“Magical Mystery Tour” broadcast in color on BBC 2

Friday, January 5, 1968

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Magical Mystery Tour (TV Special)

1967 • For The Beatles • Directed by The Beatles

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On December 26, 1967, the British television channel BBC1 aired “Magical Mystery Tour” for the first time. However, the initial broadcast was in black and white, and it was met with harsh criticism from both viewers and critics, marking the first major failure for The Beatles.

Despite the negative reviews, BBC2 broadcast “Magical Mystery Tour” in color on January 5, 1968.

From The Guardian – January 5, 1968

Beatle reply to TV film critics

Mr. Paul McCartney yesterday answered press criticism of the Beatles’ first television film. Magical Mystery Tour, shown on B.B.C. 1 the night before. “We tried to present something different for the viewers, but according to the newspapers it did not come off”, he said.

They were not discouraged, and would probably make a feature film.

They had decided against “a Christmassy show with lots of phoney tinsel”, he said. “We thought we would not underestimate people and would do something new. It is better being controversial than purely boring.

Those who criticized the film had expected a plot, whereas it was a fantasy, a tour in which anything could happen. There was not meant to be any good reason for what happened.

Beatles’ Fan Club members had thought it “a lovely film”. The Beatles had not regarded it as “too far out”. Possibly the magical aspect had not been sufficiently emphasized.

The response to the film was “a pity”, but lessons had been learnt. If the plot this time had been “very thin”, any future film would have a “very thick” plot.

Nems Enterprises said: “Magical Mystery Tour is being accepted all over the world as an important and successful experimental film.

The B.B.C. said last night that it was considering devoting pan of the next Talkback programme to a discussion by viewers of the Beatles film. The repeat in colour on January 5 on B.B.C. 2 would go ahead. “There is no reason to change our plans.

The film cost the B.B.C. a little under £10,000 and attracted an estimated 20 million viewers, possibly the highest total for any programme in the holiday period on any channel.

Henry Raynor wrote of the film in later editions of The Times yesterday: “Realities arc annihilated by cinematic devices, few of which seem particularly new, and a sort of well-meaning, good-humoured anarchy prevails.

From The Times – December 28, 1967
From The Times – December 28, 1967

Last updated on May 2, 2024

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