The press had built up The Beatles – the Mop Tops, the Fab Four – and were shocked when they no longer wanted to play the game.
In January 1967, Paul appeared on a TV show called 'Scene', defending London's counterculture, asking the public to look at it open-mindedly.
By the end of 1967, The Beatles had made Sgt. Pepper and self-directed the film Magical Mystery Tour.
Many of the British public were confused by Magical Mystery Tour - they didn't understand what The Beatles were trying to do, or why. Paul had to go on The Frost Programme to defend their efforts.
The BBC wrote a damning report of the film's public reception, to which one, elderly viewer (who had not previously heard of The Beatles) articulately responded. It seemed that, gradually, the influence of psychedelia and 'alternative' London at the time had found routes to more mainstream culture that didn't have to be as polarising. Some said it was The Beatles' special ability to explore new ground whilst staying connected to their roots that made them who they were.
Paul's 'Script' For Magical Myster Tour
Filming "Aunt Jessie's Dream" for Magical Mystery Tour
It is so interesting, that Magical Mystery Tour could only have been made in a climate that The Beatles had themselves created… It is with Sergeant Pepper that Western culture makes a sharp veer in lifestyle.
BBC Audience Research Report of Magical Mystery Tour (page 1) - 1967
It was a very bold and challenging thing to do; completely in the spirit of the times and very radical in terms of the history of film-making.
Ringo, during the shooting of Magical Mystery Tour
George directs a cameraman during the filming of "Magical Mystery Tour"
A lot of people are too scared, too afraid to step that far out but not The Beatles – they weren’t afraid.