Unseen for decades: lost Beatles and Eric Morecambe pictures found in collection of late Herts Ad photographer
PUBLISHED: 11:58 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 19 October 2020
Long-lost early photos of The Beatles on TV’s Morecambe and Wise Show have been uncovered in the collection of a late Herts Ad photographer.
The pictures were taken by Tony “Greg” Gregory, a prolific contributor to the paper who passed away in 2013.
He photographed royalty and many leading personalities over the years including the Queen, the Queen Mother, Sir Winston Churchill and King Faisal of Iraq, film stars including Sophia Loren and Roger Moore, stage stars Alfie Bass and David Kossoff and comedian Eric Morecambe who lived in Harpenden.
His widow Hazel passed over a selection of his archive to the Herts Ad, including a photo and negative of The Beatles, and accompanying contract strip showing them with funnyman Eric, but these only recently came to light during a trawl through the vast collection of pictures.
According to notes on the envelope containing the main image, the pictures were taken at ATV’s Elstree Studio Centre in Borehamwood on Monday December 2 1963, for an episode of the Morecambe and Wise Show broadcast on the ITV network on April 18 the following year.
The band, wearing boaters and striped blazers, performed four songs including This Boy, All My Loving, I Want To Hold Your Hand, and Moonlight Bay alongside Eric and Ernie.
They also appeared in a comedy sketch which saw Eric mistaking the Beatles for the 1950s singing trio the Kaye Sisters and calling Ringo “Bongo”.
An audio recording of the latter song can be found on The Beatles rarities album Anthology 1.
Greg’s contact strip images from the shoot were tiny, and needed scanning at a high resolution to make them suitable for publication. They show George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney interacting with Eric, and also who appears to be Greg himself in the rear of one picture, peering out at the assembled entertainers.
The whereabouts of Greg’s other photos from the show remains unknown, but we are proud to honour his rich legacy by publishing the pictures we do have for the first time in decades, celebrating not only some of the greatest entertainers in British popular culture, but also the talents of the Herts Ad’s all-time greatest photographer.