The Beatles on Thank Your Lucky Stars

18. August 1963: The Beatles drove to the Alpha (ATV) Studios in Birmingham for an appearance on Summer Spin, the summer version of Thank Your Lucky Stars.

Thank Your Lucky Stars was a British television pop music show made by ABC Television, and broadcast on ITV from 1961 to 1966. Many of the top bands performed on it, and for millions of British teenagers it was essential viewing. As well as featuring British artists, it often included American guest stars. The Beatles appeared on Thank Your Lucky Stars eight times between January 1963 and March 1965, eleven if you count “Summer Spin”, a kind of summer edition of Thank Your Lucky Stars. One of the show’s hosts was Brian Matthew, who also hosted many radio shows with the Beatles on BBC.

While Brian Epstein was in his office, Dick James picked up the phone and was able to secure The Beatles their first booking on this show. This was the single act which made Epstein confident that James was the right person to handle The Beatles’ publishing rights, and the deal was done.

Clips from two of The Beatles’ appearances on Thank Your Lucky Stars.

Below is a clip from when The Beatles topped the bill on their appearance on ABC Television’s Thank Your Lucky Stars, recorded at the Alpha Television Studios in Birmingham, England.

The show was recorded on the afternoon of Sunday 20 October 1963, and was broadcast the following Saturday from 5.50-6.35pm. The Beatles mimed to three songs: All My Loving, Money (That’s What I Want) and She Loves You.

Two of the EMI recordings had not been heard before; the show’s producer Philip Jones had been given advance acetate discs of them, and successfully persuaded Brian Epstein to have them premièred on Thank Your Lucky Stars before the release of With The Beatles.

While The Beatles were inside the studios, 3,000 fans blocked the streets outside and attempted to storm the building.

All My Loving (ending only) and Money (That’s What I Want) from 20. October 1963.

Saturday 14 November 1964: The Beatles rehearsed and recorded their contribution to the television show Thank Your Lucky Stars at Teddington Studios on this day. It was screened on ITV the following Saturday, 21 November 1964, from 5.50pm.

The group mimed to four songs: I Feel Fine, She’s A Woman, I’m A Loser and Rock And Roll Music. There was no studio audience present.

Despite their numerous previous appearances on the show, by November 1964 The Beatles were so famous that it was a coup for the producers to have them even mime for an edition. In recognition of this, the show was renamed Lucky Stars Special.

The Beatles’ appearances on Thank Your Lucky Stars 

The dates refer to the taping and not the broadcast dates.

13 January 1963 Please Please Me

17 February 1963 Please Please Me

17 February 1963

14 April 1963 From Me To You

Third appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars, 14 April 1963 and still with that old drum logo. 

12 May 1963 From Me To You and I Saw Her Standing There. The drum logo changes between the rehearsal and the actual taping.

12 May 1963: Drum logo change

23 June 1963 “Summer Spin” Liverpool Special. From Me To You and I Saw Her Standing There.

23. June 1963. “Summer Spin.

18 August 1963 “Summer Spin” She Loves You and I’ll Get You.

20 October 1963 All My Loving, Money (That’s What I Want) and She Loves You.

15 December 1963 rehearsal.

15 December 1963 “Lucky Stars On Merseyside” I Want To Hold Your Hand, All My Loving, Twist And Shout and She Loves You. This footage has survived.

11 July 1964 “Summer Spin” A Hard Day’s Night, Long Tall Sally, Things We Said Today and You Can’t Do That.

11 July 1964: Looking cool on Lucky Stars (Summer Spin)

14 November 1964 I Feel Fine, She’s A Woman, I’m A Loser and Rock And Roll Music.

November 1964: Rehearsal with casual clothes

28 March 1965 Eight Days A Week, Yes It Is and Ticket To Ride.

Each date is linked to its own page over at the Beatles Bible.

June 1963: Lucky Stars (Summer Spin)

The final regular episode of the programme, ‘Goodbye Lucky Stars’, was presented by Jim Dale and broadcast on Saturday 25th June 1966. The Beatles appeared, courtesy of two promo clips: Paperback Writer and Rain. A Christmas Special was also made that year, without Beatles footage. The show folded, mainly because it was one of the primary targets of the Musicians’ Union and their fight against miming on television. Which again was the reason why the Beatles made their Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever promotional films without attempting to mime to the songs.

A treasure trove of mimed appearances, the Thank Your Lucky Stars episodes could have been a great source from which to construct promotional videos for the Beatles’ songs. Sadly, most of these episodes are now lost, believed wiped. Below is the last presentation of online clips, this is from the December 1963 all-Merseybeat edition of the show.

December 1963

Thank Your Lucky Stars Complete Episode Guide 1961-1966

15. December 1963: The Beatles with The Searchers, Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, and Cilla Black

This posting is part of a series of articles about The Beatles’ appearances on British TV shows. Also in this series: “The Beatles on Ready Steady Go!“, “The Beatles on Top Of The Pops” and “The Beatles on Scene at 6.30“.

4 Responses

  1. Mr. Paul says:

    Fabulous information Roger….are these available as a DVD anywhere complete as you have shown like the Ed Sullivan show performances?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Any chance this post correlates with at least some of these shows being rediscovered?

  3. wogew says:

    Since these are mimed performances, they are not quite as interesting as the Ed Sullivan shows. These are not available on any legally issued DVDs, and a lot of them are thought "lost", because original tapes have been wiped.
    The recent rediscovery of "lost" episodes of Dr Who in Nigeria has rekindled hope that some of the lost Beatles appearances on British television may still appear from faraway sources. However, nothing of the sort has been reported by the media.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What really surprises me every time I watch these old clips of TV performances, are the wonderful set designs, most of them are really, really cool.

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