'Magical Mystery Tour Revisited' - the story behind
the film - airs Friday, December 14th at 8:00pm on WTVP-HD. Then at 9:00pm watch the film
"The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour".
– The story behind the controversial and surreal Beatles film features new interviews with Paul McCartney
and Ringo Starr –
Songs you’ll never forget, the film you’ve never seen and a story that’s never been told. In August
1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles made a
film. It was seen in the U.K. by a huge audience, at 8:35pm on BBC One on Britain’s Boxing Day…and all hell broke
The story behind that film – Magical Mystery Tour
(Airing Friday, December 14th at 9:00pm on WTVP-HD) – is revealed on Magical Mystery Tour Revisited on
THIRTEEN’S Great Performances, Friday, December 14th at 8pm on WTVP-HD.
Magical Mystery Tour was chock-full of thinly veiled references to psychedelia,
anarchy and fantasy, all in the setting of a traditional British sightseeing bus outing to the seaside. This
was a far cry from the innocent loveable mop-top japery of Help! and A Hard Day’s Night.
Middle Britain had tuned in but was a long way from turning on and dropping out – the nation
was baffled and outraged by the film’s unexpected and uncompromising surreal, nonlinear narrative. Paul McCartney
appeared on The Frost Programme on rival ITV the day after transmission. He was called upon to account for
himself and the rest of the group.
Could it be that a pearl was cast before swine and then thrown away? To its small band of admirers,
it was a masterpiece of surreal British wit and imagination in the tradition of The Goons and Alice in
Now with the film fully restored to the highest technical standard with a remixed soundtrack, it’s
time to tell the extraordinary story of Magical Mystery Tour: why it was made, how it was made and
the circumstances in which it was made. In the summer of 1967, The Beatles had the world at their feet. It’s
impossible to overestimate the effect of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; that was revolutionary too
but everyone loved it. In August, Brian Epstein tragically died, leaving the Beatles not only without a manager, but
without their ambassador. They decided to go ahead with the film they’d been planning.
To tell the story, this film calls on those who were there, most notably Paul McCartney, who had
the original idea, and Ringo Starr, who is credited as the director of photography. John Lennon and George
Harrison are represented through interviews over the years and through their appearances in the film itself and
in the copious and fascinating outtakes.
Line producer Gavrik Losey and cameraman Michael Seresin evoke the heady atmosphere of the shoot,
along with Jeni Crowley and Sylvia Nightingale who, as teenagers, reported from the coach for The Beatles’ Fan
Club magazine. Paul Fox, then controller of BBC One, recalls making the deal with The Beatles for the film. Also
sharing their reminiscences are Peter Fonda, Paul Gambaccini, Terry Gilliam, Neil Innes, Paul Merton, Barry Miles,
Annie Nightingale and Martin Scorsese.
Finally, this is a chance for the film’s admirers to have their say; its detractors have been
given plenty of opportunities to have theirs. It provides a chance to evoke 1967 as it was – postwar Britain as
much as the summer of love, when a new set of artists with The Beatles at the helm came up with an alchemy that
turned the ordinary and the commonplace into the magical and mysterious.
Magical Mystery Tour Revisited was filmed and directed by Francis Hanly; Jonathan
Clyde is producer; Anthony Wall is executive producer for BBC; and Jeff Jones is executive producer for Apple.
For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for the Great Performances telecast is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, The
Starr Foundation, Vivian Milstein, The Agnes Varis Trust, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and public
television viewers. Visit Great Performances Online at
www.pbs.org/gperf for additional
information about this and other programs.
In 2012, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent
company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming
to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great
Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries,
children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational
programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase
and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights
the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and
MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.
For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of
at (309) 495-0591 or firstname.lastname@example.org