The Australian Broadcasting Commission's 'TV Times' magazine contained stories about programs and personalities on television. This cover of the New South Wales edition from March 1964 illustrates the rising popularity of the Beatles and their prominence on television in the weeks before their Australian tour.
Australian viewers had the opportunity to watch the Beatles on British shows like 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' and, from the USA, 'The Ed Sullivan Show'. ITV's 1963 special 'Around the Beatles' set a new record for the highest amount paid for the rights to screen a program on Australian TV. There were Beatle appearances on a 'Ready Steady Go' special, on a show called 'The Big Night Out' and on another called 'The Mersey Sound'.
When the group arrived in Australia, early on the wet and windy winter's morning of 11 June, local TV stations scrambled to present programs with Beatle content. The two commercial stations, Channel 7 and Channel 9, broadcast direct telecasts of the group's chaotic arrival at Sydney airport. Channel 9 placed cameras inside the Chevron Hotel, pointed at the Sheraton Hotel directly opposite, where the Beatles had arrived in their wet clothing, seeking some rest. Even the ABC became involved. On the same day, Channel 2 ran a 30 minute special hosted by Kit Denton, broadcast at 8pm as 'B-Day'. There were Beatle bulletins and updates on television. During the group's two day visit to Adelaide, NWS-9 presented six programs a day, hosted by Ernie Sigley. ADS-7 had a Beatle Bulletin each day.
For many Australian fans the most important Beatles TV appearance came on 1 July when Channel 9 broadcast the final Melbourne concert (videotaped at Festival Hall on 17 June) as 'The Beatles Sing for Shell'.
Curator, Australian history & society