Lennon film director in Shropshire for Shrewsbury Beatles Weekend

A top film director will be in Shropshire this weekend to talk about one of the world’s most influential songwriters.

John Lennon with his fellow Beatles as global fame beckoned. Photo: Terrence Spencer
John Lennon with his fellow Beatles as global fame beckoned. Photo: Terrence Spencer

Acclaimed documentary maker Roger Appleton will be in Shrewsbury to introduce the big screen showing of his 2018 film, Looking For Lennon, an evocative retrospective on the early life of John Lennon.

The film is one of five Beatles-related movies being screened at Theatre Severn as part of the Shrewsbury Beatles Weekend, a three-day celebration of the Fab Four that has been organised by Shrewsbury Mayor Phil Gillam to raise funds for The Samaritans.

“It’s so exciting to have Roger join us for the weekend,” said Councillor Gillam.

“Not only will he personally introduce his superb film, but he will also take part in a question and answers session after the screening.

“Fans will be able to engage directly with Roger and ask those questions about John Lennon that they’ve always wanted to ask.

“We’re thrilled that Looking For Lennon is part of our three-day celebration. It includes rare and previously unseen memoirs along with interviews with some of John’s closest family, friends and associates.”

Looking For Lennon is being screened in The Walker Theatre at Theatre Severn on Friday (September 20) at 8pm.

Four more films are being screened as part of the event.

Backbeat – shining a light on The Beatles’ frenetic times in the sweaty and smoky clubs of Hamburg before they found global fame – shows how the band would play long into the night, and, in the process, become a sensation.

“The soundtrack for Backbeat is absolutely packed with rock and roll classics,” says Councillor Gillam.

“It really captures the fantastic energy of the early Beatles as they played show after show after show in the German port, really honing their skills and becoming a terrific rock band.”

Backbeat is being shown at 4pm on the Friday.

The third film being screened is Good Ol’ Freda (1.30pm, Saturday) – in which Beatles fan club secretary Freda Kelly tells her story for the first time in 50 years.

“This is an utterly charming and fun documentary.

“At the start of it all, Freda of course had absolutely no idea how far The Beatles would go, but she had faith in them and they had faith in her.

“It’s a compelling story. For ten years Freda was a witness to the ups and downs of life in the inner circle of the greatest band in history.

“It’s a really lovely film.”

A Hard Day’s Night is – says Councillor Gillam – “an incandescent classic.”

“In 1964 the biggest band on the planet made their big screen debut with this ground-breaking film that presented a typical day in the life of the Fab Four as they tried to outrun screaming fans.

“They find Paul’s grandfather – played by Wilfred Brambell from Steptoe and Son – and they deal with a stressed TV producer (Victor Spinetti) and make it to the show on time. It’s a lot of fun – and the music is sublime.”

The fifth film of the Shrewsbury Beatles Weekend is Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years (being screened on the Saturday at 7.30pm), a thrilling film that won five awards including the Grammy for Best Music Film in 2017.

“This is a truly amazing and exciting film that sheds new light on The Beatles on tour.”

Tickets for each of the five films are priced £8, available from the Theatre Severn box office.

In addition to the five films, Shrewsbury Beatles Weekend is hosting a sold-out concert by the acclaimed tribute band, The Mersey Beatles, on the Sunday night, plus live music events at both The Buttermarket and The Wheatsheaf in Frankwell.

A second concert by the Mersey Beatles at Theatre Severn has now been booked for September 26.

Meanwhile, Salop Leisure’s Love2Stay is hosting its own Beatles-flavoured events on Friday and Saturday, including an outdoor Beatles film screening, live music, and even pilates and yoga to Beatles music!

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