Arena: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour

Saturday 6 October

9.45pm-11.40pm

BBC TWO

Arena presents the greatest Beatles story never told, a blockbuster double bill: a documentary full of fabulous Beatles archive material never shown before anywhere in the world. And the first screening for over 30 years of a lost and forgotten treasure, the only film conceived and directed by The Beatles themselves - Magical Mystery Tour.

Part One - Magical Mystery Tour Revisited

Songs you’ll never forget, the film you’ve never seen, and a story that’s never been heard. In 1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles made a film – a dreamlike story of a coach daytrip, a magical mystery tour. It was seen by a third of the nation, at 8.35pm on BBC One on Boxing Day - an expectant public, hoping for some light entertainment for a family audience.

Magical Mystery Tour was greeted with outrage and derision by middle England and the establishment media. “How dare they?”, they cried – “They’re not film directors, who do they think they are?” they howled. Where were the four lovable moptops of Help! and A Hard Day’s Night?

What propelled The Beatles to make this surreal, startling and – at the time – utterly misunderstood film? Contributors include Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Peter Fonda, Martin Scorsese, Terry Gilliam, Paul Merton and Neil Innes.

Directed by Francis Hanly; produced by Jonathan Clyde; the executive producers are Anthony Wall and Jeff Jones

Part Two – The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour

Fully restored to the highest technical standard with a remixed soundtrack, Magical Mystery Tour comes out of the shadows and onto the screen.

By the end of 1967, The Beatles had achieved a creativity unprecedented in popular music.

Their triumphant summer release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was both avant garde and an instant hit. It went straight to No.1 in June and remained there for the rest of the year. They immersed themselves in the fiercely radical art of the new counterculture, and decided to make a film on their own terms, not as pop stars but as artists. However, was their adoring public ready for the move?

Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour! Made in England by The Beatles

BBC Two publicity