RICHARD Porter is the smartest man in Britain – at least when it comes to The Beatles. In reality, considering the Sixties pop scene was a hotbed of sex and psychedelic drugs, he probably knows more about The Beatles than the remaining members of the Fab Four can remember themselves.
Porter is a fan. But he’s also so much more than that. In 1991 and 1992 he won the Beatles Brain of Britain title at the Liverpool Convention Centre.
These days you will find him eight days a week conducting walking tours around London following the long and winding road that always seems to lead to Abbey Road.
On March 10th 1964, Ringo Starr filmed his solo ‘walkabout scene for a A Hard Day’s Night. He is goaded by Paul’s grandfather (played by Wilfred Brambell) that he should go out and enjoy life. Ringo enters the pub through the side entrance (actually in St Margaret’s Grove). He orders a sandwich, which looks extremely stale. He complains about it and interrupts the pub games. This scene was filmed at the Turks Head Pub in Winchester Road, St. Margaret’s, just a few yards away from the film studio. The pub is still there to this day, and makes Beatles fans very welcome. If you ask nicely they will show A Hard Day’s Night on the pub’s big screen, so you can watch it in one the places the film was shot!
The pub is only about 400 metres from Twickenham Film Studios, where most of the interior scenes of A Hard Day’s Night were shot.
Although she was not involved in this scene, Ringo was accompanied to the pub by Pattie Boyd, who played a schoolgirl in the film. She married George Harrison two years later. On 24th April all four Beatles came to Winchester Hall, the pub’s function room, for a ‘wrap party’, to celebrate the completion of the shooting of the film.
In October 2001, members of the original cast and crew came to the Turks Head to film for the bonus DVD of A Hard Day’s Night.
Helter Skelter – the new name for the Beatles Coffee Shop, will be opening in a few days. I’m glad to say they have retained the Beatles heads by the door :>) I will be acting as a consultant on all things Beatles for the new owners. The shop will be at St John’s Wood Underground Station, the nearest to Abbey Road Studios and the Abbey Road Crossing. We will be visiting the new shop on my London Beatles Walks http://www.beatlesinlondon.com
Things are really hotting up for the 50th anniversary Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It has just been announced that the village of Portmeirion in Wales is to organise a special Beatles day at this amazing seaside location. George Harrison loved the village, and was interviewed here for the Beatles Anthology. He also held his 50th birthday party here. Brian Epstein also loved it, and holidayed here many times.
Portmeirion was also the location for the great TV series ‘The Prisoner’.
On Friday, March 24, locations manager Mr Jones will take members of the public on an exclusive tour around Gate House – a cottage previously used by Brian Epstein.
The tour will also take visitors outside the Watch House, up to the Bristol Colonnade and around the Hotel’s Mirror Room, which all have connections with George Harrison.
And as a finale to the event Fab Four tribute band The Mersey Beatles will perform a number of hits.
The Daily Mirror newspaper in the UK are reporting that Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is to be re-released on June 1st – the 50th anniversary of its original release. They also say that Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane are to be included on the album for the first time. These songs were originally recorded for the album, but EMI wanted a single release, and Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields were selected. Although one of the most incredible singles of all time, it became the first Beatles single in four years not to get to number one in the charts. It was held off the top spot by Engelbert Humperdinck and ‘Release Me’
A word of warning. This story had not been reported elsewhere, and the Mirror are notoriously unreliable. Also, there was no information as to whether this was a deluxe release, or any other bonus material.