With Rosemary’s Baby, the Bible follow-up A.D, and its live-production of The Sound Of Music, NBC has been making great strides into the arena of event programming. Now, that strategy looks set to continue with the development of an eight episode show about The Beatles.
The limited event series is coming from the team that delivered the highly successful show The Tudors – which ran from 2007-2010, and kicked the careers of stars Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Henry Cavill and Natalie Dormer into high gear. The Tudors creator Michael Hirst will write the Beatles show, while powerhouse executives Ben Silverman and Teri Weinberg will executive produce, hoping to recreate the phenomenal response met by their look at Henry VIII’s reign. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt unites the team, having originally greenlit The Tudors when he headed up Showtime.
The Beatles are among the most iconic and influential music groups of all time. When the teenage Paul McCartney met the teenage John Lennon in July 1957 – joining his fledgling skiffle band – little did they know that in six short years, and with the addition of George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they would progress from the clubs of Liverpool and Hamburg to the recording studios of London. Manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin would lead them to deliver their first ever album, featuring their first ever number one singles, and Beatlemania would be born.
With the exception of the five films that The Fab Four feature in themselves, there have been precious few attempts to bring their whole story to the screen – either big or small. Those that have focus heavily on the late John Lennon – though 1994’s Backbeat told the little-known story of early Beatles member Stuart Sutcliffe, who died in 1962 following a brain aneurysm. A significant obstacle to any dramatization of The Beatles’ story is always gaining access to the group’s musical back catalogue, but news that this NBC event series is in early development gives encouraging signs that The Tudors team may have cleared that hurdle, leaving the field clear to race ahead toward the finish line.
There is currently no real estimate of when The Beatles series might reach our screens, but we can assume that casting announcements will be made once writer Michael Hirst delivers his final script.