John Lennon reimagined as a washed-up a shirker aged 50

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

They had a famously stormy relationship but what if John and Paul had never even made it to their first No 1 together?

That’s the premise for a new short film which imagines what might have happened if John Lennon had quit The Beatles before they hit the big time in 1962.

According to Snodgrass, which airs on Sky Arts 1 on 25 April, Lennon would have ended up on the dole, shirking rent and work and living on memories of past glories.

The washed-up, 50-year-old Lennon is played by Ian Hart. He has played the young singer twice before – in Backbeat and The Hours and Times. This new script, from a short story by Ian R MacLeod, gives the actor, who at 48 is eight years older than Lennon when he died, another chance.

“The moment you’re 41, generally it’s quite hard to play Lennon”, says comedy writer David Quantick (Brass Eye), who adapted the story for the screen. “There have been a lot of John Lennon dramas over the years and they’re always hidebound by history. We were able to throw it all away.”

In a neat extra hit of Scouse nostalgia, the soundtrack is by Martin Carr, ex-Boo Radleys, who makes a cameo as a busker. Old musicians never die.

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