Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 20, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

This was the second day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour at West Malling Air Station in Maidstone, Kent.

The Beatles worked at the army base for six days, staying at a nearby hotel each night. A number of interior shots were filmed in the enormous hanger space, including the magicians' laboratory sequence, Aunt Jessie's dream, and a sequence for George Harrison's Blue Jay Way.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 19, 1967

John Lennon Shooting the magicians sequence for Magical Mystery Tour at West Malling, September 19, 1967

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 18, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The second week of filming for the Magical Mystery Tour television special began with a visit to the Raymond Revuebar strip club in London's Soho.

The Beatles and other passengers from the coach trip were filmed watching Jan Carson's topless strip, accompanied by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band performing Death Cab For Cutie.

In the final edit, a 'Censored' sign was superimposed to obscure Carson's bare breasts. The Beatles knew that, had they failed to do so, the BBC and other broadcasting companies would have cut the entire scene.

Jan Carson was a stripper who worked for Paul Raymond during the 1960s at his famous Revuebar in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 17, 1967

The Beatles are taking a break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 16, 1967

Recording, mixing: Your Mother Should Know, Blue Jay Way

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

Although The Beatles had recorded a version of Your Mother Should Know on August 22nd and 23rd, 1967, they began a remake on this day.

Eleven new takes were recorded, numbered 20-30. The recording was led by the song's composer Paul McCartney, who played harmonium and sang a guide vocal on the backing track. He was accompanied by drums, bongos and a piano, the latter recorded via a Leslie speaker.

Take 27 was temporarily marked the best, and was later released on 1996's Anthology 2. Take 30 was also considered as a contender, but ultimately neither was used and The Beatles eventually used the August recordings.

Also during this session, which ran from 7pm-3.45am, a demo mono mix of Blue Jay Way was made, which was then taken away by Gavrik Losey, an assistant to the Magical Mystery Tour film's producer Denis O'Dell.

This was the first Beatles session for which Ken Scott worked as a balance engineer. Scott had been tape operator on a number of prior sessions, but by this time the group's previous engineer, Geoff Emerick, had decided to step aside. Scott later became an acclaimed producer for acts including David Bowie.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 15, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The first week of filming for the Magical Mystery Tour television special saw a number of scenes being filmed between Newquay and London.

The coach party had stayed for three nights at the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay. Following breakfast on this morning, a brief scene was filmed in front of the coach and hotel in which the entire party cheered and waved to the cameras.

The coach then left for London, stopping for several scenes en route. The first of these was unused in the final edit, but involved people crowding into a tiny chip shop, Smedley's at 108 Roman Road in Taunton, Somerset. The Beatles were filmed firstly from behind the counter ordering food, and then in the main part of the shop eating their lunch.

More filming took place in a country pub, a hall, a hostel and on board the coach. During the latter, accordionist Shirley Evans led the coach party with a number of singalong songs including Toot Toot Tootsie, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along and the Can Can.

The coach dropped John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr off in Virginia Water, Surrey. Paul McCartney remained on board until its final destination, Allsop Place in London.

A second week of filming for Magical Mystery Tour began on Monday 18 September 1967.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 14, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The fourth day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour began with a scene in a field near Newquay in the south west of England.

In the morning the coach party set off to look for a secluded field. Upon setting up the camera and lighting equipment, however, crowds of onlookers meant police had to deal with a traffic jam. Two scenes were filmed in the field, only one of which - the passengers crowding into a small tent - was used. The other was of George Harrison meditating in the field while wearing am oversized blue jacket.

The coach returned to the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay for a late lunch at 4pm, with music in the dining room provided by a resident band. Although the lunch was filmed, it was left out of the final cut.

In the evening, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Neil Aspinall and others, including BBC radio reporter Miranda Ward, visited a pub in Perranporth where they were joined by musician Spencer Davis, who was holidaying in the area with his family.

The evening ended with a lock-in until after 2am, during which McCartney led a singalong around the pub piano. According to Miranda Ward, he sang "every pub standard bar Yellow Submarine, which he refused to play".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 13, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

ilming: Magical Mystery Tour
Wednesday 13 September 1967 Film and video

The third day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour began in Watergate Bay in Newquay in the south west of England.

In the late morning The Beatles and some of the hired actors were taken to the bay. There, the group were filmed looking through a telescope, although the scene failed to make the final cut. Aunt Jessie was also filmed with Buster Bloodvessel (Ivor Cutler) on Tregurrian Beach, although the BBC cut it too, having decided it was unsuitable for viewers.

