Introducing ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution’

Next broadcast:  Fri 10 Nov 2017 at 22:30 on BBC FOUR

In early June, BBC Two presents Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, a new documentary from Huge Films directed by Francis Hanly, which will present Sgt. Pepper as you have never heard it before – literally. The film will include extracts from material never before accessible outside of Abbey Road: studio chat between the band; out-takes; isolated instrumental and vocal tracks as well as passages from alternative takes of these world-famous songs.

The programme will be written and presented by one of Britain’s leading composers and most admired music broadcasters, Howard Goodall. He will be getting to grips with the album’s musical nuts and bolts.

Howard Goodall says: “Whatever music you like to listen to, if it was written after June 1st, 1967 then more likely than not it will have been influenced, one way or another, bySgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The record’s sheer ambition in its conception, composition, arrangements and ground-breaking recording techniques sets it apart from others of the time. It’s a landmark in twentieth century music, and I’ve hugely enjoyed exploring the story behind the music.”

Producer Martin R. Smith says: “This will be Sgt. Pepper as you’ve never heard it before. We’ve been granted unprecedented access to The Beatles’ own archive, photographs and multi-track studio tapes so we’ll be able to give an insider’s view into the making of this landmark album and through Howard Goodall’s insight just why it was so revolutionary.”

Using visually-striking set dressing, projections and props the film will be conjuring up the multi-coloured, phantasmagorical world of Sgt. Pepper. Chronologically following on directly from the highly-acclaimed documentary cinema feature, Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, Sgt Pepper’s Musical Revolution will show what happened when the studio took over from the stage and the screams.

To help assess the phenomenon of Sgt. Pepper we’ll be finding out why the album came to be made. We’ll rediscover The Beatles at a pivotal moment in their career: both as a band and as four individuals, each with his own musical tastes, and ambitions. Having given up touring, they poured their energies into the studio: Sgt. Pepper, as Paul McCartney remarked, would be the performance.