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John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky
Channel4.com, until December 24 Nearly 50 years after he wrote it, there is still something impossibly poignant about John Lennon’s Imagine, and the world the title track conjures up: ‘Imagine there’s no heaven/ It’s easy if you try/ No hell below us/ Above us only sky.’
A new documentary by director Michaelchael Epstein about the making of this much-loved album is a wonderful opportunity to watch the unfolding of Lennon’s love letter to peace and possibility, one, however, that is fuelled by anger as well as by hope.
Above Us Only Sky shows the extent of the creative connection between Lennon and Yoko Ono, and how this translated into collaboration, via revealing interviews and never-seen-before footage from Yoko’s personal archive. Much of it is filmed at their home studio — where the band bring to life Lennon’s exquisite songs, of which he says with astonishing modesty, “I don’t know whether it’s any good”.
Others are less reticent: “The message of Imagine is just as powerful today as it was when John and Yoko wrote it nearly 50 years ago,” says Epstein. “I look at the world, see it overcome with hate and engaged in wars seemingly without end, and I truly miss John’s voice. We need him now more than ever. And that is what we hope to do with Above Us Only Sky — show how John and Yoko’s message of peace and love still matters.” As for Yoko, her take is this: “I feel in the big picture the fact that John and I met was to do this song.”
Virgin Media Player, until January 1, episodes 1 & 2 Two-part drama written by Neil Mckay and directed by Paul Whittington based on the 2008 disappearance of nine-yearold Shannon Matthews in West Yorkshire.
Shannon was eventually discovered, unharmed, at the house of her mother’s boyfriend’s uncle, in what turned out to have been a planned kidnapping. Stars Sheridan Smith (left), Gemma Whelan, Sian Brooke and Siobhan Finneran.