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Ian Hart (front and centre) plays John Lennon in 'Backbeat'
Ian Hart (front and centre) plays John Lennon in ‘Backbeat’

If you haven’t seen the Liverpudlian actor Ian Hart – who you may remember as the turbanned Professor Quirrell in the first Harry Potter movie – playing John Lennon, this post isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense, but trust me, he’s really, really good at it.

He first played our Beatle hero in 1991’s The Hours And Times, a fictional account of a Spanish holiday John took with Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in 1963.

And then again in 1994, in the Lennon/Stuart Sutcliffe biopic Backbeat:

And now, as if by magic, he’s going to play Lennon for a third time, in a one-off TV comedy for Sky 1 on March 21.

Snodgrass is based on a short story by Ian R. McLeod which imagines what would have happened if John had walked out on the Beatles in 1962.

After releasing “Love Me Do,” and taking it to No.17 in the UK charts, the band were expected to record a contemporary ditty called “How Do You Do It?” rather than another of their own songs. But they refused, cutting a cursory demo for Gerry and the Pacemakers to work from (they got to No.1 with it), and then steaming into a sparkling new song called “Please Please Me.”

Snodgrass tells that story differently. We see a 50 year old John, who quit in disgust over the “How Do You Do It?” issue, and therefore never toured the world, never met Yoko, never wrote all of those songs, now living in Birmingham (UK, not the one in Alabama) and watching his former band not only still together, but still touring.

The TV adaptation of Ian’s story has been written by the gloriously talented music and comedy writer David Quantick, with musical help from Martin Carr, songwriter for Liverpudlian band the Boo Radleys.

And if it sounds like a rum idea, at least it can’t be worse than this:


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By Fraser McAlpine