The Beatles made their most important television appearance to date, with a place on the bill for the popular show Thank Your Lucky Stars.
The group’s performance was recorded on this day at the Alpha Television Studios – later known as the ATV Studios – in Aston, Birmingham.
The programme was made by ABC Television for the ITV network. ABC supplied programmes for the Midlands and the north of England; the Alpha Studios were jointly owned by ABC and ATV, which could be seen in the Midlands during the week and in London at weekends.
Thank Your Lucky Stars was ITV’s answer to the BBC’s Juke Box Jury. It started in April 1961 and featured many top music performers of the day. Musicians typically mimed in front of a live studio audience seated in the former circle of the converted cinema.
The Beatles were at the bottom of a seven-act bill. They performed just one song, Please Please Me. The group’s performance was broadcast on Saturday 19 January, at the close of the programme’s first half prior to the commercial break.
Thank Your Lucky Stars was a hugely popular programme at the time, and it was a major coup for The Beatles to be appearing. Their presence was secured by Dick James, the former singer turned impresario who later garnered a huge fortune after becoming The Beatles’ publisher.