Love Me Do: The Beatles '62

Confirmed for BBC Four on 7 October at 10.00pm to 11.00pm

Sunday 7 October

10.00pm-11.00pm

BBC FOUR

Stuart Maconie presents this special documentary which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ first hit single Love Me Do.

Their producer George Martin said it was the day the world changed. Love Me Do was released on Friday 5 October 1962, and was the band’s first top-20 hit. They never looked back.

The programme asks why Liverpool was the birthplace of a musical phenomenon. In 1962, the city had rocketing unemployment rates and the worst slums in Europe, yet it was also the world’s biggest port. Its vibrant pop culture was stimulated and heavily influenced by the records that arrived from the United States, and it boasted a club called The Cavern, where 'a cellarful of noise' helped create the soundtrack for a new generation.

Stuart Maconie documents how much the world has changed since then. Brian Epstein had to hide his homosexuality for fear of going to jail, and John Lennon married his pregnant girlfriend Cynthia to ‘do the right thing’. Beer was a shilling a pint, the Cuban Missile Crisis loomed and a deadly game of chess was played with nuclear weapons in the Cold War.

The programme talks to friends, former lovers and associates of The Beatles from that extraordinary year, and chronicles the social history of a proud seaport which helped change pop culture forever.

Love Me Do: The Beatles '62 is part of the BBC’s nationwide Beatles Day, which includes My Beatles Story, which is running on all 39 BBC local radio stations, as well as more Beatles nostalgia on BBC Radio 2.

SM