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New BBC Beatles documentaries kick off Beatles Week

by Katie Hickox

"(The Rise and Fall of) Beatlemania", part of the Timewatch history series on BBC2 TV, is a new 50 minute documentary which features new interviews with Beatles insiders such as Tony Barrow, Tony Bramwell, Larry Kane and many others and also includes rare unseen footage from home movies of the Beatles goofing off.

It also takes a closer look at the last Beatles concert performed at San Francisco's Candlestick Park stadium on August 29, 1966, and shows never before seen clips from several different Beatles US concerts. Video clips taken from the Beatles' last concert are included courtesy of one Barry Hood who was a young teenager at the time who happened to bring with him a home film camera and got to the venue hours before the concert to film not only the concert but also the setup.

If you're in the UK, you can view this documentary online for the next 6 days (Sept 11th) online here.

"The Beatles on Record" followed "Beatlemania" and is a new 59 minute documentary narrated entirely by just John, Paul, George, Ringo and Sir George Martin about the Beatles, starting from when "Love Me Do" was recorded and became their first hit until the last album, Abbey Road, was recorded. This also includes rare footage of the Beatles inside Abbey Road never shown before and was aired on both BBC2 (Sat night) and BBC4 (Sun night).

If you're in the UK, you can also view this documentary online for the next 7 days (until Sept 12th) online here.

If you have time, you can also watch "The Beatles: The First US Visit" film which also was aired Sat night on BBC2 after "The Beatles on Record".

"The Beatles: The First USA visit" was produced many years ago and has been widely available but generally as a bootleg because it never got Apple's endorsement. However, the version of "The Beatles: The first USA Visit" that aired tonight on BBC2 TV has been dramatically cleaned up and also some new clips have been added in. This documentary is 69 minutes long and is entirely in black and white.

If you're in the UK, you can view this documentary online for the next 6 days (until Sept 11th) online here.

"How The Beatles Rocked the Kremlin" is a new documentary (60 min) about how the music of the Beatles and the Beatles themselves gave young people in tightly controlled communist Soviet Union a taste for freedom and alternative lifestyle and their music. It is heartwarming to see how young teens and young adults defied the authorities at great risk to themselves in order to listen to a few Beatles songs. If a student was caught with any sort of Beatle tape or record, that was grounds for immediate expulsion from the university. Beatles music wasn't "legal" until after the fall of the Berlin wall at the end of 1989. This aired on BBC4 Sunday night.

If you're in the UK, you can view this documentary online until October 12th online here.

Note: Shows that aired on BBC2 and BBC4 can be viewed online in the UK up to 7 days after the first broadcast but the new documentary "How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin" was given an additional month.

Published September 6, 2009

This article is Copyright © 2009, Katie Hickox, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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