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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Saturday, February 22, 1964

Kingsford-Smith Suite, London Airport, Heathrow, Middlesex

The return of the Beatles to England after such an eventful first trip tot he USA was deemed a matter of such national importance tha BBC footage of their touchdown at London Airport, and an accompanying interview, was slotted into the Saturday afternoon TV sports program, Grandstand, broadcast between 1:00 and 5:15 pm. Correspondingly, the interview was conducted by David Coleman, the BBC's premier sports commentator.

The item - not a brief filler but of 13 mins, 12 seconds duration - was shown along with horse-racing. Eddie Waring was commentating on live rugby league from Hunslet, amateur boxing from Cardiff and the classified football results.

The return was covered by most film and TV organizations. Pathe News turned its footage into a special Beatles Welcome Home report for cinema distribution, narrator Bob Danvers-Walker piling on the puns in best Pathe style, "Never mind crush-barriers, the Beatles fans would smash the sound-barrier!". And it was covered by radio, too, the Beatles crowded around a telephone at London Airport shortly after landing and were interviewed by Brian Matthew, 4 mins, 20 seconds of which went into the last 20 minutes of this morning's edition of Saturday Club, broadcast, as usual, by the Light Programme from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. (The interview was followed, incidentally, by a dedication for George's imminent 21st birthday - "Shop Around" by the Miracles was requested and played - sent in by George's mother).

The return was also covered by radio news and a brief extract from one such interview, Neville Barker Talking to George Harrison, was repeated in The Public Ear on Sunday, March 8th (3:00-4:00 pm) as part of a feature titled, "Beatlemania".

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