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28 October 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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    Inside Out - North West: Monday September 19, 2005

Bootleg Beatles

Neil Harrison as John Lennon
Try to see it my way - Neil Harrison imagines he is Lennon

We go on tour with the granddaddy of all tribute bands, The Bootleg Beatles.

It's 25 years since four talented musicians with a love of, and more than a passing resemblance to, John, Paul, George, and Ringo, came together to recreate the sight and sounds of the Beatles at their best.

Now they're the most famous tribute band in the world.


Formed from the West End cast of the Broadway musical “Beatlemania”.

The Bootleg Beatles’ career began at a student bash in Tiverton, Devon, UK on March 26th 1980 - almost ten years to the day since Paul McCartney announced the original’s had split.

In 1982, the Bootleg Beatles were offered a six week tour of the U.S.S.R., becoming the first western rock group ever to tour the Soviet Union.

The band played a storming set at the 1994 Glastonbury Festival.

Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis were so keen on the group that they asked them to be the support act for their record-breaking 1995 Earl's Court shows. This culminated in both bands sharing the stage for 'I Am The Walrus'.

Since becoming regulars on the festival circuit, The Bootlegs have played Wembley with Rod Stewart and Elton John.

They have also shared the bill with The Corrs, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and filled Tokyo's Budokan Hall in their own right.

This summer Inside Out North West went behind the scenes with the band as they travelled across the country.

Our trip culminated in a magical performance by the Bootleg Beatles back in their spiritual home of Liverpool.

In a film packed with the soundtrack to all our lives, Neil Harrison, the Bootleg John, takes us on a personal tour of the people and places he knew as he grew up on the Wirral in the Sixties.

He also reveals a very special encounter, nearly 40 years ago, with one of the Fab Four that had a profound and long lasting effect on his life.

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Bird Flu

Birds are being blamed for the spread of some global flu strains

What if avian flu or bird flu arrived sooner than expected in the North West?

Scientists say millions of people could be killed by a flu pandemic, but the advice from health officials in the North West is, "Don't go to hospital or the doctors".

With the prospect of little or no vaccine, medical centres could be overwhelmed by patients they cannot help.

Pandemics of influenza have swept the world from time to time
throughout history, three times in the last century.

Scientists fear a global epidemic of deadly flu in humans will strike, and bird flu is giving cause for particular concern

There are 15 different strains of the virus, but it is the H5N1 strain which is infecting humans and causing high death rates.

This type of flu is highly contagious and has also killed dozens of people since re-emerging in South East Asia in 2003.

Spread by birds, there is not yet a definitive vaccine, but prototypes which offer protection against the H5N1 strain are being produced.

However anti-viral drugs, which are already available, may help limit symptoms and reduce the chances the disease will spread.

Vius under microscope
Flu attack? Could the virus spread to humans in the UK?

These flu viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds world-wide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them.

Professor Hugh Pennington of Aberdeen University recently told BBC News Online that, "The virus is carried in the chicken's gut.

"A person would have to dry out the chicken meat and would have to sniff the carcass to be at any risk. But even then, it would be very hard to become infected."

Experts say that the UK is at "very low risk" of developing the disease at present.

Although bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, several cases of human infection have occurred since 1997.

Symptoms in humans include typical flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, muscle aches, severe respiratory diseases and coughs.

It is thought that the majority of human bird flu infections resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces.

Inside Out's Andy Johnson asks how would we cope if bird flu came to the North West of England, and asks if we are we prepared for a flu epidemic.

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Liverpool's evacuees

Evacuees from the BBC play 'Cazalets'
Home alone - evacuation was a painful process for many kids

Sixty years since they last met, Jacey Normand reports on an emotional reunion for Liverpool children.

These children were evacuated to Ormskirk during the Second World War, many of them from Liverpool.

There were two main periods of evacuation in Liverpool - at the start of the War in September 1939, and at the outbreak of the German bombing campaign in December 1940.

Friends reunited - Hilda and Rose remember good and bad times

Ninety five thousand children were evacuated from Liverpool when War broke out in September 1939.

Fifty seven thousand of these were school children, and a further 31,000 were mothers and children under five years of age.

Most of the evacuees from Liverpool were sent to Lancashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Wales and Herefordshire.

Inside Out talks to the Ormskirk evacuees and they share their wartime memories of how they were sent away from the bombs to the safety of Lancashire.

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