The Beatles' only live Top of the Pops performance has finally been found

9 April 2019, 10:24

By Tom Eames

An 11-second clip of The Beatles' only live performance on the Top of the Pops has been found decades after it was first recorded.

The silent video is sadly all that exists of the Fab Four miming along to 'Paperback Writer' on the iconic music show in 1966.

The original tapes were not kept at the time, but it was thankfully recorded by a viewer filming their TV set with an 8mm camera.

Read more: The Beatles announce a new movie featuring never-before-seen footage

The footage was taken by a family in Liverpool, and it eventually arrived with a collector in Mexico.

The collector then contacted Kaleidoscope, a Birmingham-based company that specialises in finding missing TV footage.

"I think if you're a Beatles fans, it's the holy grail," Kaleidoscope's Chris Perry told BBC News, where you can see the short clip.

"People thought it was gone forever because videotape wasn't kept in 1966. To find it all these years later was stunning."

The Beatles pre-recorded songs for Top of the Pops on several occasions, but only appeared live on the show once, on June 16, 1966.

Beatles lost Top of the Pops footage
Beatles lost Top of the Pops footage. Picture: BBC/Kaleidoscope

The rediscovered clip will be screened at the BFI in London, as part of the Music Believed Wiped showcase on April 20.

Dr Dori Howard, a lecturer in The Beatles and Popular Music at Liverpool Hope University, said: "It's crazy, what are the chances? I would say it's a really big find."

Meanwhile, a missing episode of Top of the Pops from 1969, featuring The Beatles' promotional video for their single 'Something', has also been discovered.

The Music Believed Wiped screening will also include highlights of 240 musical performances, such as Elton John singing 'Rocket Man', T Rex's number one 'Metal Guru', and a special Slade performance from 1975.