Television: Around The Beatles

The Beatles recorded the television special Around The Beatles between 9pm and 10.15pm, at Studio 5AB at Rediffusion’s Wembley Studios, London.

The group arrived at the studios at 11am to take part in final rehearsals, although during the day they also gave interviews to Swedish radio, speaking to visiting host Klas Burling.

The Beatles in Around The Beatles, 28 April 1964

The hour-long show featured, along with The Beatles, PJ Proby, the Vernons Girls, Long John Baldry, Millie, The Jets, and NEMS artists Cilla Black and Sounds Incorporated. It was first broadcast in the UK on the ITV network on 6 May from 9.45pm, and in the US by ABC on 15 November.

The Beatles took part in two segments in the show: a musical set and a spoof of Act V Scene I of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison also mimed a trumpet fanfare at the start of the show, before Ringo Starr appeared with a flag to set off a cannon ball. The group also introduced PJ Proby’s performance.

For the Shakespeare spoof, Lennon took the female role of Thisbe, McCartney played Pyramus, Harrison was Moonshine and Starr played Lion. Incidentally, McCartney later owned a cat he named Thisbe.

The songs performed by The Beatles in the show were Twist And Shout, Roll Over Beethoven, I Wanna Be Your Man, Long Tall Sally and Can’t Buy Me Love, as well as a special medley of their earlier hits – Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand – and finally a version of The Isley Brothers’ 1959 song Shout.

The music had been pre-recorded at London’s IBC Studios on 19 April 1964, and The Beatles mimed during the show.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

8 responses on “Television: Around The Beatles

  1. Matt

    Their performances of I Wanna Be Your Man, Long Tall Sally and Shout were included on Anthology along with Boys but you haven’t included Boys on your list.

    Also, do you know why the other songs weren’t included on Anthology? I really wish I could listen to that medley.

    1. Joe Post author

      A new version of Boys was recorded for the show, but it wasn’t included in the final cut. I don’t even know if they mimed to it in the show. As the article states, the songs were non-EMI versions recorded nine days earlier.

      I don’t know why the other songs weren’t in Anthology. Certainly the show is one of the performances that really should be issued in full on DVD. The version of Shout, by the way, had around a minute edited from it when it appeared on Anthology 1 – I don’t know why; put it down to Apple’s infinite wisdom.

  2. Max

    The Shakespeare thing is on a DVD I own. It’s downright hilarious. John Lennon does this insanely low voice even though he was the female. Rngo says his lines as The Lion and then says “If I was really a Lion, i wouldn’t be making the amount OF MONEY I’m making today, would I?” or something like that. It’s pretty hysterical.

  3. Ursula

    Hi,
    I was at that show…it was amazing.
    The tickets were free and were given to teenagers that were born on the chosen date. A raffle was held on the pop show…Ready Steady Go and if your birthday was picked you had the chance to win 3 tickets…one for you and two for your special friends.
    It was great!

    1. sue m

      I was also at the show – but we went to the rehearsal. We lied about our date of birth to get a ticket and travelled up from the south coast for the show. I can’t really remember much about it – it was so long ago.

      1. Ursula

        I lied about my date of birth too. But because I wanted more tickets I went even further and said that I was a twin. The television company sent me SIX tickets!
        I remember everything about the show, it was amazing!

  4. Duncan Massey

    I’m puzzled as to how the Shakespeare skit has turned up on the interweb IN COLOUR. Has someone colourised it at some point a la All You Need is Love on the Anthology? Or was it originally filmed in colour? Surely not……? I would love to be enlightened!

Leave a reply