The Arena Hotel is a ground-breaking online project for The Space, the new digital arts service developed by the Arts Council in partnership with the BBC. For the first time, Arena, the multi-award winning BBC television arts series, is opening up its unique archive in an innovative and entertaining new format to offer audiences the chance to watch exclusive material.
In association with Apple Films, Arena has been granted unique access to some very special unseen footage of the Beatles during the making of a documentary about their 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour and is showing it exclusively at The Arena Hotel at thespace.org
Arena has cut this unseen footage to make a new short in which the Beatles take you on a magical coach trip from the Hotel to a classic British fish and chip shop. Shot en route to Newquay, the final destination of the Magical Mystery Tour, the film is available to view exclusively on The Space.
The film shows the Beatles relaxed and sharing fish and chips with their fellow passengers from the Magical Mystery Tour coach in a chippy in Taunton.
Magical Mystery Tour was first broadcast as the centrepiece of the BBC’s Boxing Day schedule in 1967. It confused and alienated audiences, was savaged by the critics and, aside from a muted appearance on BBC Two in 1979, has not been shown since.
From Tuesday, audiences can visit The Arena Hotel on The Space (www.thespace.org) to get their first glimpse of this never before seen footage from the cutting room floor of the Magical Mystery Tour.
And this Saturday 6 October at 21.45 on BBC Two, Arena: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour Revisited presents a new documentary which reassesses the artistic merit and cultural significance of the film before treating viewers to the digitally remastered full length Magical Mystery Tour – for the first time in 33 years.
Arena Editor, Anthony Wall says, “Few people have seen Magical Mystery Tour in its entirety and the material in the chip shop has never been shown anywhere. It captures perfectly the fabulous world of The Beatles at this time. They’re happily sharing a simple meal with the other passengers on the coach as the astonished residents of Taunton gather outside and at the same time creating an extraordinarily avant garde film, which of course would soon be broadcast by the BBC to a dumbstruck nation.”
In a project exclusively for The Space, Arena is opening up its unique film archive to the public, and making it available through The Arena Hotel. Guests can browse clips from the programme’s archive of 600 films, presented in the fully immersive environment of a virtual hotel.
Anthony Wall continues, “The Arena Hotel is the perfect place to enjoy clips like this – it’s a philosophically different way of presenting and experiencing archive. We’re trying to offer a kind of matrix of material from which guests spin their own narratives. In this case they are free to make all sorts of unprescribed connections between the Beatles film and other weird and wonderful characters and phenomena that you can experience in the hotel.”
Arena: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour is on BBC Two, Saturday 6th October, 21.45 GMT
© Apple Films Ltd for all images.