The Beatles, also known as the Fab Four, (AUDIO: 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men, PROSE: Time and Relative) were a music group from Liverpool during the 1960s, considered one of, if not the most, influential musical congregations of the second half of the 20th century. (TV: The Chase, PROSE: Time and Relative)
The group consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. (PROSE: The Left-Handed Hummingbird, COMIC: Forever Dreaming) Pete Best had also been a member before the band hit the big time. Some people believed the Beatles wouldn't last without him. (PROSE: Business Unusual) Stuart Sutcliffe also left the Beatles "before they made it big". (PROSE: Slow Decay)
History[edit | edit source]
20th century[edit | edit source]
The Beatles' first concert was at the Cavern Club in 1961. According to the Eleventh Doctor, 96% of the audience were time travellers — and so was Lennon. (COMIC: What He Wants...) Graham O'Brien wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to take him to see this performance, but she was unable to as she had "used up all of the dates". (COMIC: The Power of the Mobox)
"Love Me Do", one of the Beatles' very first releases, was considered by Susan Foreman to be the most important song of the five years before 1963 and said that listeners at the time would later be proud to have been alive at the birth of the Beatles. At the time, however, not all were that enthusiastic. (PROSE: Time and Relative)
The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond travelled to 1963 to meet the Beatles, but were diverted into an alternate timeline created by the Daleks. After escaping it, the Doctor took them to meet Ringo Starr even though Amy had wanted to meet John Lennon. (GAME: City of the Daleks)
In early 1964, the Beatles' song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was knocked off the top of the British charts by the Dave Clark Five song "Glad All Over", which peaked at No. 6 in the United States. (AUDIO: Threshold)
In 1965, the Beatles performed "Ticket to Ride" at Riverside Studios. The First Doctor, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton and Vicki Pallister observed the performance on the Time-Space Visualiser. (TV: The Chase)
On his travels, the Monk, a renegade Time Lord, acquired a copy of the Beatles' appearance on the television series Juke Box Jury during the 1960s, which had been lost to history. (AUDIO: The Resurrection of Mars)
At some point during the concert, time distortion from the Rift Manipulator transported the Beatles to the roof of the same building in early 2008. They were sent back after Torchwood opened up the Cardiff Rift. (TV: End of Days)
21st century and after[edit | edit source]
By the 25th century, a museum dedicated to them existed in their home town of Liverpool. Vicki Pallister knew of them but had not realised that they played what she referred to as classical music. (TV: The Chase)
By the 42nd century, they were considered classical music and appeared in a list of questions in the SS Pentallian's security lock, although Riley Vashtee implied the questions automatically changed due to the presence of Martha Jones and the Tenth Doctor on the ship. (TV: 42)
Undated events[edit | edit source]
The Tenth Doctor took Donna Noble back in time to see the Beatles perform "My Bonnie" live at the Cavern Club. She ended up having them sign the album 1 which they hadn't made at the time – and which was on the yet-to-be-invented CD format. (COMIC: The Time of My Life)
Song references[edit | edit source]
"Paperback Writer" and "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" played in the background of cafés visited by the Doctor, (TV: The Evil of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks) as did The Beatles' recording of "A Taste of Honey". (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
Vicki knew all the words to the Beatles' first LP. Barbara questioned if this was something a young woman should know. (AUDIO: 1963) Jo quoted "I Am the Walrus", after the Third Doctor said, "I am he and he is me," she replied, "and we are all together, goo-goo-goo-joob?" She explained it was a song by The Beatles, to which the Second Doctor asked how it went, intending to play it on his recorder. (TV: The Three Doctors)
The Seventh Doctor referenced a song by the group, saying "It's been a hard day's night", at a dinner party in Gabriel Chase. (TV: Ghost Light) Andy Hansen bought the albums Beatles for Sale and A Hard Day's Night in 1964 as a Christmas gift for Helena. (PROSE: In Search of Doctor X)
The Tenth Doctor told Martha Jones he was a bit busy to remember who had more number one singles, then muttered, "Here Comes the Sun", before returning to the problem at hand – which happened to be that they were falling into a star. The Beatles were a part of the quiz to get the ship working again, made by the crew. (TV: 42)
Other references[edit | edit source]
