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December 1966

The Beatles consider a TV special to promote their next album

Last updated on September 27, 2023

On November 24, 1966, The Beatles entered EMI Studios at Abbey Road to record their next single and album. According to a New Musical Express article published on December 31, 1966, The Beatles were considering filming a TV special using songs from their upcoming album.

In February 1967, NEMS Enterprises filmed the orchestra overdubs for “A Day in the Life” for use in the planned television special. However, the BBC banned “A Day in the Life” due to perceived drug references, so the film was never released and the idea for a TV special didn’t materialize.

The idea of making a TV special would resurface a few months later, in April 1967, when Paul McCartney got the idea for a “Magical Mystery Tour”.

The whole idea of making films is good or a good one I like. But I don’t mean some very big expensive films, but films that you just make because you fancy making a film. But the only thing is that, having got the kind of image that we’ve got, if any of us wanted to do anything like that, we would tend to get beaten down because people say “oh look, he’s not trying that old trick of making a film” or “he’s not going classical”… But the only thing is that I thought exactly like that about people who did that too. I always used to think “there he goes in the same old path they all go, all round entertainers”. But it’s just that you find that there are some things which are just as interesting as what you’ve been doing for a certain amount of time.

Paul McCartney – Interview for BBC Radio’s Pop Profile, May 1966

What about television this year?

Too early still to answer a general question like that. There is this idea of making our own programme using songs from the next LP. You know how important good sound quality is to us and it’s not easy to get the best sound balance on most telly shows. We’ll have to see what happens. But we would like to do a big telly. It’s the best way of showing the new LP numbers to people in different parts of the world at more or less the same moment in time.

Paul McCartney – Interview with The Beatles Monthly Book, February 1967

Last month I asked you about television and you, Paul, said The Beatles would like to do your own programme. Any more details on that yet?

Well, you see, it’s going to be a whole show built around the next LP which we haven’t quite finished. So we haven’t finished the TV programme either. A couple of weeks ago we had some cameramen in the recording studio while we were working on one of the LP tracks. If it fits in O.K. that will be one bit of the TV programme.

Paul McCartney – Interview with The Beatles Monthly Book, March 1967

Before we start the [3rd Beatles film] anyway, we want to do this television show. There’s so much rubbish on television that it shouldn’t be difficult to produce a good show. But, here again, we want to do it our way, to put our ideas into the show. We’ve tried using other people’s ideas and so often they’re all wrong, so the only answer is to do it ourselves.

Paul McCartney – Interview for The Beatles Monthly Book, May 1967


THE Beatles are likely to film their own TV spectacular soon, featuring the tracks from their next LP which is nearing completion. One track lasting more than four minutes is being considered for their next single. The Beatles’ film plans are now taking shape.

The Beatles have resumed marathon recording sessions following the Christmas holidays. They are completing sufficient tracks for the single and the next album.

The LP will probably not be issued until March, but Brian Epstein revealed this week that the Beatles are already considering a plan to make a TV show built round the new songs — for network screening soon after release.

Epstein also disclosed that two already-recorded songs are strongly favoured for the next single to be issued at the end of January. The four-minute track is the longest-ever waxed by the Beatles.

“But they won’t take a decision until they have recorded everything they have to do. We should know by next week,” Epstein added. Although the first draft of the script for the Beatles’ next film has not met with their immediate approval, they are going ahead with writer Owen Holder and producer Walter Shenson on improvements, and Epstein said that production would begin “in the first half of 1967.”

Meanwhile, negotiations for a film part for Ringo — first revealed in the NME on November 26 — are definitely in progress.

From New Musical Express – December 31, 1966
From New Musical Express – December 31, 1966

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

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