The Beatles’ Christmas Show was a variety stage production at London’s Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park. It ran from 24 December 1963 to 11 January 1964. Other acts on the bill were: Barron Knights and Duke D’Mond, Tommy Quickly and The Fourmost, Billy J Kramer, Cilla Black and Rolf Harris.
Traditional British Christmas shows, even music concerts, always included a pantomime. George later said,
We didn’t like doing pantomime, so we did our own show, more or less like a pop show, but we kept appearing every few minutes dressed up…for a laugh.
The Beatles performed a couple of songs, trotted offstage and came back dressed up in ridiculous costumes after the other performers on the bill perform. Next, the boys performed a sketch or two and then run backstage, take off the rubbish outfits as other acts filled in, and come back onstage to eventually perform the show’s finale. Tony Barrow, The Beatles press officer once recalled,
The Beatles were never much for rehearsing. That never really mattered as far as songs were concerned, but the fact that they were so bad at doing the sketches was an added extra for the Christmas shows – it was organised chaos but it was very funny chaos.
The Beatles’ Set List for the Christmas Shows
1. Roll Over Beethoven
2. All My Loving
3. This Boy
4. I Wanna Be Your Man
5. She Loves You
6. Till There Was You
7. I Want to Hold Your Hand
8. Money (That’s What I Want)
9. Twist and Shout