Singer Lydon had no input in the show and lost a court case he filed in a bid to stop it from being made. Later, Boyle said, “I love Lydon for what he does, and I don’t want him to like it – I want him to attack it.”
“Oh, how fey of him!” Lydon said in a new interview with The Guardian, adding that he watched only a trailer and not the show itself. “It’s disgusting, really. How can you be truthful when you don’t involve the main frontman who wrote those songs and had to take the hidings and kickings and public admonishments?” The onetime Johnny Rotten said of his former bandmates, who he believes sold out their legacy for the show: “It’s dead against everything we once stood for. The only thing you’ve got of value in your life, and you’re going to cheapen that because you want an extra fiver? Not much of a human being there.”
Lydon went on to say his time with the Pistols in the ‘70s wasn’t fun. “It was too hectic,” he explained. “Too much condensed into such a short space of time. And it was very hard dealing with the band because they were so indifferent to me. They didn’t understand what I was doing – or much care.” But he accepted that there were advantages: “The band weren’t very capable, which made it easier. A bum rhyme could go really well with a bum note. But they never paid much attention to the lyrics, so I had a free hand.”
He noted that he “couldn’t help it if the press wanted to turn it all into filthy lucre, foul-mouthed yob stuff. The giggle was they hate us, so let them get on with it, eat themselves alive with jealousy and contempt. What was so shocking? Working-class lad has a point of view? It must be stopped!”
Lydon also argued that his lyrics had more human understanding than many people realized. “You couldn’t write the songs I do without having some consideration for your fellow human beings,” he said.
“The media at the time viewed my stuff as foul-mouthed this, that and the other. … No, no, no, no, it’s all from a point of empathy.”