Be­com­ing the Bea­tles

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Mon­day, 7.50pm, SBS One There are just so many cheesy doc­u­men­taries out there about the Bea­tles. In nearly all of them, too many old men fall out of their false teeth to re­flect at length on their close as­so­ci­a­tion with mem­bers of the band they haven’t ac­tu­ally seen or spo­ken to for 40 years. There are a num­ber of th­ese peo­ple in Be­com­ing the Bea­tles, but it stays a cut above some of the really shoddy ef­forts be­cause it at­tempts to put the rise of the Bea­tles into a cul­tural, his­tor­i­cal con­text. In com­mon with the cheap ones though, there is a truly awe­some ab­sence of Bea­tles mu­sic, pre­sum­ably be­cause it would have been pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive. In this one, John Len­non ap­pears, but the footage seems har­vested from post-Bea­tles press con­fer­ences and other doc­u­men­taries. Paul McCart­ney is elo­quent in con­fer­ences from 1963, but oth­er­wise has no pres­ence at all in the one-hour doc­u­men­tary. If you’ve read Hunter Davies’s The Bea­tles: The Au­tho­rised Bi­og­ra­phy, then you’ll learn noth­ing new here. How­ever, if you don’t have too many ex­pec­ta­tions there are some great black and white pho­to­graphs from the early days, es­pe­cially of the of­ten un­known line-up of preBea­tles out­fit The Quar­ry­men. Phil Collins is also in­ter­viewed at length. when Syd­ney har­bour lights up for the 9pm fam­ily fire­works. Nine’s pub­lic­ity says this in­cludes Kylie Minogue (we hope she is not one of the py­rotech­nics). Af­ter a short in­ter­lude for the en­tire 2007 fea­ture film Hair­spray, we’ll be back to see in the New Year. There are so many ways to bring in the New Year, but if tele­vi­sion is your choice, you could do worse. Features per­for­mances by Reece Mastin, Ricki-Lee Coul­ter and Dar­ren Per­ci­val.

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