BBC Radio 2’s bank holiday Beatles bonanza

BBC Radio 2 held a series of special Beatles programmes over the late August bank holiday weekend, with new shows and archive material – including the previously lost master tape of The Lennon And McCartney Songbook from 1966.

The information below is from the Radio 2 website, and shows can be heard on the BBC iPlayer for up to seven days.

Friday 28 August

Beatles All Request Friday with Chris Evans – 5-7pm

Chris Evans wraps up the week with a very special Beatles-only All Request Friday, so decide what you want to request and stand by to give the team a call.

Don’t Start Me Talking About The Beatles – 7-7.30pm

Another chance to hear the story of The Beatles in the words of their fans. Radio 2’s oral history series offers a unique insight into the way the Fab Four impacted on the everyday and the commonplace.

The Day John Met Paul – 10-11pm

Featuring an interview with Sir Paul McCartney and the music and memories of John Lennon’s group the Quarrymen, this programme re-creates the moment when John and Paul met for the first time at a Quarrymen gig at a sunny garden fete in Woolton, Liverpool on 6 July 1957.

In The Beginning – 11pm-midnight

Holly Johnson visits Hamburg to explore how marathon sessions in smoky cellars, and friendships with local teenagers, helped create the incredible chemistry that turned a British beat group into the all-conquering Beatles.

Saturday 29 August

Sounds Of The Sixties – 8-10am

Brian Matthew presents the programme for all fans of the 1960s. This week, to mark Radio 2’s Beatles Bank Holiday, Brian plays four songs in a row featuring each of the Beatles on lead vocals.

America’s Greatest Beatles Hits with Paul Gambaccini – 8-10pm

Several of Paul Gambaccini’s regular features take on a Beatles theme, including The First, My Last, My Everything and It’s Not The Same Old Song.

George Harrison: What Is Life – 10-11pm

Michael Palin presents a tribute to his friend George Harrison, who died in November 2001. It features archive interviews with George, as well as contributions from his wife and son, Bob Geldof, Jeff Lynne, Brian May, Gary Moore, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Ravi Shankar and The Beatles’ producer George Martin.

Bigger Than Jesus – 11pm-midnight

Another chance to hear the documentary that tells the story of John Lennon’s infamous quote: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.”

Sunday 30 August

Sgt Pepper Recreated – Midnight-2am

Another chance to hear the special re-recording of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, broadcast on Radio 2 to mark the 40th anniversary of the classic album including performances from Bryan Adams, Razorlight, Russell Brand, Jamie Cullum and Kaiser Chiefs.

Sounds Of The 70s: Paul McCartney Special – 3-5pm

Johnnie Walker talks to Sir Paul McCartney about his solo career and work with Wings during the 1970s.

Monday 31 August

The Great Beatles Songbook Part 1 – 9.30am-12pm

Ken Bruce presents The Great Beatles Songbook: Volume 1, a countdown of the Top 30 biggest selling Beatles tracks in the UK as compiled by the Official Charts Company. There’s also a special Beatles edition of PopMaster.

The Beatles @ The Beeb – 12-2pm

Bill Kenwright presents a two hour journey through the many Beatles songs and interviews recorded at the BBC during the 60s. In addition to the archive Beatles interviews with presenters such as Brian Matthew and Alan Freeman, Brian and Alan (recorded in 1988) will be heard reminiscing about their time with The Beatles at the Beeb.

The Great Beatles Songbook Part 2 – 2-5pm

Craig Charles shares the Radio 2 listeners’ Beatles stories, with choice tracks from the Fab Four’s albums and solo projects. Includes the Top 10 selling Beatles albums as supplied by the Official Chart Company.

The Beatles Covered With Cilla Black – 5-7pm

Cilla Black presents a two-hour special in which she plays cover versions of The Beatles’ biggest UK singles, including tracks from Ella Fitzgerald and Kris Kristofferson; Aretha Franklin and Tom Jones; and many more.

The Record Producers: George Martin – 7-8pm

The Record Producers profiles a man often labelled “The Fifth Beatle” – Sir George Martin. In an exclusive interview, Sir George talks about various aspects of the studio and recording process, the albums Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road, along with a number of songs including ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and ‘Rain’.

Paul McCartney: Sold On Song – 10.30pm-midnight

In this very special programme, first broadcast in September 2005, Paul returns to Studio 2 at Abbey Road, the room where all the Beatles records were made, for an intimate journey through his songwriting history, from his very first Beatles song to the work on his album Chaos & Creation In The Backyard.

Last updated: 10 June 2020
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