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Radio audition: BBC Broadcasting House, Manchester

Since taking over management of The Beatles, Brian Epstein had his sights set further afield from shows in the clubs of Liverpool. He wanted the group to perform in more reputable ballrooms and theatres, to appear on television and radio, and to secure a recording contract.

On 10 January 1962 he visited the BBC’s Manchester headquarters to complete a three-page “Application For An Audition By Variety Department”. The hope was that he could get The Beatles an audition before radio producers, who would then call on them to perform on their shows.

Epstein’s application was approved, and The Beatles travelled to the Playhouse Theatre in Hulme, Manchester, on 12 February 1962 to play before Peter Pilbeam, a producer for radio shows aimed at teenagers, made in the north-west of England but broadcast throughout the nation.

The Beatles played four songs: ‘Like Dreamers Do’, ‘Till There Was You’, ‘Memphis, Tennessee’ and ‘Hello Little Girl’. The first two were sung by Paul McCartney, with John Lennon taking vocals on the latter two.

Pilbeam’s brief assessment of the group, written on the back of Epstein’s application, included a “No” for McCartney and a “Yes” for Lennon. His overall view of The Beatles was: “An unusual group, not as ‘Rocky’ as most, more C&W with a tendency to play music”.

Crucially, however, his assessment included the words: “Yes. Booked for TT’s 7 March 1962.” TT’s was Teenager’s Turn, which was recorded on 7 March at the Playhouse Theatre. A contract for their appearance was issued by the BBC on 20 February.

Last updated: 25 August 2023
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Latest Comments

  1. John Tomlinson Saturday 25 May 2019
    • Joe Saturday 8 June 2019
  2. Gary Hudson Monday 23 November 2020
  3. John Pilbeam Friday 25 August 2023
    • Joe Friday 25 August 2023
  4. Bill Saturday 26 August 2023

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