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The Beatles live: Embassy Cinema, Peterborough

Brian Epstein had managed to get The Beatles onto the bill of Frank Ifield’s two shows on this night at the Embassy Theatre in Peterborough, Northamptonshire. Unfortunately for all, however, they were not well received by the crowds.

The Beatles were the first act on stage. The other acts, who were better received, were Susan Cope, Tommy Wallis and Beryl, The Lana Sisters, The Ted Taylor Four, and Frank Ifield. The compère was Joe Black.

The Beatles had been steadily growing their reputation throughout 1962, particularly in the north of England, and the experience taught them that not everyone had yet come under their spell.

The experience wasn’t wholly negative, though. The Beatles found The Ted Taylor Four’s pancake stage make-up in a dressing room, and were taught how to use it by the group’s leader.

Ted Taylor first told us how use make-up. We were playing the Embassy Cinema at Peterborough late that year, very low on the bill to Frank Ifield and below The Ted Taylor Four as well. Ted had a funny little synth on the end of his piano on which he could play tunes like Sooty. He would use it for Telstar – the audience went wild to hear his synth sound. It was Ted that said, ‘You looked a little pale out there, lads. You should use make-up.’ We asked him how. He said, ‘There’s this pancake stuff, Leichner 27. You can get it from the chemist. Take a little pad and rub it on; it gives you a tan. And put a black line around your eyes and lips.’ We said, ‘That’s a bit dodgy, isn’t it?’ He said, ‘Believe me, they will never see it, and you’ll look good.’

Right afterwards we were being photographed for a poster for Blackpool. They had been bootlegging posters, which meant we were obviously getting quite popular, and the poster company said we should do an official one. So they did four squares – one of us in. each square. And you can see the black line around our. eyes. We never lived it down!

This was The Beatles’ first of two appearances at the Embassy Cinema in Peterborough, Northamptonshire; the second was on the Tommy Roe/Chris Montez tour on 17 March 1963.

Last updated: 25 January 2024
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