The Beatles made their debut on the television show Val Parnell’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium on 13 October 1963. Three months later they made their return.
The difference in The Beatles’ profile between then and now was huge, illustrated not least by their fee having gone from £250 to £1,000. The show was made by Associated TeleVision (ATV), and invariably attracted huge viewing figures.
Much of the day was spent in rehearsals at the Palladium, with The Beatles topping the bill during the live show, which was broadcast from 8.25pm to 9.25. The group took part in a short skit with compère Bruce Forsyth, and closed the show with a five-song set.
The songs performed were ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘This Boy’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ and ‘Twist And Shout’.
Also on the bill were singer Alma Cogan and comedian Dave Allen. The Beatles joined them and Forsyth on a revolving carousel at the end of the show where they waved goodbye to the tune of Startime.
This was the first time The Beatles met Alma Cogan. After the show she invited them back to her flat at 44 Kensington High Street, which she shared with her mother and younger sister. The Beatles, used to making a quick exit from venues, arrived before Cogan, who was busy getting changed in her dressing room back at the Palladium.
Also on this day...
- 2021: Mary McCartney to direct Abbey Road Studios documentary
- 2010: Cast list announced for Robert Zemeckis’ Yellow Submarine remake
- 2010: Album release: Y Not by Ringo Starr
- 1981: US single release: Woman by John Lennon
- 1969: The Beatles meet at Ringo Starr’s house
- 1968: Recording: The Inner Light, Wonderwall Music
- 1967: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
- 1967: Joe Orton is asked to write a film script for The Beatles
- 1966: John Lennon and Ringo Starr holiday in Trinidad
- 1965: Live: Another Beatles Christmas Show
- 1963: Live: Invicta Ballroom, Chatham
- 1962: Live: Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, Wallasey
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
An extract from my book “Diary of a Musician”
Sunday 12th January 1964
The Beatles appeared for the second time on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and for the first time ever George Harrison was playing a Gretsch Tennessean Guitar like the one I had bought a week ago. I was rather chuffed.
Once again the opening of the show was different. Instead of the Tiller girls the curtains opened and in the dimmed lighting could be seen the outline of four people, three who seemed to be holding guitars. The audience thought is was the Beatles and went ballistic, the screams were deafening. The lights came up and there was Bruce Forsyth and three guys dressed as stage hands with brooms in their hands sweeping the stage.
Years later Bruce Forsyth would tell me the story of how they had wanted to do something different with the Beatles on that particular show, and their manager Brian Epstein had invited him to one of their Christmas dates. Bruce couldn’t believe the volume of the girls screaming, so they came up with the idea of doing a sort of interview with no speaking. Bruce and the Beatles talked to each other, holding up cards with the words on them. It culminated with the four Beatles each holding up a card telling Bruce to “GET OFF YOU NIT”.