11:44 AM GMT 21/05/2013
A new documentary from BBC Arena is set to unveil the untold story behind one of The Beatles' most fascinating creations.
Arena: Magical Mystery Tour Revisited - to be broadcast on BBC Two on Saturday night, October 6 at 9.45pm (GMT) - will feature contributions from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Peter Fonda, Martin Scorsese, Terry Gilliam and Neil Innes among others. It promises to lift the lid on The Beatles' marvellous movie folly, whose 45th birthday is also marked this month by its commercial release on DVD and Blu-ray.
Famously premiered on BBC1 in black and white, on Boxing Day 1967, Magical Mystery Tour was seen by a third of the British television audience, but the film turned out to be no family entertainment special. As the documentary underlines, this was a quintessentially English road movie mapped out by a post-Sgt. Pepper Beatles all fuelled by increasingly surreal ideas and a set of songs to match.
"We didn't really want to do something that didn't represent where we were up to," says McCartney in the doc. "However, people didn't know where we were up to, and it wasn't the kind of thing we could do a disclaimer before it and say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is the product of our imaginations, and believe me, at this point they're quite vivid.'"
Arena's film lifts the veil of psychedelic anarchy to reveal... even more psychedelic anarchy. "I'd love to say there was this incredible master plan," says 'Director Of Photography' Ringo Starr, "but there wasn't".
The documentary will be followed immediately by the restored version of the film itself, complete with unseen outtakes. So that's our Saturday night all sewn up then.
And if that's not enough Magical Mystery for you, you can now watch an unseen segment of footage over at the online "Arena Hotel", a channel devoted to the evergreen documentary strand at BBC/Arts Council web site The Space. It's not every day that the biggest band in the world rolls into your local chip shop.
View the footage here.
Arena: Magical Mystery Tour Revisited and The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour will broadcast on BBC Two at 9:45pm on Saturday, October 6.
Also, look out for a MOJO Special Edition devoted to Magical Mystery Tour and The Beatles' psychedelic '67, on the shelves October 10. Pre-order on MOJO's web site - ie. here - from later this week.
Posted by Ross_Bennett at 2:36 PM GMT 02/10/2012