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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Never-heard-before Beatles chat and rare footage unveiled as Beatles Week comes to BBC Two and BBC Four

The Beatles (image: Apple Corps)

A new documentary featuring never-heard-before fragments of conversation, along with interviews and rare footage of The Beatles in the studio, will form the centrepiece of a season of programming as BBC Two and BBC Four join forces for Beatles Week.

The joint season, celebrating the Fab Four's enduring legacy and continuing influence, begins on BBC Two on Saturday 5 September 2009.

Kicking off an evening of programming on BBC Two on 5 September, The Beatles On Record offers a concise history of The Beatles in the studio and sits alongside other highlights including the first TV showing of The Beatles – The First US Visit, the Maysles brothers' film charting the Fab Four's arrival in America in 1964.

BBC Four's programming includes Storyville's extraordinary story of how The Beatles' music may have contributed towards the collapse of the USSR; a documentary on the making of The Beatles' First US Visit; and a new compilation of archive footage featuring an eclectic range of artists who have covered Beatles songs over the decades.

In 1962 an unknown group from Liverpool entered Abbey Road Studios to record their debut single. During the next eight years they created what is arguably regarded as the greatest collection of studio recordings of the 20th century.

The Beatles On Record, directed by Bob Smeaton, charts The Beatles' extraordinary journey from Please Please Me to Abbey Road and reflects on how they developed as musicians, matured as songwriters and created a body of work that sounds as fresh in 2009 as the time it was recorded.

Narrated entirely by John, Paul, George, Ringo and their producer Sir George Martin, the documentary features more than 60 classic songs, rare footage and photos from The Beatles' archives and never-heard-before out-takes of studio chat from the Abbey Road recording sessions.

This is followed on the same evening on BBC Two by The Beatles – The First US Visit.

It is 1964, Beatlemania is beginning in America and, from airport to hotel to TV studio, the pioneering Maysles brothers are at The Beatles' shoulders on their first US visit. This is the inside story of the two remarkable weeks when Beatlemania first ignited in America.

BBC Two will also be reshowing Timewatch – Beatlemania, the inside story of the rise and fall of Beatlemania. By 1966 the Beatles had played more than 1,400 gigs, toured the world four times and sold the equivalent of 200 million records. At the height of their popularity, and without warning, they pulled the plug and never toured again.

There's also another chance to see the action adventure spoof Help!, directed by Richard Lester.

The season continues with a week of programming on BBC Four from Sunday 6 September.

Storyville – How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin tells the extraordinary unknown story of how The Beatles' music may have contributed to the collapse of the USSR.

In August 1962 director Leslie Woodhead made a two-minute film in Liverpool's Cavern Club with a raw and unrecorded group of rockers – The Beatles. He arranged their first live TV appearances on a local show in Manchester and then watched as the Fab Four phenomenon swept the world.

Twenty five years later, while making films in Russia, Woodhead became aware of how – even though they were never able to play in the Soviet Union – The Beatles legend had soaked into the lives of a generation of youngsters.

This film meets the Soviet Beatles generation and hears stories about how the Fab Four changed their lives.

Other programming throughout the week on BBC Four includes Sings Beatles, a new compilation of archive footage featuring a diverse range of artists – from Sandie Shaw to Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Carpenters to Candy Flip – who have covered Beatles songs over the years.

Plus there's an opportunity to see Filming The Beatles' First US Visit – Albert Maysles, which takes viewers behind the scenes with the legendary documentary director of The Beatles – The First US Visit that screens on BBC Two on 5 September.

George Entwistle, Controller, Knowledge Commissioning, says: "This is a chance for viewers to enjoy some rare footage and fascinating insights into the career of the greatest pop group of all time.

"Through BBC Two and BBC Four's close working relationship we will be inviting our audience to join us on a rich and colourful journey across two TV channels, through new and archive content, shown in just one week in September."


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