Saturday 7 December 1963, 6.05-6.35pm
Panel: The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr)
Second jury – Anne Collingham and Bettina Rose (National secs) and Freda Kelly (Merseyside and Lancs area of fan club)
Producer: Neville Wortman
I Could Write A Book – The Chants (Pye) 0.54 HIT
“The bestest gear” (John Lennon)
Kiss Me Quick – Elvis Presley (RCA) 1.10 HIT
Ringo: “Last two years he’s been going down the nick.”
PAUL: “The only thing I don’t like about Elvis now is the songs. You know, I love his voice. I used to love all the records like ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ lovely. But I don’t like the songs now. And Kiss Me Quick, it sounds like Blackpool on a sunny day.”
RINGO: “I didn’t like it at all, no.”
GEORGE: “I must admit I didn’t like it very much. Not at all. It’s an old track. And I think, seeing as they’re releasing old stuff, if they release something like ‘My Baby Left Me’ it’d be number one. Because Elvis is definitely still popular, it’s just the song’s a load of rubbish. I mean, Elvis is great. He’s fine. But it’s not for me.”
JOHN: “Well, I think it’ll be a hit because it’s Elvis, like people said. But I don’t think it’ll be very great. (comically) I like those hats, though, with ‘Kiss Me Quick’ on it!”
Secnd panel was from the fan club secretaries – Anne Collingham, Bettina Rose and Freda Kelly
Hippy Hippy Shake – Swinging Blue Jeans (HMV) 0.53 HIT
John also says he likes Bill Harry’s version, which brings a knowing laugh from the crowd. All prefer Chan Romero’s original.
Bill Harry: “I loved Hippy Hippy Shake by Chan Romero and I used to write in Mersey Beat that some group should pick up on this number. When the Beatles were the panel for Juke Box Jury at the Liverpool Empire, they played the Swinging Blue Jeans’ record of Hippy Hippy Shake, which the Beatles hadn’t heard before. John Lennon said, ‘I like Bill Harry’s version’ which was a little in-joke. We were sitting there in the audience with a leg of lamb which Virginia had bought for Sunday lunch.”
Did You Have A Happy Birthday – Paul Anka (RCA) 0.52 MISS
George: Hearing this would spoil my own birthday.
The Nitty Gritty – Shirley Ellis (London) 1.00 MISS
John mistakes this for Mary Wells at first, but says he would buy it.
I Can’t Stop Talkin’ About You – Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme (CBS) 1.00 HIT
Paul and George find it catchy but John says that Goffin and King can do better.
Do You Really Love Me Too – Billy Fury (Decca) 1.18 HIT
Paul compares the tune to Benny Hill’s Harvest Of Love.
There! I’ve Said It Again – Bobby Vinton (Columbia) 0.53 MISS
Too bland for the Beatles, but it was to knock the Beatles off No l in the US
Love Hit Me – The Orchids (Decca) 1.16 MISS
Schoolgirls from Coventry. John finds it too much of a Spector clone but George and Paul are enthusiastic. They switch their votes and JL says he will buy 10 copies when the Orchids, in the audience, are introduced.
I Think Of You – Merseybeats (Fontana) 1.02 HIT
Only time to vote and it’s a Hit
Also in the camera script running order, but not used,
Broken Home – Shirley Jackson (Decca) 1.13
Where Have You Been All My Life – Gene Vincent (Columbia) 1.23
Long Time Ago – The Bachelors (Decca) 0.59
In front of the Beatles Fan Club at Liverpool Empire
The programmes were going to be at the Odeon but they pulled out. Fortunately, the Empire was in rehearsal for the pantomime and available.
Running order: The Telegoons, Juke Box Jury, Dixon Of Dock Green, Wells Fargo and then 8.10 to 8.40 It’s The Beatles (from Liverpool Odeon) Concert directed by Barney Colehan
Together this meant 60 minutes of the Beatles on prime time TV.
It was Bill Cotton Jr’s idea.
It’s The Beatles was recorded during the afternoon. Both were meant to be at the Empire, but the concert was switched to the Odeon for technical reasons. RT said that cameras would roam around the theatre. “The group’s contact with the audience is remarkable to see. The programme will be virtually a study in Beatle mania.”
It was so noisy that the cameramen couldn’t hear the director’s instructions
Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist surely voices the sentiments of many of us when he says, ignoring his bad cold, “Beadles are but men”.
J F Coldwell, Worthing
According to Television’s Greatest Hits, this was JBJ’s biggest success. 7.5m viewers and No 7. It’s The Beatles was 7.0m and No 10.
Evening Standard critic Maureen Cleave raved over new Paul Anka single, but all four Beatles votes it a miss.
NME, 13 December 1963
Producer Neville Wortman: “There was a big problem with that. There were huge technical problems and I knew all along that we should have done in the Television Centre properly. It was a crazy idea although it was a fine idea to have them on the panel. The technicians weren’t up to it, the lighting people weren’t up to it, and that applies to both programmes. I used to choose all the records for the show but that day David Jacobs and I had a good look at the whole scene to make up the balance for that particular programme. The Beatles were marvellous as they played off each other so beautifully on the panel and they enjoyed the whole thing immensely. The audience was fantastic but the noise levels were very hard to contend with.”
Producer Neville Wortman: “I was losing my hair and I decided to buy a wig. The wig creator thought this wig was really marvellous and I came home with it and my family said, You can’t wear that. My brother said, Turn it round the other way, and then it gave me a fringe. That worked, much to the horror of the guy who had created it. So there I was with a Beatles wig and a high collar for that show from the Odeon in Liverpool. Paul looked at it and said, You really are one of us now. Little did they know what a phoney I was. It was quite convincing.”