Liverpool staged its own special premiere of the new Beatles ’ film tonight – ahead of the official launch in London.
It wasn’t so much a red carpet as a Blue Jay Way which was rolled out for invited guests at Picturehouse at FACT.
|Julia Baird at the Eight Days a Week film premiere in Liverpool|
Family, friends and some of the key Liverpool people involved in the early history of the most famous band in the world descended on the Wood Street cinema for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – the Touring Years.
They included Quarrymen Colin Hanton, Rod Davis and Len Garry, as well as John Lennon’s sisters Julia Baird and Jackie Dykins, Allan Williams – the band’s first manager, their early booking agent Joe Flannery, and Johnny Hutchinson of Merseybeat band The Big Three.
|The Quarrymen - Colin Hanton, Len Garry and Rod Davis, attending the Liverpool premiere Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years|
Peter Hooton, and members of The Christians, were also among those at the packed event, along with members of the city’s arts and music community.
Speaking ahead of the film, Rod Davis said: “I’m looking forward to seeing all the stuff I haven’t seen before really.
“Everything that’s been done before has been edited away to nothing. We might get a more interesting picture of how they reacted to each other.”
|The Beatles' first manager Allan Williams|
And Julia Baird said: “It’s a decent narrative of the Beatles which isn’t a film that’s been made up or fantasised. It’s a true narrative and a good documentary.”
She added: “A lot of young people are now interested in the Beatles, and not just the later stuff. They’re listening back to the early records – you’re hearing them now on the radio.”
Newlyweds Jeff Hults and Helen Cook-Hults, meanwhile, had a surprise walk up the blue carpet after stumbling on the premiere during a day out in Liverpool and being handed two last-minute tickets.
The couple had a Beatles band at a wedding party in Yorkshire yesterday.
American Jeff said: “We decided to come to Liverpool and we’d been to the Jacaranda and Ye Cracke, and thought we’d walk down this street before we went back to the car – and wondered what was going on.
“It’s so generous and unexpected for us.”
The film itself was preceded by two pieces of footage created specially for the Liverpool premiere by Oscar-winning director and producer Ron Howard.
One was an 11-minute section of film of Liverpool interviewees – including Allan Williams, Joe Flannery, singer Beryl Marsden, Beatles’ secretary Freda Kelly, and brother and sister Beryl Williams and Barry Chang who were on the band’s first trip to Hamburg – and whose memories had not made the final movie.
The second was a specially-recorded welcome message from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Ron Howard.
In it, Ringo told the audience while the film was getting its opening in London they wanted it to also have a premiere in Liverpool “because that’s where we’re from.”
And Ron Howard added: “Some day, having never been to Liverpool, I want to be there.”