“Yellow Submarine”

Not a Beatles film this, not really. The Fab Four had made two feature length films but wanted no more, so they gave permission, and four unused songs, for this 1968 animated classic.

The plot: Pepperland is invaded by the Blue Meanies and their fiendish army to destroy all jollity and the repress the population. Old/young Fred is sent to Liverpool to get help.

The parts of the film were done by different animators, explaining the changes in style (not a bad thing). Involved were TVC, who later made The Snowman.

As well as the four new songs, oldies but goodies were included, for example All You Need Is Love, Nowhere Man, When I’m Sixty-Four and many more. The orchestral score, partly based on Beatle tunes, was by George Martin.

The lads did not do their own voices. They could have, and I suspect they regretted it at the end when they saw just how good the film was. Instead, the voices were by stalwart British comedians/actors such as Dick Emery, John Clive, Geoffrey Hughes and Lance Percival. The Beatles appear at the end, very briefly.

It’s a wonderful film, funny and clever and taking inspiration from many great songs.

A highlight for us is the Eleanor Rigby scene near the start, perfectly capturing the gloom of northern England.


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“Thunderbirds Are Go”/”Thunderbird 6”

The 1960s was a high spot in British television. The Avengers, The Prisoner, Dr Who, The Saint, great drama and, of course, the series created by Gerry Anderson. Many, most of his at this time were marionettes: Fireball XL5, Supercar, Stingray and Captain Scarlet (kind of, no strings), but the best of all and most beloved was Thunderbirds.

The Tracy family live on, er Tracy Island. They spend their time saving people from dangerous situations, all the time maintaining their secrecy, except when they don’t. We never understood this – weren’t people in danger somewhere all the time, and what did the other rescue services ever do?

The series was good at the start but became dull and all Lady Penelope nonsense by the end. It only ran for 32 episodes, barely two series, but still gets big audiences if it is shown today.