Paperback Writer (Version 4 - Colour)

Promotional film • For The Beatles • Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Timeline This film has been released in 1966
Release date:
Jun 09, 1966
Filming date:
May 20, 1966
Filming location:
Chiswick House, London, UK

Related song

Related films

Paperback Writer (Version 1 - Colour)

1966 • For The Beatles • Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Paperback Writer (Version 2 - Black & White)

1966 • For The Beatles • Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Paperback Writer (Version 3 - Black & White)

1966 • For The Beatles • Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

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In May 1966, The Beatles were unwilling to appear on television to promote their upcoming new single, “Paperback Writer / Rain.” Instead, they took part in a two-day shoot, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and produced by Tony Bramwell, which resulted in seven promotional films for the two songs.

On the first day, May 19, 1966, The Beatles filmed colour versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” at EMI Studios, Studio One, in Abbey Road, for the Ed Sullivan Show in the US and black & white versions for UK television.

On the second day, May 20, 1966, The Beatles and the film crew relocated to Chiswick House, where they used the lawns, trees, statues, and greenhouses of the vast gardens as settings to film additional versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer.”

Although both versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” were captured on film and in colour, they were broadcast on UK television in black & white.

We walked around the corner and saw George Harrison sitting on one of the empty plinths, cross-legged and holding his guitar. Then we saw the others and the cameras. We ran back to the school to tell everyone. By about 3pm most of the school had come over to the park to watch. As the Beatles left to go to the Italian Garden to film some more, most of the girls mobbed Paul and George.

I asked John if we could “nick some of your gear” (meaning the amps and guitars). John replied, “fine, if you think you can get away with it.” It was a red letter day for us Beatles fans.

Sandy Loewenthal was in the 5th form at Chiswick Grammar School – From oih (

Somehow, one schoolgirl got through the security net. You can imagine how thrilled she was. It was quite touching. The Beatles were so friendly towards her and behaved like perfect gentlemen.

Robert Whitaker – Photograph – From “The Beatles: Off The Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

I was 14 and The Beatles were making a film for ‘Paperback Writer’ in Chiswick House, London, opposite my school. The gates were locked, but I climbed over a wall and there they were. My legs turned to jelly but they were so friendly. John asked what I was doing for my O-levels and Ringo offered me his fish and chips. I was in a daze and the other girls didn’t believe me until they saw the photo.

Anne Welburn – Schoolgirl – From “The Beatles: Off The Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

John saw me and called me over and asked me if I was at school, which was obvious I suppose. He asked me what I wanted to take for ‘O’ levels! He said he liked art and I did too. Paul and Ringo came over. Paul said “Hiya”. I was amazed how normal they were.

As we entered the Conservatory, George asked would I like to stay and watch them play for a bit? He and John settled me in the corner of the room and they played…… you know I’m not sure what, maybe Paperback Writer or Rain…. I was on another planet!

Ringo said he was hungry and they sent out for food. He sat in the back of the car with fish and chips and asked me if I would like some….I couldn’t eat!

Before they went …they asked if I needed a lift home! I had the best memory of that day!

Anne Welburn – Schoolgirl – From oih (

The Beatles came out of the Conservatory right in front of us! I was gobsmacked and we walked through the gardens with them towards John’s mini (a Radford conversion with blacked out windows ) and I got his autograph! I was 17 and in the lower sixth science form. Most of the school bunked off, but I was so conscientious that I returned to school for the afternoon lessons and went on to become a scientist and now jazz pianist!

Nigel Fox – Schoolboy – From oih (

It was very exciting. Quite an exceptional thing – the band were at the height of their fame. Just making films was unusual and most films were made in studios, not outside like this. They got there early in the morning and spent all day doing phrases and retakes as the technology was not so sophisticated in those days.

I remember they spent a lot of time between takes in the old 50’s caff. They all smoked constantly and looked very at home. Although other members of the public came in and were around when the filming took place they were very polite and left the band alone.

But then the word got out, so the dribble of people visiting the park became a flood. Pupils from the school over the road came, so the band took refuge in the potting sheds at the back of the Conservatory where the peacocks were kept.

My fondest memory is of John Lennon asking if he could ride my bike – it was a Moulton – then a modern bicycle and he had never ridden on one before. The other three stood watching and ribbing him as he cycled around the walled garden.

