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Television: The 625 Show – The Beatles’ first national TV appearance

Although they had by this time made 11 appearances on regional and independent television programmes in Britain, this was The Beatles’ debut on the BBC, giving them a nationwide audience for the first time.

They appeared on the corporation’s The 625 Show, which featured “up and coming young talent”, to perform three songs. Also on the show, introduced by compere Jimmy Young, were singers Rolf and Tino, Bobbi Carrol, Hank Locklin, guitarist Wout Steenhuis, a four-piece classical ensemble, pianist Johny Pearson and conductor Edwin Braben.

The show was recorded at the BBC’s Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd’s Bush, west London. The Beatles arrived for a band call between 10.30am and 11.30am. From 11.30am-1pm there was a rehearsal in front of the cameras, and again between 2.15pm and 3.45pm. A final rehearsal took place between 4.30pm and 6pm.

The recording itself took place from 7.30-8.15pm. The Beatles performed ‘From Me To You’, ‘Thank You Girl’ and ‘Please Please Me’. The last song closed the show, and for it the group was joined by the other guests on stage.

The BBC’s Lime Grove Studios were built in 1914 as a film studio complex. The BBC bought the building in November 1949, where it remained in use as a television studio until 1991. In 1994 the building was demolished and the land turned into residential flats.

Following The Beatles’ appearance on The 625 Show they attended a party held by The Shadows’ guitarist Bruce Welch in his home in North Harrow, London. There, they met Cliff Richard for the first time. The pop press considered the event to be a significant encounter between rivals; however, it is believed that the two groups had considerable respect for one another.

This edition of The 625 Show was broadcast three days later, on 16 April 1963.

Last updated: 2 June 2020
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