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BBC film unearths Beatles photos


Memories of The Beatles in Weston

Just weeks before The Beatles became headline news, the band spent six days in Weston-super-Mare in 1963.

They played at the town's Odeon Cinema twice-nightly, went on photo-shoots and spent time mixing with local people.

Now a BBC film has visited Weston to retrace the Fab Four's footsteps and uncovered mementoes and memories.

BBC Inside Out West spoke to local people who encountered the band or saw them perform at the resort and have never forgotten the experience.

Weston went Beatle-mad for the week - even the bus driver was singing She Loves You
Celia Greenslade

Carol Wear and Sue Hewlett feature in the film and were among the screaming teenage schoolgirls who went to see the band at The Odeon.

They described it as "wonderfully exciting, magical - and unforgettable".

Ticket to ride

Pete Swaysland of the Rock Shop newsagents was working as a donkey boy when The Beatles went for a ride.

"They were larking about and I thought 'what a strange bunch of lads with long hair and strange accents'," he said.

Celia Greenslade recalls: "Weston went Beatle-mad for the week - even the bus driver was singing She Loves You."

Ann Baxter climbed on her friend Judy's shoulders to peep over a high wall and saw The Beatles sunbathing on the terrace of the Royal Pier hotel.

"They said: 'oh hello' and John asked me my name," she told Inside Out West. "I will remember it forever."

Local man Ian McEachran was in Weston General Hospital at the time, aged 14.

The Beatles came to a ward to visit a girl who had survived an attack in which her friend was killed.

"We went out on a balcony and they looked up and waved at us as they arrived," he remembers.

Alan Richardson recalls: "My father was in the St John Ambulance and told us about the concert.

"We didn't have to queue for tickets and we sat in the front row."

You can find out more about The Beatles' week in Weston-super-Mare on BBC One's Inside Out West on Monday, 8 November at 7.30pm.

Were you in Weston-super-Mare in July 1963 and did you see The Beatles? Tell us your memories of the Fab Four at the seaside and we'll publish a selection...

I was a stage hand at the Odeon. My dad knew the manager, so after doing my day job I went to the Odeon for the evening and got paid to set the bands things out for acts coming on and to close the curtains. After the Beatles came off we had to pick up the jelly babies thrown for Ringo - as he was the one who said he liked them - off the stage before the next act came on. I was there and saw it and was part of it, all far to much to write about.
Roger, Weston-super-Mare

I was working in a salon called Lloyd and Osborne when the Beatles came in for a hair cut. We all went mad in the wig makers room at the top of the building. Our boss wouldn't let us go down to see them but if we had known they were to be so famous I would of swept the hair up and kept it. I did go and see them at the Odeon twice as well as the Rolling Stones and other artists. Something I am very pleased to tell people.
Sylvia, Weston-super-Mare

My stepfather ran the butchers shop in the Boulevard where I worked. The Beatles stopped at the newsagents a couple of doors up to buy chocolates to take to the hospital where they were to visit a girl who was attacked on her way to Weston to see them. I rushed into the shop in my butchers apron to see Paul. I could hardly speak. He gave me his autograph and told me the others were over the road in a car. I rushed over and they were really friendly and all signed my autograph book. My sister and I went to the show and were in the front row. It was fab. I still have all their autographs and the ticket I bought for the show.
Nancy, Weston-super-Mare

Gerry and the Pacemakers 'stole the show' with You'll Never Walk Alone. The theatre was totally blacked out except for a small circular spotlight on Gerry Marsden's face as he was singing. I've never forgotten it. I can't remember a thing about the Beatles being there.
Charlie, Almondsbury

When I was nine, me, my younger brother, and my mum and dad went to Weston-super-Mare for the day and saw that the Beatles were appearing at the Odeon. We asked if they had any tickets left for the matinee and the lady said "sure, how many do you want?" So we got four tickets on the front row of the balcony for 4s 6d each. I remember girls were throwing Jelly Babies at Paul. To be honest, they weren't that good, but we still enjoyed it. After the show, my mum made the now classic statement: "I really liked Gerry and the Pacemakers but I don't think those Beatles are going to go very far!" We made her eat her words many times after that!
Carolyn, Houston in Texas

Whilst on holiday at Brean, July 1963, as a 12-year-old, my brother and myself were in the sand dunes at Brean. As we looked across the beach, at the wreck, we noticed four young men in Victorian bathing suits forming a human pyramid for photographers. My brother wanted to go and investigate but being a shy teenager, I refused. Shortly afterwards, whilst reading my Jackie comic, I came across the photo scene we had witnessed - I realised, as a Beatles fan, the opportunity missed. Oh the agony!
Jenny, Keynsham

I remember this week in 1963 well. My family had to come back early from a holiday so that my sister and I could go to the Saturday evening performance. In fact they nearly knocked us over in their van on the crossing near the town hall. I still have a photo of the four of them on the beach. I can't remember how I got hold of it. I saw them another two times in Bristol. Lovely memories.
Alison, Basingstoke

Celia Greenslade's memory is almost certainly faulty. The Beatles played Weston-super-Mare from Monday, 22 July to Saturday, 27 July 1963 - "She Loves You" wasn't released until 23 August that year, so the notion that the bus driver in Weston-super-Mare was singing "She Loves You" during the Beatles' stint there seems rather fanciful. It seems rather more likely the driver was singing "From Me to You".
Simon, Lancing in West Sussex

I can remember seeing the Beatles at the Odeon in Weston. Myself and three friends were staying at Brean in a caravan for a week. What a show. We were sat quite near the front, it was fab. I must of been not quite 14 years of age. My memories of seeing them, and especially Gerry & the Pacemakers, will always remain with me, seeing them before they became famous.
Jennifer, Bristol

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