerranging from a huge cast of strummers and twangers including Slash, Jeff Beck, Johnny Marr, Pete Townshend, Mick Jones of the Clash, Status Quo and Matt Bellamy of Muse.

Does the drummer's clown-like personality and appetite for destruction mean he doesn't get taken seriously? Or is he the band member most in tune with the primal power of music to get us moving? Speaking up for the much maligned sticksman are Queen's Roger Taylor, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, Stewart Copeland of The Police and Red Hot Chili Pepper, Chad Smith.

Meet the band's secret weapon: 'the other one'. They might play bass; maybe keyboards; sometimes it's not clear what they do at all. Underestimate them with peril though, these guys are the glue holding the band together. Stepping out from the sidelines are bassists Peter Hook of New Order and Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses, keyboard players Rick Wakeman and The Doors' Ray Manzarek, plus the Happy Mondays' lord of the dance, Bez.

From small town wannabes to worldbeaters; from their imaginations to our hearts: this is a no-holds barred romp through the classic shared journey that rock 'n' roll bands take. Explaining what makes the sum greater than its individual parts are Sting, Bob Geldof, New Order, Iggy Pop and Roger Daltrey.

After five documentaries exploring the DNA of the rock 'n' roll band and the roles in the band, from lead singer through guitarist to drummer, the series goes live with Jonathan Ross at BBC Television Centre as the nation decides who the greatest rock 'n' rollers ever are.

Jonathan is joined by a panel of rock 'n' roll experts - Lauren Laverne of 6 Music and Kenickie; Stewart Copeland of The Police; and Mark Radcliffe, narrator of the documentary series, Radio 2 presenter and member of The Shirehorses - to debate the UK's favourites, accompanied by a live audience, a house band and some of the great rock 'n' roll songs.

The programme follows an online vote on the I'm in a Rock 'n' Roll Band! website, with the top three bands, singers, guitarists, drummers and bass players unveiled and debated on the show. Advocates including Al Murray, Suggs, Mark Ronson and Sharleen Spiteri speak on behalf of their favourites and lock horns with the panel of experts, with the nation then invited to vote on each category. The results are announced at the end of the show, crowning the nation's favourite band of all time and unveiling a fantasy band consisting of the nation's favourite singer, guitarist, drummer and bass player.