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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Sunday, October 13, 1963

London Palladium, Argyll St. London

The Beatles first booking with one of the leading ITV companies, Associated TeleVision, headed by Lew Grade, for so long a powerful figure in British show business. And without a debut - on the top-rated entertainment program of them all, Val Parnell's Sunday Night at The London Palladium, fully networked live from the prestigious theatre in the heart of London and seen by 15 million viewers at peak time, 8:25 to 9:25 pm. An appearance on SNALP-especially as bill-toppers, as were the the Beatles - this night was a major event, and for so many artists , the pinnacle of a career, even if today, one almost wonders what the fuss was about.

At the same time, it was certainly a remarkable appearance. The London Palladium, so-called "home of the stars", had never before witnessed the screaming fans who made themselves very audible not only inside but outside the theatre too, blocking Argyll Street and delighting photographers with ready-made front-page picture stories for the next morning. The word, Beatlemania was coined by Fleet Street writers to describe the scenes, and it remains in use today, and probably will forever.

The youth element in the theatre was teased right from the start when, against tradition, the Beatles appeared at the beginning of the show - albeit only for a few seconds. Compere Bruce Forsyth then announced, "If you want to see them again, they'll be back in 42 minutes"......

When they came back, to close the hour-long show, Forsyth rose above the screams to count down "5-4-3-2-1" before the Beatles struck up "From Me To You". They then went into their well oiled stage routine (even still, they had a private rehearsal the previous evening). Paul tried to introduce the next number (I'll Get You"). Then John, Paul and George all spoke the next announcement together, stopping together and re-starting together, until George carried it off alone, introducing "She Loves You". Then Paul tried to announce the closing number, John shouted at the screamers to "Shut up!", the adults among the audience applauded, Paul asked people to clap their hands and stamp their feet, John went into his spastic imitations, and the group finally launched into "Twist And Shout".

The show ended, as ever, with the bill-toppers joining the other acts (Brook Benton, Des O'Connor, host Bruce Forsyth) on the revolving stage, waving at the audience and cameras while the resident Jack Parnell Orchestra played the theme tune "Startime".

The Beatles were clearly becoming a phenomenon - this TV appearance was actually covered by the late-evening ITN news, which had camera's in the group's Palladium dressing room.

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