1 9 6 5 (UK)
1 x 55 minute episode
Granada Television producer Johnnie Hamp rounded off 1965 with the biggest musical showcase when he enticed The Beatles into making The Music Of Lennon & McCartney, which Granada sold around the world.
Broadcast on 17 December and hosted (awkwardly) by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, the band members themselves only appeared in parts of the programme, leaving the interpretation of their songs largely to Cilla Black, Lulu, Peter & Gordon, Marianne Faithfull, Esther Phillips and Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas, with Henry Mancini flying in to give a piano rendition of If I Fell.
The group did perform two numbers, Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out, the latter featuring John Lennon at a harmonium that had been dragged out of the Granada storeroom and was usually played by Ena Sharples in Coronation Street.
The show is probably best remembered for actor Peter Sellers’ recited version of A Hard Day’s Night, performed in the character of Shakespeare’s Richard III (as depicted in film by Laurence Olivier).
Having heard the Sellers recording, Johnnie Hamp decided he wanted him on the show but didn’t think he would oblige: “He was a superstar at that time and I really didn’t think that he would do it. I rang him at home. We were weeks off production, and he said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it next Tuesday. I can’t do it later because I’m off to Hollywood.’”
Hamp quickly booked three hours in a London studio, and four days later, Sellers turned up with his own make-up guy and Shakespearean costume. It proved to be a difficult, if hilarious, session. Being far too tricky to mime, the piece had to be re-recorded over a backing track and Sellers could not remember the words. He took ten takes to get it.
Filming of the rest of the special took place at Granada’s studios in Manchester on 1 – 2 November 1965.
The Music of Lennon & McCartney was not aired again until 30 December 1985 when it was shown on Channel 4 as part of an evening of programmes recognising 30 years of Granada Television.
Peter & Gordon
Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas
The Pamela Devis Dancers