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Countdown to Beatles Week

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Nigel Smith Nigel Smith | 16:16 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009


BBC TV's Beatles Week begins on Saturday 5 September, so all fans of the Fab Four should cancel their evening engagements or make sure they know how their PVRs or dusty VHS recorders work. We also have some special contributors to the BBC Music blog lined up next week to talk about the programmes.

At the centre of Saturday's schedule on BBC Two is a new documentary called The Beatles on Record that offers a concise overview of their recording history from Please Please Me to Abbey Road, told entirely by the Beatles and producer George Martin. Next week I'll be explaining how you can get involved with other fans to talk about this programme.

That programme is bookended by a repeat of The Timewatch doc Beatlemania and the Maysles brothers' legendary film about the Beatles' first US tour. Next week on the blog we are thrilled that Albert Maysles will write about making this groundbreaking film in 1964 and share some clips from the 'Making Of' documentary. The evening ends on BBC Two with a screening of Help!

The season continues on BBC Four with a wonderful Storyville film, How The Beatles Rocked the Kremlin. Veteran filmmaker Leslie Woodhead, who first shot the mop tops at the Cavern Club in 1962, travels to Russia to reveal how The Beatles, banned in the USSR, helped end the Cold War. Leslie will also be writing about the film on the blog next week.

The season concludes on Friday 11 September with ... Sings The Beatles, a new compilation from the BBC archive featuring acts as diverse as Sandie Shaw to Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Carpenters to Candy Flip performing Beatles covers.

Stay tuned!


  • Comment number 1.

    As a long time Beatles fan, I was looking forward to last night's Beatles feast on BBC2. The Timewatch feature on Beatlemania was excellent, though a repeat, and like many I suspect, I had seen it before. The First US visit, also fascinating, has nevertheless been widely available on DVD for some years. 'The Beatles on Record' the evening's centrepice, was however the biggest disappointment. This was the 'Anthology' series condensed into an hour, featuring snippets from the same archive material, and using the same interviews. It came across as an hour long advert for this week's CD re-issues. Perhaps not surprisingly, as it was produced by Apple Corps. This could have been a great programme, with contributions from the many people who worked with The Beatles in the studio. A real missed opportunity! I have to say though that I am really looking forward to the Storyville programme on The Beatles and the USSR. At last, a genuine fresh angle. So congrats BBC for that!


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