Television audition: St James’s Church Hall, London

This 10-minute lunchtime performance was an audition before a panel of BBC television producers to assess The Beatles’ talents as a group.

It meant that they were unable to perform their scheduled show at the Cavern Club, which was taken instead by The Remo Four. The Beatles swapped dates with the other band, playing instead at the Cavern on 21 November 1962.

The BBC audition came about after a fan, David John Smith from Preston, wrote to the corporation asking for The Beatles to appear on a show. Falsely assuming that Smith was their manager, the BBC replied offering the group an audition in London on 6 November.

Smith forwarded the letter to NEMS Enterprises. The Beatles were in Hamburg on 6 November, so Clive Epstein, acting on behalf of his brother Brian, rescheduled the audition for this date.

The audition was evidently not a success. Four days afterwards, Brian Epstein received a letter from Ronnie Lane, the BBC’s Light Entertainment Auditioner. The Beatles didn’t make their BBC television debut until 13 April 1963.

Following the audition, The Beatles hurried back to Liverpool for a show at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, Wallasey.

St James’s Church Hall, at 8-12 Gloucester Terrace in central London, opened in 1958 and was used by the BBC for television auditions and rehearsals. The hall was demolished in 2001 and apartment blocks were built on the site.

Last updated: 30 October 2012
The Beatles live: Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead
The Beatles live: Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, Wallasey
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