It’s daunting to play Brian Epstein in the theatre that bears his name, ex-Coronation Street star Andrew Lancel tells Laura Davis
MANY people have a claim to the title of “the Fifth Beatle” – Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Shotton, George Martin. But surely the main contender has to be their Rodney Street-born first manager Brian Epstein.
It was Epstein who spotted them playing in the Cavern Club, he who paid for the recording of their first demo tape and he who travelled up and town the country persuading record companies that the four lads from Liverpool just had to be seen.
When George Martin signed The Beatles to EMI, it was Epstein’s confidence in the band’s future success that swayed him.
The man who is to play the “Man Who Made The Beatles” in a new show about his life – at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre, naturally – is on holiday in France when I call him to find out about the role.
Andrew Lancel, fresh from playing nasty Frank Foster in Coronation Street, is already getting into character.
“I’m sure Epstein approve of my still selling his show while sitting on the beach,” he laughs.
“But of course then there were no mobile phones, no telex, no internet but he still managed to shape popular culture from a phone at Moorfields.
“These days if somebody farts in Mexico you can see it on YouTube in five minutes, but a phone was all he had. It really does show how amazing he was.”
Born in 1934, Epstein, who grew up in Childwall, did not immediately gravitate to the music industry.