Beatles documentary to be directed by Ron Howard

The Beatles, in 1964 The documentary will look at the early days of Beatlemania

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Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is to direct a documentary about the early years of the Beatles.

The film, which is being made in co-operation with Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono, will focus on 1961 to 1966.

It will follow the Fab Four's journey from Liverpool's Cavern Club to their last public concert in San Francisco.

Howard called it an "astounding story" of "four young men who stormed the world in 1964".

"Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated," added Howard, whose acclaimed films include Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon and A Beautiful Mind.

Howard will once again team with renowned producer Brian Grazer, with whom he collaborated on films including The Da Vinci Code and more recently, Rush. The pair set up production company Imagine Entertainment in 1986.

The Beatles began touring Europe in late 1963 but became global celebrities with their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in the US in 1964.

"The way the Beatles burst on to the scene in Britain was an overwhelming social, cultural and musical phenomenon, but was even then eclipsed by that extraordinary explosion on the American scene and then the world," said Grammy award-winning producer Nigel Sinclair.

The band embarked on their first world tour months later, eventually bringing the tour to a close in 1966 - by which time they had performed 166 concerts in 90 cities around the world.

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