Isobel Watkins, Mike Yates, Polly Wright, Ace and Jo Grant all compared the Second Doctor's hairstyle to those worn by the Beatles. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy; AUDIO: The Hexford Invasion, The Three Companions, The Light at the End, The Defectors) Susan Foreman pointed out that the First Doctor's hair was longer than the Fab Four. (PROSE: Time and Relative)
On visiting East Sussex in 1912, Vicki expressed a desire to visit London and see the Beatles, not realising that she was decades too early. This lead Constance Arden to believe that she was a keen coleopterist, given her apparent interest in beetles. (AUDIO: The Suffering)
Alternative timelines[edit | edit source]
Fitz Kreiner saw the Beatles perform at Live Aid in an alternative 1985 in which they did not break up in 1970. In this parallel universe, "Back Home" and "Little Girl" were Beatles songs. "Jealous Guy" also had different lyrics. Fitz collected alternate timeline Beatles records during his travels with the Eighth Doctor. (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles)
In an alternate timeline manipulated by Lenny Kruger, the Common Men became the most famous band in the world in place of the Beatles. The timeline was repaired by the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. (AUDIO: 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men)
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Appearance in The Chase[edit | edit source]
The Beatles were to have filmed an in-studio cameo for The Chase in which they played elderly versions of themselves, circa 1996, playing at the Festival of Ghana. Their manager, Brian Epstein, however, forbade this. Had this happened, it would have created an anachronism, given the early death of John Lennon.
Ironically, given the loss of many Doctor Who episodes due to the BBC's policy of erasing old episodes, the clip of a live performance of the Beatles singing "Ticket to Ride" only survives because of its use in the first episode of The Chase. It originated in a 1965 Top of the Pops episode which no longer exists in the BBC Archives. Because the production team for the story sourced the clips from this episode, this makes this the only known surviving footage of that performance known to exist.
The Beatles continuing after 1970[edit | edit source]
The reference in The Devil Goblins from Neptune, suggesting the Beatles continued as a group with new members after 1970, implies the story might take place in an alternate timeline or reality, or that in the Whoniverse the history of the Beatles differed from the real world. This is supported by the reference to an alternate-timeline version of the Beatles in The Gallifrey Chronicles that never broke up and were still performing in 1985.
At the end of the original BBC trailer for the 105-minute compilation repeat of Planet of the Spiders, as broadcast Thursday 26 December 1974, the 1974 BBC One Christmas globe appears and the continuity announcer's voice-over tells viewers that coming up next is "The Beatles" — referring to a showing of the Fab Four's 1965 adventure/comedy feature film Help!
Use of songs in Doctor Who stories[edit | edit source]
As mentioned above, The Evil of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks originally had the Beatles songs "Paperback Writer" and "Do You Want to Know a Secret?", respectively, as background music. Rights issues caused complications for the BBC. The audio release of the former story edited out the song, while the video release of Remembrance replaced the original with a cover version. Since "Ticket to Ride" appears so prominently in The Chase, the appearance of the song in that story accounts in part for the delay in releasing that story onto DVD.
In March 2010, The Chase was finally released to DVD in Region 2 (Europe) with the "Ticket to Ride" sequence intact. It was later announced that despite the clip originating from a BBC programme, that permission could not be obtained for the sequence to be included in non-European releases of the story, which has resulted in the master being used for Region 1 (North America) and Region 4 (Australia and region) being edited to remove the sequence. A less-obvious edit occurred with the DVD release of Remembrance of the Daleks which saw the Beatles recordings heard on its soundtrack replaced by cover versions by other artists.
Maxwell Edison, a recurring character and occasional companion of various incarnations of the Doctor in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, is named after the eponymous murderous character in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer".
"My Bonnie" was one of the few songs performed and recorded by the Beatles that was not in copyright as of The Time of My Life's publication in Doctor Who Magazine in 2008. As a result, Jonathan Morris wrote the Beatles performing the song in The Cavern Club in The Time of My Life.
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Planet of the Spiders DVD release.
- Commentary in The Widow's Curse graphic novel