Mayhem At The Ritz

In the 1960s, demand to see the latest music sensation was so high there were insufficient British venues to meet the demand for tickets.

The ABC Gaumont and Rank/Odeon cinema chains saw a money-making opportunity.

Andrew Collins revisits this unique time to hear how staff coped with thousands of hysterical teenagers, and to reveal an era when health and safety issues were not a concern, but having a good time was the priority.

A small but dedicated band of workers were able to switch working procedures to embrace the new era of the pop package tours.

We meet chief projectionist Robert Phillpot, press-ganged into working the curtains, liaising with tour managers and roadies while making frantic notes about lighting sequences and spotlight cues.

We also find out about the 1963 Beatles tour that kicked off at The Bradford Gaumont.

Manager James Whittell recalls escorting the Beatles around the cinema, pointing out the art decor.

And hear how rock n' roll legend Little Richard quizzed the manager about where to go in Bradford, as the star stood abandoned outside the empty Gaumont after the show.

Listen out for extracts from a rare interview The Beatles recorded backstage at the ABC Market Street, for the Huddersfield Tape Recording Society.

As Beatle Historian Mark Lewisohn confirms, it still makes compelling listening.

Producer: John Sugar

A Sugar production for BBC Radio 4.

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In the 1960s, demand to see the latest music sensation was so high there were insufficient British venues to meet the demand for tickets.

The ABC Gaumont and Rank/Odeon cinema chains saw a money-making opportunity.

Andrew Collins revisits this unique time to hear how staff coped with thousands of hysterical teenagers, and to reveal an era when health and safety issues were not a concern, but having a good time was the priority.

A small but dedicated band of workers were able to switch working procedures to embrace the new era of the pop package tours.

We meet chief projectionist Robert Phillpot, press-ganged into working the curtains, liaising with tour managers and roadies while making frantic notes about lighting sequences and spotlight cues.

We also find out about the 1963 Beatles tour that kicked off at The Bradford Gaumont.

Manager James Whittell recalls escorting the Beatles around the cinema, pointing out the art decor.

And hear how rock n' roll legend Little Richard quizzed the manager about where to go in Bradford, as the star stood abandoned outside the empty Gaumont after the show.

Listen out for extracts from a rare interview The Beatles recorded backstage at the ABC Market Street, for the Huddersfield Tape Recording Society.

As Beatle Historian Mark Lewisohn confirms, it still makes compelling listening.

Producer: John Sugar

A Sugar production for BBC Radio 4.