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20 January 2005


A Hard Day's Fight ' - Trouble at the Top -  
BBC2 January 25th 9.50pm

Liverpool's new fab four - Dave, Bill, George and Ray - are the power behind the city's thriving Beatles Industry.
Owners of the Magical Mystery Tour and the legendary Cavern Club, they are prepared to risk everything to achieve their business dream - the world's first Beatles-themed hotel.

    The 'Hard Day's Night' Hotel proposes to be a 120-bedroomed state-of-the-art hotel - the ultimate shrine to their heroes.

    Starting at sub-basement level, the plans link the basement of their city centre site, via a tunnel, right into their own Cavern Club: 'Where it all began.' Each floor would be dedicated to a Beatles album: each room uniquely decorated with murals, created by Hollywood's favourite airbrush artiste, Shannon. No space will be wasted in telling the musical history of the Beatles. Even the rooftop will have a penthouse-suite designed to echo the Rooftop Concert, where the Beatles played their last ever gig.

    Cavern City Tours , their company, was founded in 1985 by schoolteacher Bill Heckle and taxi driver Dave Jones as a consequence of John Lennon's death. Millions of fans flocked to the city to grieve and Liverpool was unprepared.

    "The catalyst for me was when a cabbie pulled up beside me on the rank and boasted how he had just made a packet. He had taken some Japansese tourists to Sefton Park; told them it was Strawberry Fields. Those people had travelled half way round the world on a pilgrimage and that dope showed them a bit of grass - after that I thought to myself something has to be done to cater for these people." Dave Jones.

    So Dave and Bill used their savings to buy a 1950's bus and painted it up to look like the bus in the film 'Magical Mystery Tour.' With Apple's blessing, they acted as tour guides, taking people round all the iconic city locations relevant to the Beatles. Overnight their business became a roaring success. Up to 500 people a week started taking the tours and Dave and Bill gave up their day jobs to focus solely on the Beatles business.

    In 1991 an opportunity arose for them to buy the Cavern Club, so with a third partner, George Guinness, they expanded their empire. Ray Johnston then joined the business as a booking manager for the Cavern. With the popularity of their tours they teamed up with Liverpool Council to run a week-long 'Beatles Convention' every August Bank Holiday Weekend. Beatles tribute bands from all over the world flocked to Liverpool to play in a carnival atmosphere.

Then in 1992 Bill had a dream to turn the grade II listed building next door to the Cavern into the 'Hard Days Night Hotel.'

So, flushed with success, they bought the building and, confident the project would go ahead, threw all the paying tenants out. From 1997 to 2001 they experienced a series of disasters as developer after developer pulled out of the project. Soon they had poured a million pounds of company profits into a what was now becoming a derelict building.

    This film follows their struggle from 1997 to 2016  - as they strive to keep their dream alive.

    Hotel Information Line  +44 (0)151 236 1964


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