Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The filming of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour was mostly done in two week-long periods. The first began on this day.

It was traditional for pop package tours, involving several bands, to begin at London's Allsop Place, near to Baker Street underground station. Paul McCartney decided that the mystery trip should start at the same location at 10.45am.

The coach, however, was still being decorated with the Magical Mystery Tour lettering and colours. The passengers - included family, friends, fan club staff, actors and other selected travellers - were made to wait two hours for its arrival.

While waiting, McCartney went to the London Transport café above Baker Street station, where he bought a cup of tea and signed autographs. He then went to Soho with Mal Evans to purchase appropriate uniforms for the driver and courier.

As the coach left London on the A30, Neil Aspinall gave each person a £5 note to cover their meals for the week. There were 43 people on the coach, including the group and the film technicians. John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were picked up in Virginia Water, Surrey, close to their homes.

Filming began soon after, with scenes improvised on the coach and during a lunch break at the Pied Piper restaurant in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Late in the evening the coach arrived at its first destination, the Royal Hotel at The Den, Teignmouth, Devon, where the entire party spent the night.

The Beatles arrived at the hotel in a car, having swapped vehicles just outside the town in a bid to remain incognito. Nevertheless, they were greeted by 400 local teenagers, who had discovered their supposedly secret plans and waited in the rain to catch a glimpse of the stars.

At the hotel McCartney gave an impromptu press conference, where he gave an outline of The Beatles' plans for the film. He and Neil Aspinall then sorted out room arrangements for the coach party, before discussing the next day's shooting with Lennon and technical director Peter Theobalds.

The Royal Hotel in Teignmouth was later remodelled as the Royal Court apartments.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

5 responses on “Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

  1. Sarah

    I don’t believe the Royal Hotel was demolished, but was remodeled to become the Royal Court Apartments. I have an old photo showing the building exterior looking practically the same as it does now. I’d be glad to provide a now and then comparison pair of pix if you like.

      1. Sharon

        The royal hotel closed its doors 1989 and totally demolished quite a few years later… The hotel was turned into 70 retirement flats and reopened in 1999.

  2. William Shaw

    No… it was demolished. The Royal Hotel was beautiful. The apartments are faux Georgian and horrible. I was one of the locals outside. My sister borrowed a maid’s uniform from a friend to sneak into the hotel – but didn’t see them. Much to our exasperation the next night the local TV news reported the incident but we weren’t in any of the photographs. Our gran, however, was. I refer to the incident glancingly in one of my books.

Leave a reply