Sherlock’s Martin Freeman to front Sgt. Pepper at 50 Beatles documentary

Sgt. Pepper Forever will air on Radio 2 and is one of several audio and television documentaries marking the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's groundbreaking album

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Good Morning, Good Morning. Here’s some good news for Beatles fans, and I have to admit, It’s Getting Better All the Time

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With A Little Help from My Friends at the BBC press office we can start Fixing a Hole in your knowledge of what’s happening For The Benefit of Mr Kite, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Lovely Rita (and your good selves) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.

A number of programmes have been announced for radio and television telling the story of the Beatles, including a two-part BBC Radio 2 documentary entitled Sgt. Pepper Forever to be presented by Sherlock star Martin Freeman.

The programmes will chart not just A Day in the Life of the Fab Four but several months in the life of the group, as between November 1966 and April 1967 they worked with producer George Martin on their seminal concept album.

Featuring interviews with Paul, George, Ringo and George Martin as well as turns from cover designer Peter Blake, John Peel, T Bone Burnett, Dave Grohl, Brian Wilson and Mike Leander (the arranger of She’s Leaving Home), the programmes will flow Within You Without You as it tells the story of the greatest record ever cut.

Martin Freeman said, “Sgt. Pepper is the most celebrated album by my favourite band. These documentaries will shed light on how The Beatles, with George Martin, created a piece of work that marked a watershed for what a long playing record could be. It’s my absolute pleasure to help tell you about it.”

Paul Merton will also present a four-part series on Radio 2 that explores the legacy of the Beatles who have entertained him (and this writer) from our earliest years and will continue to do so long beyond When I’m Sixty Four (phew).

Paul Merton says, “I’ve had great fun selecting tracks from John, Paul, George and Ringo’s solo careers to firstly create a magical live ‘Beatles’ concert, and secondly a new ‘Beatles’ double album. I am immensely looking forward to sharing my choices with the Radio 2 listeners.”

On TV BBC2 presents Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, which will show the world the album as it’s never been seen or heard before. Including never-before-heard and seen out-takes, isolated instruments and vocals and alternative versions of the famous songs, this promises to be a music geeks dream.

Howard Goodall, who has written and presented the show said, “Whatever music you like to listen to, if it was written after 1 June 1967 then more likely than not it will have been influenced, one way or another, by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The record’s sheer ambition in its conception, composition, arrangements and groundbreaking recording techniques sets it apart from others of the time. It’s a landmark in 20th century music, and I’ve hugely enjoyed exploring the story behind the music.” 

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BBC Radio 4 Extra will also be in on the act, presenting a special day of programming dedicated to the band on Saturday 3rd June, while Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie will broadcast live from Liverpool on 6 Music on Thursday 15th June.