Beatles Documentaries on PBS Fill Thanksgiving Weekend

November 19, 2017

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – the Touring Years is director Ron Howard’s authorized and highly acclaimed Emmy® Award and GRAMMY Award®-winning documentary film about The Beatles’ phenomenal early career. It premieres on PBS stations like THIRTEEN on Thanksgiving weekend – Saturday, November 25, 8-10:30 pm ET (check local listings and schedule pages for rebroadcasts). The film will be followed by an encore broadcast of Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, 10:30-Midnight ET, which covers the months the band spent creating Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking masterwork that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. Take a nap and and tune in again at 4am Sunday, November 26 for How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin!

The Beatles Photo Gallery

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – the Touring Years is based on the first part of The Beatles’ career (1962-1966) – the period in which they toured and captured the world’s acclaim. The film explores how John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to become this extraordinary phenomenon, “The Beatles.”  It reveals their inner workings – how they made decisions, created their music and built their collective career together – all the while, exploring The Beatles’ extraordinary and unique musical gifts and their remarkable, complementary personalities. The film focuses on the time period from the early Beatles’ journey in the days of The Cavern Club in Liverpool to their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966. 

Howard’s documentary features rare and never-before-seen archival footage of shows and interviews, plus new interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and numerous prominent observers. The film captures the exhilaration of The Beatles’ phenomenal rise to fame as well as the toll it eventually took on the band’s members, prompting them to stop touring and devote their prodigious musical talents to their groundbreaking studio recordings.

The Beatles began touring Europe in late 1963, after an extraordinary arrival on the British scene in 1961 and ‘62.  However, it was their much-heralded “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance on February 9, 1964, that caused The Beatles’ popularity to explode. By June, the band had commenced their first world tour, and continued on a relentless schedule for two subsequent years. By the time the band stopped touring in August of 1966, they had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities around the world. The cultural phenomenon their touring helped create, known as “Beatlemania,” was something the world had never seen before and laid the foundation for the globalization of culture.

The film was produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. White Horse Pictures’ GRAMMY Award®-winning Nigel Sinclair, Scott Pascucci and Academy Award®-winner and Emmy® Award-winner Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment are producers with Ron Howard. Apple Corps Ltd.’s Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde are executive producers, along with Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East and Nicholas Ferrall.  

Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution

Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution gets its encore broadcast Saturday, November 25, 10:30-midnight ET (check local listings) on PBS. Hosted by award-winning British composer, author, music historian and broadcaster Howard Goodall, the film looks back at the creation and ongoing influence of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released on June 1, 1967. Hailed as a landmark achievement by critics worldwide, the album won four GRAMMY Awards, including Album of the Year, and ranks #1 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time as “the most important rock & roll album ever made.” The documentary conjures up the psychedelic, phantasmagorical world of Sgt. Pepper and provides context for the culture of the day, showing how the album and its classic songs, including “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “She’s Leaving Home” and “A Day in the Life,” became a driving force within that culture.

An Apple Corps Ltd. production, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is directed by Francis Hanly and produced by Jonathan Clyde and Martin Smith.

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin

Set your DVR for this third Beatles film of Thanksgiving weekend, airing November 26 at 4am! How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin is the unknown story of how the Beatles inspired a revolution in the Communist system of the Soviet Union. When Leslie Woodhead began to make films in the Soviet Union, he became aware of how the Beatles legend had soaked into the lives of a generation of Soviet kids — even though they were barred from playing “Back in the USSR.” Here, he sets out to meet the Soviet Beatles generation and to discover how the Fab Four changed their lives. Watch the preview on