Interview for ITN • Thursday, December 29, 1966

Interview for Reporting '66

TV interview • Interview of The Beatles • Recorded Dec 20, 1966
Published by:
Interview by:
John Edwards
Timeline More from year 1966

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While it’s now common for top groups to go several years between new albums, in 1966 a lapse of even a few months without releasing new material was cause for concern. With no product out for Christmas, solo projects in the works, and no indication of future tours, speculation was prevalent that the Beatles might be finished.

ITV News put together a remarkably incoherent package on the topic for Reporting ’66, stringing together archival footage of the group, sprinkled with comments from people such as Richard Lester, but with no narration or editorial point of view. The payoff comes at the end of the show with exclusive interviews of each Beatle, conducted by John Edwards on the front steps of EMI Abbey Road Studios as the group arrived for a 7 p.m. session.

First to arrive is John, carrying an armload of LPs. He says that while they may focus on individual efforts in 1967, they all get along fine and will continue working as a group. He reveals that he wouldn’t have accepted the role in How I Won the War had the other Beatles been unhappy about it, but that none of them are really interested in film careers. Although he thinks tours are no longer in the cards, John says he and Paul will continue writing songs “forever.”

As darkness falls, Paul shows up with Mal Evans and goes into greater detail about why concerts have become so frustrating. Not only has their live performance ability sunk to an all-time low, but they realize nobody is really listening anyway. George arrives in a fur coat and rushes up the steps, uninterested in answering any questions about a Beatles split, apart from a fleeting “no.”

Ringo is the last to arrive, accompanied by Neil Aspinall, and chats the longest. He explains that they don’t want to simply repeat past successes, and that if they can’t find a decent script for the next Beatles film, they may pursue separate projects until they have a reason to work together again. Since John and Paul write songs during their time off and George studies the sitar, Ringo contemplates making a film on his own. He denies several times that he is bored or fed up with being a Beatle, and after wishing the viewers a Merry Christmas, signs a few autographs for waiting fans before joining his mates in the studio.


Much of this new footage was used in documentaries such as Anthology, The Making of Sgt. Pepper, and It Was Twenty Years Ago Today. The complete Reporting ’66 also circulates in good quality among video collectors. A small portion of Ringo’s interview was bootlegged on the CD The Ultimate Beatles Christmas Collection.

Winn, John C.. That Magic Feeling: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966-1970 (p. 74). Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed. Kindle Edition.

Last updated on September 23, 2023

Going further

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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