Revealed: Rumpole's unseen Beatles footage

After lying in a cupboard for 40 years, rare 8mm film and stills by 'Help!' co-star Leo McKern are being sold by his daughter
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The Independent Online

Remarkable rare footage of the Beatles larking about in the snow and ice on an Austrian mountain lay hidden away for almost four decades. But now the home movie, shot by the actor Leo McKern, is to be auctioned two years after his death.

Until now the 8mm reel, which contains about five minutes of footage of the Beatles relaxing off screen during the filming of Help!, had been tucked away in a cupboard at McKern's home. It also includes them joking about with co-stars Victor Spinetti and Roy Kinnear.

Now McKern's daughter, the actress Abigail McKern, is to sell the home movie along with a series of photographs at Bonhams in July because, she admits, she needs the money.

Perhaps best known now for his portrayal of the bumbling but highly principled barrister Horace Rumpole, created by Sir John Mortimer, McKern was a keen amateur photographer who would often let his own camera roll on set.Abigail McKern was with her father, who played the cult leader Clang in Help!, for filming in Austria and the Bahamas and still fondly remembers her experiences as a 10-year-old.

"I shared a toboggan with Ringo - we came pelting down a snow-covered hill," she remembered. "But my father said I mustn't pester them because their privacy was important to them. At the end of the trip I got a signed Beatles photo as my reward for not pestering them too much.

"Apart from very occasionally showing it to friends, nobody has seen the film before," added the actress, 49, who is currently appearing with Dame Diana Rigg in the West End.

"It just seemed crazy to keep it in a dark cupboard and hopefully we can make some money out of it. I'm a theatre actress. It's not great money and my sister is a film-maker and it seemed an ideal time to sell my father's legacy. Both my sister and I are in dodgy financial circumstances."

The film is expected to fetch around £6,000 and the collection of 19 photographs should get a similar price. Bonhams will sell the items in a sale at its Knightsbridge branch on 13 July.