“Sid Vicious – His Final Hours”: “Final 24” looks at the last days of the punk icon & heroin addict

By on July 5, 2018

The “Final 24” Canadian docu-drama TV series takes a look at the last twenty-four hours in the life of punk icon and heroin addict John Simon Ritchie — a.k.a. Sid Vicious, bass player for the Sex Pistols — who died at age 21 on February 2, 1979, of a heroin overdose.

Watch Sid Vicious – His Final Hours on Night Flight Plus.

This pulp-y, nearly hour-long tabloid-style episode made its TV premiere on April 16, 2006.

It was the first show of the first season of the Discovery Channel cable TV series “Final 24,” which ran for just two seasons in 2006-2007 in Canada.

“Sid Vicious – His Final Hours” covers much more than Sid’s final hours, however.

It features actor re-enactments of scenes involving his involvement with the Pistols and their manager, Malcolm McLaren; his tragic relationship with girlfriend Nancy Spungen, including her death by stab wounds; Sid’s arrest for her murder; his incarceration at Riker’s Island jail; his release on bail and subsequent heroin overdose.

Many claim that it was actually a planned suicide enabled by his mother, Anne Beverley (Ritchie), who bought his final fix for him knowing her son’s plans to O.D. so that he would not have to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Directed by Paul “Stan” Griffin and narrated by Danny Wallace, “Sid Vicious – His Final Hours” also features interstitial interview segments with former Pistol Glen Matlock; the band’s manager Malcolm McLaren, Sid’s attorney, James Merberg and several others, as well as old documentary footage and photos which help break up the more dramatic narrative segments.

This TV docu-drama episode covers some of the same terrain as Danny Garcia’s Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy, but the re-enactments are done really well and even if you think you already know the story of Sid’s final hours it deserves another look.

“Final 24” was a compelling Canadian-made TV series which offered up more than traditional biographical shows, presenting the last twenty-four hours of a celebrity’s life as though it were a true detective story, offering up clues and theories about the cause of that person’s death.

Other episodes were centered on John Belushi, River Phoenix, Hunter S. Thompson, Marvin Gaye, John F. Kennedy Jr., Keith Moon, Anna Nicole Smith, Janis Joplin, Gianni Versace, Nicole Brown Simpson, Jim Morrison, David Koresh and Tupac Shakur.

Read more about the final hours of Sid Vicious below.


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By the end of September 1978, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungeon were spending most of their time together in room 100 at New York’s Chelsea Hotel.

They were strung out on junk, laying in bed with piles of garbage and dirty laundry piled up around them in the room, watching cartoons in the dark.

On October 10, 1978, while out with friends, Nancy bought a knife that she later gave to Sid as a gift, the same knife that two days later was responsible for the deep wound to her stomach.

She was already dead when paramedics arrived to the couple’s Chelsea lair, finding her slumped over, a bloody mess, in the bathroom. She was just twenty years old.

When Sid was questioned about what had happened, he told police detectives that they’d argued, and he defiantly told the cops that he didn’t stab Nancy. Then he said he did.

He was arrested on murder charges, and reportedly told the cops, “You can’t arrest me. I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star.”

After a few days in Riker’s Island jail, Sid was released on bail, which was paid by Virgin Records’ honcho Richard Branson, who’d been phoned up by his old friend, the band’s now former-manager, Malcolm McLaren, who had also hired famous defense attorney F. Lee Bailey.

Sid mourned Nancy’s death, phoning her mother and telling her, “I don’t know why I’m alive anymore, now that Nancy is gone.”

He also sent her a letter which in its own rambling way was meant to be apologetic.

It included a heartfelt poem he’d written about Nancy, which claimed: “And I don’t want to live this life / If I can’t live for you.”

He called Nancy’s mom a few days later, from Bellevue Hospital’s psych ward, where he’d gone after he’d slit his wrists in a suicide attempt.

He sent her one more letter which apparently hinted at what really happened on that fateful night at the Chelsea, saying that he and Nancy “always knew that we would go to the same place when we died.”

He further claimed that they wanted to die in each other’s arms. It also included the promise he’d made to Nancy, that he would kill myself if anything ever happened to her, a promise that she’d reciprocated.

After a few weeks at Bellevue, Vicious was released, and he immediately went back to heavy drug use.


McLaren bailed Sid out after he was jailed for getting into a fight at a nightclub on February 1, 1979.

That same night, Sid Vicious got together with his new girlfriend, actress Michelle Robinson, and although he hadn’t shot up for nearly two months, he ended up shooting up some heroin that his mother had purchased for him.

Sid’s mother Anne discovered him the next morning, in Robinson’s bed, dead at age 21 from a heroin overdose.

In the pocket of his leather jacket — he’d asked to be buried in the jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots, right next to Nancy — she found a suicide note which stated, quite plainly, “We had a death pact.”

Watch Sid Vicious – His Final Hours on Night Flight Plus.

About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.