TO commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, ANDY HOWELLS chats to the director of a new Beatles documentary about the making of the album.

“There are people who may say “why on earth would you make a film about such an iconic album that you haven’t got any rights to the music for?” My argument would be, because it’s such an iconic album, why wouldn’t you?”

That’s the challenge film director Alan G Parker set himself when embarking on his latest film project last year.

“That album sold enough copies for every single home in Great Britain to have one copy. So, I thought what if I do what most documentary makers do and tell the back story.”

Parker, a life-long Beatles fan has fulfilled a childhood dream by putting together a film about the fab four.

Through rarely seen archive footage and new interviews with The Beatles friends and associates the film follows the 12 months from August 1966 to August 1967. Although some of the stories surrounding Sgt Pepper might be familiar, there will be some that will surprise, including a rare interview given to HTV Wales in 1967 when The Beatles learned of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein while on a retreat in Bangor with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

A version of the interview footage has been used in several Beatles documentaries over the years, but on this occasion, an alternate version has been uncovered.

“Keith Badman, our archivist is well known in the industry, they call him the Columbo of rock ‘n’ roll, if he can’t find it, it doesn’t exist,” laughs Alan.

“We’re sat one day chatting away and we’re at that point in the film where we are at the very early stages of the first cut, Keith goes ‘hang on a minute they’re the Beatles, presumably when something as big as their manager’s death happens there’s not one camera crew, but probably 150’. He literally got up and walked out of the studio returning five minutes later grinning like a Cheshire cat.”

A must-see event for all Beatles die-hards. It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond can be seen at selected cinemas and is available on DVD from June 5.