Following lunch at Newquay's Atlantic Hotel, afternoon filming took place in two separate groups. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took the coach and most of the passengers to Porth near Watergate Bay.

During the journey Starr and Aunt Jessie ad libbed an argument for the cameras. In the late afternoon, on the beach at Porth, McCartney was filmed walking and cycling on a tandem with Little George the Photographer, played by George Claydon.

Back in the Newquay hotel, John Lennon directed a sequence in which Happy Nat the Rubber Man, played by Nat Jackley, chased bikini-clad women around the swimming pool. The shoot continued on the cliffs at nearby Holywell, although it was left out of the final edit.

George Harrison was the only Beatle not to take part in afternoon filming. Instead, he gave a lengthy radio interview to the BBC's Miranda Ward, half of which was broadcast on the first edition of Radio 1's Scene And Heard on 30 September 1967 from 6.30pm. The second part was broadcast on the following week's show.

Ward stayed in Newquay until Friday 15 September, and on the Thursday interviewed Ringo Starr for Scene And Heard. This was broadcast in the 14 October edition.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 12, 1967

12 September 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
Tuesday 12 September 1967 Film and video

The first full day of filming for The Beatles' television film Magical Mystery Tour took place in the south west of England.

The coach had arrived in Teignmouth in Devon on the previous night, and the party stayed at the Royal Hotel. Following breakfast on this day, the coach set off once again and headed for the Dartmoor village of Widecombe.

The annual village fair was being held in Widecombe, and it was decided that filming should take place there. However, the driver Alf Manders took a shortcut in order to beat traffic queues, and the coach became stuck on a narrow bridge.

The coach had to be reversed for half a mile, and tempers frayed on board. Footage was made of on-board arguments, though none was used. In the end The Beatles decided to abandon the trip to the fair, disappointing some local fans who had heard about their impending arrival.

The mystery trip continued instead to Plymouth on the A38. The party had lunch in the Grand Hotel, situated on the famous Plymouth Hoe, where The Beatles posed for photographers from national newspapers.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney were also interviewed by BBC TV reporter Hugh Scully. The interview was shown as the lead item on the local news programme Spotlight South West on the following day from 5.55pm.

The party then boarded the coach once more, and continued along the A38. Stops were made at Liskeard and Bodmin - where filming took place outside West End Dairy in Higher Bore Street and no Paull Road. For the latter scene, the courier Jolly Jimmy Johnson, played by Derek Royle, boarded the coach and welcomed everybody. The sequence was used at the beginning of the film.

The final destination for the day was the Atlantic Hotel on Dane Road, Newquay. The Beatles had intended to stay for just one night, but eventually decided to use it as a base for three nights. They slept in four holiday flats.



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 11, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The filming of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour was mostly done in two week-long periods. The first began on this day.

It was traditional for pop package tours, involving several bands, to begin at London's Allsop Place, near to Baker Street underground station. Paul McCartney decided that the mystery trip should start at the same location at 10.45am.

The coach, however, was still being decorated with the Magical Mystery Tour lettering and colours. The passengers - included family, friends, fan club staff, actors and other selected travellers - were made to wait two hours for its arrival.

While waiting, McCartney went to the London Transport café above Baker Street station, where he bought a cup of tea and signed autographs. He then went to Soho with Mal Evans to purchase appropriate uniforms for the driver and courier.

As the coach left London on the A30, Neil Aspinall gave each person a £5 note to cover their meals for the week. There were 43 people on the coach, including the group and the film technicians. John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were picked up in Virginia Water, Surrey, close to their homes.

Filming began soon after, with scenes improvised on the coach and during a lunch break at the Pied Piper restaurant in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Late in the evening the coach arrived at its first destination, the Royal Hotel at The Den, Teignmouth, Devon, where the entire party spent the night.

The Beatles arrived at the hotel in a car, having swapped vehicles just outside the town in a bid to remain incognito. Nevertheless, they were greeted by 400 local teenagers, who had discovered their supposedly secret plans and waited in the rain to catch a glimpse of the stars.

At the hotel McCartney gave an impromptu press conference, where he gave an outline of The Beatles' plans for the film. He and Neil Aspinall then sorted out room arrangements for the coach party, before discussing the next day's shooting with Lennon and technical director Peter Theobalds.

The Royal Hotel in Teignmouth was later remodelled as the Royal Court apartments.