John Kenton was an 18 year old gardener, working at Chiswick House in 1966. He was given the job of ferrying the band’s equipment round all day on a truck usually used for moving earth. From Gardener’s tales of Beatles filming at Chiswick House gardens 50 years ago – Kitchen Garden

VersionFilmedColor or B&W?DescriptionBroadcast
Version 1May 19, 1966ColourThe Beatles are seated in this version and are wearing coloured sunglasses. John and Paul are without jackets.
This version was included in the three-disc versions of the compilation “1+”, released in 2015.
June 5, 1966, in “The Ed Sullivan Show“, in the US
Version 2May 19, 1966Black & whiteTake 1 N&B.
The Beatles are seated, only John Lennon is wearing sunglasses and his jacket.
June 25, 1966, in “Thank Your Lucky Stars“, in the UK
Version 3May 19, 1966Black & whiteTakes 2 N&B and 3 N&B were edited together. A take 4 was unused.
The Beatles are standing.
June 3, 1966, in “Ready Steady Go“, in the UK
Version 4May 20, 1966ColourThe Beatles are filmed at Chiswick House.
This version was included in the three-disc versions of the compilation “1+”, released in 2015.
June 2, 1966, in “Top Of The Pops“, in the UK (in black & white)
“Paperback Writer” promo films

From the liner notes of The Beatles’ 1+ Video Collection, 2015:

Michael Lindsay-Hogg, an Anglo-American director who had worked on Ready Steady Go! was asked by Epstein’s management company NEMS to meet with The Beatles with a view to directing a promo film for both ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’, the B-side of the single. He went along to Abbey Road and talked about his concept for the A-side: “A story video about someone working in a newspaper office who in his spare time was trying to write a paperback novel.” All four Beatles agreed that this could work and Lindsay-Hogg went away to develop the idea.

A few days later Vyvienne Moynihan, who worked for NEMS, called Lindsay-Hogg to that Brian Epstein had decided he didn’t want anything “unusual” for the film; Epstein just wanted to see The Beatles performing the song.

Lindsay-Hogg shot promos for both sides of the single in the studio on 19 May 1966 and the following day the location was switched to Chiswick House, an 18th century Palladian mansion in Burlington Lane, West London. Filming took place in its beautiful grounds, which are among the earliest examples of the English Landscape School, with shots of the band wandering around and sitting mixed with sequences of them performing. Lindsay-Hogg had to work fast on the edit: three days later it would be shown on BBC TV’s Top of the Pops and although the promo was shot in colour, the TV broadcast was in black and white.

From The Beatles 1966 Chiswick House | Beatles Archive – John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney at Chiswick House, London during a photo shoot for Paperback Writer on 20th May 1966, by Robert Whitaker.
From Beatles Tours London on Twitter : With their manager, Chiswick House, May 1966 #TheBeatles #BrianEpstein #chiswickhouse #sixties #1960s #beatleslondon
From Recording music videos for Paperback Writer and Rain at London’s Chiswick House – The Beatles History (
From Recording music videos for Paperback Writer and Rain at London’s Chiswick House – The Beatles History (
From Recording music videos for Paperback Writer and Rain at London’s Chiswick House – The Beatles History ( – Photo by Robert Whitaker
From Recording music videos for Paperback Writer and Rain at London’s Chiswick House – The Beatles History (
From Recording music videos for Paperback Writer and Rain at London’s Chiswick House – The Beatles History (

The invasion of a stately home

Like Woburn Abbey or Hampton Court, Chiswick House is open to the public. My reason for going was not to stare at the priceless art treasures, which once belonged to the Duke of Devonshire in the sixteenth century, or to stroll through the beautiful grounds, which are just as famous as the house, but, quite simply, the BEATLES.

John, Paul, George and Ringo were filming inserts for British and American T.V. to coincide with the release of “Paperback Writer”, and not since Queen Victoria had there been such celebrated guests at Chiswick House. Never had the finely-mowed lawns been trodden on by such expensive property since the days of velveteen breeches and buckled shoes.

Not being a V.I.P. I had to leave my car outside the gates, but I noticed a certain Rolls Royce, Mini and Austin Princess (all with blacked-out windows) standing in the drive as I approached the house.

“Where, in these massive grounds”, I thought, “am I going to find J, P, G & R.” I must have looked rather lost, because two workmen who were standing on the roof of the house yelled out — “they’re over there”, pointing to a mass of trees. So I followed my nose down a narrow path, bumped into an old man on a bicycle who said “follow the path round”, and finally found myself amongst half-a-dozen camera-men. But no sign of the Beatles.

The affable Vyvienne Moynihan (who runs the Saville Theatre for Brian Epstein) approached me in her inevitable jolly manner and said “the boys are in here”, ushering me through a secret door in the massive stone wall, which led into one of the private gardens — and there sat John, Paul, George and Ringo (on chairs) trying to catch a rare bit of sun.

I couldn’t have timed it better, because Neil and Mal had just brought in a tray of tea and “sarni’s”. “Sit down”, said Paul, pulling up a chair, “would you like a cup of tea?”.

