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Liverpool imagines life without The Beatles as new Danny Boyle film is screened

Director Danny Boyle during the shooting of his new film (Joe Giddens/PA)
Director Danny Boyle during the shooting of his new film (Joe Giddens/PA)

The birthplace of The Beatles has imagined life without the Fab Four as the new Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis film was shown at a special screening in Liverpool.

Yesterday, a film in which struggling musician Jack finds he is the only person to remember the songs of John, Paul, George and Ringo, was shown in the city on Wednesday a month ahead of its official release date.

The special screening at FACT was attended by those who helped with the creation of the Universal film, parts of which were filmed in Liverpool, although the cast did not attend.

Danny Boyle film scenes in Suffolk
Lily James and Himesh Patel (left) during the shooting of a scene for Danny Boyle’s new film (Joe Giddens/PA)

Written by Curtis and directed by Boyle, the movie follows Jack, played by Eastenders’ actor Himesh Patel, as he wakes from a freak accident to find no one else in the world remembers the songs made famous by The Beatles.

Starting from the house he shares with his parents, played by Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, in Suffolk, Jack travels to Moscow, Los Angeles and then on a magical mystery tour to Liverpool as the world reacts to hearing the famous songs for the first time.

Ed Sheeran plays himself in the movie, changing the lyrics to one of the group’s most famous ballads to “hey dude”, and it also features a cameo from James Corden.

Downton Abbey actress Lily James plays Jack’s manager and best friend, while Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon stars as his money-obsessed manager.

Ed Sheeran new album
Ed Sheeran, who plays himself in film Yesterday (Ben Birchall/PA)

The hometown of The Beatles is another of the film’s stars, with famous locations such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field featured, as well as the city’s Pier Head, Lime Street train station and the Mersey Tunnel.

As Patel sings his way through much of the band’s extensive back catalogue, former Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire sums up the situation near the film’s end when she says: “A world without The Beatles is a world that’s infinitely worse.”

Introducing the film, which is released on June 28, Liverpool’s deputy mayor Wendy Simon said: “The film does celebrate the musical legacy of The Beatles which is really important for us as a city.

“The Beatles bring hundreds of thousands of people to this city year in and year out.”

Sir Paul McCartney on Carpool Karaoke
The autograph of Sir Paul McCartney (bottom right) seen on the Penny Lane sign in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

She added: “Last year was our busiest year yet for film and TV production and we’re delighted Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis decided to shoot on location here in our city, proving once again Liverpool has established itself as a world class destination for film.”

The screening took place as a thank you to Liverpool in the 30th year of the Liverpool Film Office.

The city has previously been the setting for shows including Peaky Blinders and films such as Tolkien, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fast and Furious 6.

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