Eric Harrison on directing The Beatles, with his wife as vision mixer

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We were scheduled to do, in the hour, two Beatle numbers and an interview with Ken Dodd. So needless to say, I don’t know if you know anything about Ken Dodd, apart from the fact he overruns like crazy in the theatre, his idea of timekeeping is ridiculous. So if you wanted him for 12 o’clock you’d be asking for 10. Anyway, Ken was going to be late, we knew that before we ever started. So we rehearsed and did the two Beatles numbers – again, this was Studio 4 – and the background as such… Ringo sits on a rostrum, which is in the shape of a camera. And the reason for this is the fact that we didn’t know what to use as a backing, and I’d just bought a Pentax camera, and the designer said, “Tell you what, we’ll do a camera.” And so that’s how it looks like a camera, with the backing of the Liverpool Echo, which he’d painted in the background. So we did that. So my wife was a vision mixer, and then Ken Dodd eventually arrived and we did an interview with him, and so these were the ones you see as telly recordings these days. But the story really, which has never come out, as I say my wife was a vision mixer (Meg Harrison), and it was her birthday either before or just after, and she got a pair of red boots. And she wanted the autographs of The Beatles. And so she handed these over to a production trainee called – oh, jeepers – Leslie Woodhead, who eventually went on to other things, and said, “Get these signed.” So these boots came back signed, “Happy Birthday from Ringo,” etc. A couple of years later she said, “I don’t like these,” and threw them in the dustbin. So we lost a lot there. But as I say, somewhere there are two red boots with four Beatles on.

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