John was clad in green velvet trousers, polo-necked sweater and navy jacket. Paul wore a black jacket and trousers with a beige polo neck and added a touch of suaveness by wearing a pink flower in his buttonhole. Ringo sported a black and navy striped suit with a black polo neck, whilst George favoured a green jacket with green cord trousers and a beige cashmere shirt — all wore metal specs with different coloured lenses.

After chatting about the weather, Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys and Eleanor Rigby (she is a lady who you will be hearing about on the new Beatles L.P.), Brian Epstein appeared looking lightly tanned as he’d just flown in from Spain to say hello to the boys before flying back the following morning — which, to say the least, was a rather expensive hello!

Cries of “the guvnor’s arrived” was interrupted by the voice of Alf (who today was acting as a portable canteen) who said “they’re ready for you in the conservatory”. So off we marched to the conservatory — at least John and Paul did, in typical army-style plus the salute with heads to the side and bottoms out.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg, famed director of R.S.G. and never without a cigar in his mouth, had everything set up in the public gardens outside the conservatory.

Meanwhile a small crowd of schoolboys had accumulated plus a handful of girls who worked in the grounds.

“Okay, shoot”, said Michael. “Camera on Ringo. Look at me Ringo, hold it there. Now on to George. Keep looking at me George.

John lean forward, but keep looking at me. Hold it there. Sit back now John. Good. Over to Paul. Hold it there. Cut. Let’s try it once more.”

“You see”, said Vyvienne, coming over to me, “we’re fighting against light. The way things are going at the moment, I hope we’ll be finished by six, otherwise it’ll mean another day’s shooting. And the boys have been so good. Poor darlings they haven’t had any lunch yet, but I told them they could break at three.”

“The poor darlings” didn’t look at all faint from the lack of nourishment to me, in fact, I’ve never seen them looking so well. After signing a few autographs, it was back to the main public park via the miaowing peacocks and through the private garden.

Of course, the boys had their usual followers — babies in prams and ageing folk in bath chairs plus half-a-dozen dogs scrambling on the lawns!

“Let’s go for lunch”, said John. “If we don’t leave now, it’ll be cold. You did order it for 3 o’clock didn’t you Neil ?”

Lunch had been ordered at Twickenham Film Studios which wasn’t more than half-an-hour away. Michael Lindsay-Hogg began to panic when he realised that by the time they got there and back and ate lunch, they’d be a couple of hours. “You see boys”, he said, “it’s the light and it’s not going to hold out for much longer”.

“Oh the light”, said Ringo. “Can’t you go down there and bring the food back Alf?”

“It’ll be cold”, said George. “But, you can go and get us some pies.”

“Or fish and chips”, said Paul.

“Yes, that’s an idea”, chirped in Ringo.

“Do you think there’s anywhere that’s open round here ?”

“I’ll see what I can do”, said Alf.

The boys casually placed themselves on the grass and Michael was ready to shoot again — this time they were individual shots. First of all it was all cameras on George who was peering round a huge stone statue which vaguely resembled Venus de Milo, but only because it was minus an arm. John was too lazy to move, so he stayed sprawled out on the grass. Paul was given a small box to perch on plus another box to put his feet on. While this was going on Ringo had been plucking daisies and placing them in the links of his identity bracelet — the reason being that when the cameras moved in on Ringo, he just sat crossed-legged pulling each daisy out one by one.

Up until now all the camera shots had been mute and now they were ready for the boys to mime to “Paperback Writer”. With guitars in hand and Ringo leaning against a stone pillar they mimed their new single to a crowd of schoolgirls and boys which had grown considerably since the last count. Just as they’d finished shooting Alf arrived with the lunch which he’d brought over from Twickenham Studios — hot. Because of the crowd of fans that had already gathered, lunch was served in the back of the Austin Princess and consisted of chops, new potatoes, peas, cauliflower (with the exception of Paul who had cold meat and salad) and a bottle of red wine with rice pudding to follow.

Meanwhile some schoolboys came over to inform me that at 4 o’clock the two schools opposite would probably make a mass exodus over to the park, as word had got round that the Beatles were filming.

As soon as I told J, P, G & R they left their rice puddings and hurried over to the beech tree to continue shooting. Whilst John, Paul and George were being arranged on the branches of the tree and Ringo was being placed on top of a stone pillar large numbers of fans started to arrive.

Of course, the inevitable happened when everyone “downed tools” to make their way back to the garden — the crowd of onlookers broke loose, and it was everyone for themselves, at least it was for J, P, G & R, and as usual they managed to come to no harm with the help of Mal, Neil, Alf and Press Officer Tony Barrow.

After seeing them safely re-installed in the “other” garden, I bid my farewells and made for the door in the wall.

From The Beatles Monthly Book – July 1966
From Melody Maker – May 28, 1966
From Record Mirror – May 28, 1966
From Fabulous208 – May 13, 1967

Last updated on October 25, 2023

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