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13 November 2014

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You are in: Kent > People > Your Stories > The Beatles' bubbly

The Beatles filming in Sevenoaks.

The Beatles filming in Sevenoaks.

The Beatles' bubbly

It's over 40 years since the famous Liverpudlians visited Knole Park to film some of their best known videos and film scenes. One lucky schoolboy was there to witness it.

On February 7th 1967, Julian Joseph Sylvester, a 14 year-old schoolboy from Sevenoaks, managed to get hold of a bottle of champagne, last touched by John Lennon.

Here’s how Julian’s story goes.

“It was a games afternoon but I was off games due to some ailment and had the afternoon free.  It was rumoured that The Beatles were in Knole Park which the school grounds back onto so I thought I would go and take a look.

"Sure enough, there they were making, as it now turns out, the first promo pop film for their double A-sided single Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. The Beatles were riding around on horses, pouring paint over a piano and jumping from a branch of dead trees with Lennon singing ’Hey hey we’re the Monkees’. 

"As can still be seen on the Penny Lane video the bottle was in an ice bucket on a table with a white tablecloth and candelabras. The four rode up on their horses, dismounted and approached the table. Lennon picked up the bottle and poured for the other three.  They were brought their instruments by liveried pages. The Beatles then got up from the table which was overturned by Lennon and McCartney, the bottle was thrown to the ground which is where I retrieved it from.

The Beatle's bottle of Champagne.

The Beatle's bottle of Champagne.

"During breaks in the filming, starting with Lennon I got them to sign the bottle’s label which was not to easy as it was still damp from the ice bucket and also on a curved surface but, they seemed happy to oblige me. I was leaving Ringo until last but unfortunately I never got him to sign and all these years later can’t remember why he never did. Maybe I just ran out of opportunity. 

"They each had a black Mini Cooper S with blacked out windows which they left the park in at the end of the day. Separately as I recall."

The Beatles next brush with Kent was in September 1967. The Beatles arrived at West Malling airfield on September 19th to shoot various scenes for their forthcoming feature film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. During the five days' filming The Beatles utilised almost all areas of the airfield both inside and out.

Scenes included The Beatles walking down a giant staircase in one of the hangers with 160 dancers at the bottom of it, a tug of war involving 12 children and a number of blindfolded vicars and the famous ‘I am The Walrus’ scene.

One additional scene was shot in Maidstone, the place, the town news agent at 90 High Street.

last updated: 25/03/2009 at 16:34
created: 25/01/2007

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