The Beatles, also known as the Fab Four (AUDIO: 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men), 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 line-up comprised of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison (PROSE: The Left-Handed Hummingbird, COMIC: Forever Dreaming). Pete Best (COMIC: The Time of My Life) and Stuart Sutcliffe[source needed] had also been members before the band hit the big time.
"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)
The Tenth Doctor took Donna Noble back in time to see the Beatles perform live at the Cavern Club in 1963. She ended up having them sign an album which they hadn't made at the time – and which was on the yet-to-be-invented compact disk format. (COMIC: The Time of My Life)
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)
In 1969, Ace prevented Huitzilin from killing the Beatles on the roof of the Apple building on Abbey Road. (PROSE: The Left-Handed Hummingbird) The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones tried, unsuccessfully to attend the same concert. (COMIC: Black Death White Life) 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
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)
Almost nothing was known of the Beatles in the 26th century. (PROSE: The Dead Men Diaries) 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)
- "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)
- 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 sun. The Beatles were a part of the quiz to get the ship working again, made by the crew. (TV: 42)
- Isobel Watkins, Mike Yates, Polly Wright and Ace 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 Eighth Doctor had copies of their songs. (PROSE: Anachrophobia)
- 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)
Fitz Kreiner saw the Beatles perform at Live Aid in an alternative 1985 in which they never broke 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
Appearance in The Chase
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 episodes 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
The reference in PROSE: 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 PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles that never broke up and were still performing in 1985.
Use of songs in Doctor Who stories
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 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 lead character in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer".