The Scala Theatre – the television theatre that never was

In 1964 the Beatles made their first film – A Hard Day’s Night.  Much of the film is centred on a television show being recorded in a ‘television theatre’.  We see many shots of the stage and auditorium as well as backstage.  On each side of the auditorium is a control room with windows overlooking the stalls.  On stage are four EMI 203 cameras and we can see the shots they are taking on the monitors in the production gallery.

In fact this was all created for the film and the scenes were shot over a week.  Possibly the Scala might have made a good TV theatre but it was at the time an ordinary theatre, famous for its annual Christmas show of Peter Pan.  It was sited in Charlotte Street, off Tottenham Court Road. Sadly, it was demolished in 1969.

One wonders why the filmmakers did not use an existing television theatre.  At the time, London had the BBC TV Theatre, Granada’s Chelsea Palace and the Granville was also available as an independent studio.  However, for whatever reason they chose to create a fully working studio just for the film.