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Filmmaker Peter Jackson announces documentary on The Beatles

The Beatles (Apple Corps Ltd)
The Beatles (Apple Corps Ltd)

Director Sir Peter Jackson is making a “fly-on-the-wall” film on The Beatles using “never-released” footage filmed just months before the band split.

The documentary will be based on around 55 hours of footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot in January 1969.

Filmmakers say it is the “only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio”.

Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson (Yui Mok/PA)

Lord Of The Rings director Jackson previously restored and brought to life in colour First World War footage in They Shall Not Grow Old.

The same techniques will be applied to the Beatles documentary.

He said: “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly-on-the-wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about.”

He added: “It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”

The Beatles
The Beatles (PA)

The filming was originally intended for a planned TV special.

But the studio sessions produced The Beatles’ acclaimed album Let It Be, which was released in May 1970.

Jackson said that the footage was “very different” to the myth surrounding the recording sessions, which had been viewed in the context of the break-up – Sir Paul McCartney announced he was leaving the group in April 1970.

“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth….,” Jackson said.

“It’s simply an amazing historical treasure trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with.

“Watching John, Paul, George and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating – it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate.”

And he added: “I’m thrilled and honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.”

The film is being made with the co-operation of Sir Paul, Sir Ringo Starr, and John Lennon and George Harrison’s widows, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

The announcement comes 50 years to the day since the Beatles’ legendary performance on the roof of Apple Records.

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