The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour: unseen footage

Film of the Fab Four's fish supper in 1967 premiered on web ahead of new BBC2 documentary

New footage shot during the making of the Beatles’ 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour has been released online.


Discovered during research for a new Arena documentary on the movie, the clip sees the Beatles step off the Magical Mystery Tour coach in Taunton, Somerset, and visit a fish and chip shop.

The footage is presented as part of a short film that forms an episode of The Arena Hotel, a spin-off from the Arena documentary series. The Arena Hotel runs on The Space, a website developed by the Arts Council and the BBC.

In the new images, all four Beatles and the cast and crew of the movie are seen (but not heard – the footage does not come with live sound) cramming into a chip shop to order and then enjoy fish, chips and orangeade, before boarding their coach again and setting off towards Newquay, the Tour’s final destination.

The Beatles footage is intercut with film of the same takeaway in 2012.

Often cited as the Beatles’ only artistic failure, Magical Mystery Tour was a television film first shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day 1967. It was greeted with puzzlement by viewers and critics.

It is to be reassessed, however, this Saturday on BBC2 in Arena: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour – part of a season of BBC television and radio programmes celebrating 50 years since the release of Love Me Do, the group’s debut single.

“Few people have seen Magical Mystery Tour in its entirety and the material in the chip shop has never been shown anywhere,” said Arena editor Anthony Wall. “It captures perfectly the fabulous world of The Beatles at this time. They’re happily rubbing shoulders and sharing a simple meal with the other passengers on the coach, and at the same time creating an extraordinarily avant garde film, which of course would soon be broadcast by the BBC to a dumbstruck nation.”

See the new footage here.


Arena: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour is on BBC2 on Saturday 6 October at 9.45pm.