Special programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles on 1 June 1967 will air on BBC Radio 2, 4 Extra and 6 Music.
The range of programmes will explore the stories around the recording, release and subsequent life of this seminal album.
BBC Radio 2 will present two documentary series – Sgt. Pepper Forever and Paul Merton On The Beatles.
Over two programmes, broadcast on 24 May and 31 May, Martin Freeman presents Sgt. Pepper Forever, which will reveal the revolutionary studio techniques used during the sessions dating from November 1966 to April 1967 and also examine the album’s impact on the history of music. They will feature ‘work-in-progress’ versions of Sgt. Pepper tracks – and the songs on the double A-side single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, which were also recorded during the sessions – to illustrate the techniques used by The Beatles and George Martin.
This two-part documentary special, written and produced by Kevin Howlett of Howlett Media Productions, features interviews with Paul, George, Ringo and George Martin, and in a new interview composer Howard Goodall talks about, and illustrates on piano, the musical innovations of the album’s songs.
BBC Radio 4 Extra will delve deep in to the album artwork to bring listeners a special day of programmes from 9am-10pm, inspired by the famous faces that are featured on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
On Saturday 3 June, Samira Ahmed will introduce a 13 hour mix of documentaries, dramas and comedies that all focus on this celebrated crowd, from Marlene Dietrich to Albert Einstein, Marlon Brando to Oscar Wilde. Programmes will include Alan Bennett reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, Joan Bakewell interviewing Jonny Weissmuller for Start The Week in 1975, a drama about the classic comedy duo Laurel & Hardy starring John Sessions and Robbie Coltrane, and a look at the life of William Burroughs from the musician Laurie Anderson.
In between, brand new interviews will reveal more about the members of this Lonely Hearts Club Band, discover why these people were chosen for the cover, and explore what it was like to be there on the actual day this art work was created.
Produced by Luke Doran for the BBC, across one day let BBC Radio 4 Extra bring the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to life in this unique and imaginative celebration.
On BBC Radio 6 Music, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie will be broadcasting their show on Thursday 15 June (1pm-4pm) from Liverpool, celebrating the music of the city from Sgt. Pepper to the present day.
Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution was commissioned and executive produced for BBC Two by Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, Music TV. It is made by Huge Films, director is Francis Hanly and the producers are Martin R. Smith and Jonathan Clyde.
Paul Merton on The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper Forever were commissioned by Robert Gallacher, Editor, Commissioning and Scheduling, Radio 2.
Radcliffe and Maconie is a Smooth Operations production for BBC Radio 6 Music.
Image Credit: © Apple Corps Ltd