An 11 second snippet of the Beatles’ only live appearance on Top of the Pops, which was thought to have been be lost, has been unearthed in Mexico.

Paperback Writer on Top of The Pops

The silent snippet is all that exists of the Fab Four miming to Paperback Writer on the BBC pop show in 1966. The original tapes were not kept, but it was recorded by a viewer filming their TV set with an 8mm camera. The footage was shot by a family in Liverpool and eventually fell into the hands of a collector in Mexico.

The collector contacted Kaleidoscope, a Birmingham-based organisation specialising in locating previously missing TV footage. “I think if you’re a Beatles fans, it’s the holy grail,” Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry said. “People thought it was gone forever because videotape wasn’t kept in 1966. To find it all these years later was stunning.”

Speaking about the discovery, Dr Dori Howard, a lecturer in The Beatles and Popular Music at Liverpool Hope University, said: “It’s crazy, what are the chances? I would say it’s a really big find.”

It’s a curious discovery because The Beatles help deliver the conservation message in The Earth Emperor’s Eye – perhaps it’s a sign the Earth Emperor yearns for the novel to be discovered!

Update: A full version of the video is now available:

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