GWYN NICHOLS, PHOTOS AND THE BEATLES AUTOGRAPHS Meeting the Beatles during the filming of Help - The Beatles, 1966


Gwyn Nichols
The Story Behind

Gwyn Nichols compiled in a 16" x 20" wooden framed display a set of seven black and white photographs, a full set of Beatles autographs on one sheet of paper along with the autographs of Mal Evans and Eleanor Bron on separate sheets of autograph book from the filming of the Help! movie. A Beatles fan Gwyn Nichols had the opportunity to meet the Fabs while they were filming the "tank scene" at Salisbury Plain for the movie. The history behind this is fascinating and it involves the half hour trek of a Schoolgirl across Salisbury Plain from the town where she lived, in order to see The Beatles filming the 'I Need You' sequence of the film Help! between Monday 3rd May & Wednesday 5th May 1965. including a Chieftain Tank and the 3 Division, Royal Artillery. Taking pity on the person standing in the rain to watch, she was invited into their onsite caravan, where she obtained all the signatures displayed here. In addition, she also took seven unique black & white photographs of the Fabs and film crew as they lounged around between takes. She actually met them once and then came back several times afterwards and took some photos and hung around the set.

Gwyn Nichols wrote on her encounter with the Beatles:

“ Excitement! 1965. The Beatles had arrived!

It's the first day of filming on Salisbury Plain. Help!

Still in school uniform - straight to the film set, but disappointment. It had begun to rain.

The Beatles passed in their cars on the way back to their caravan. Quick, if we run we might catch a glimpse. Too late. We're standing in the rain, our hope now to capture some precious autographs.

Yes! God was smiling on us. Out came their "Road manager" Mal Evans with an invitation. So we entered their caravan, dripping wet. Words failed us. We are here squashed into the caravan with the Beatles!

I was facing John - he shook my hand. I promise never to wash it again. He sings my sheet of paper first. Next is Ringo, hence John name being upside down as the pad is turned around when passed on. The George who is sat next to Paul and behind me. Finally Paul sings -- pure joy. Now I have got to keep this sheet as dry as I can. The beginning of a week of excitement.

Day on Salisbury Plain, never to be forgotten and the Beatles only feet away.

We returned another day but were not able to talk to the Beatles. We did get to sit in the "bunker" talking to Elenor Bron and watching the filming of the Tank Scene. The Beatles running and leaping around before our eyes and I managed to take a few snaps of the day.”

Reuters interviewed her in 2009 and here is what she said. She added some more information about meeting the guys.

LONDON (Reuters) - Seven black-and-white photographs of the Beatles sitting on a grassy field, taken by a teenage girl on the last day of filming for their movie Help!, will be sold next week, the auctioneer said.

Gwyn Blanchard, then a 13-year-old student, trudged half an hour in the rain with a group of friends to the set of the Fab Four's second film, hoping for an autograph, but wound up being invited for a chat with her idols.

"We knew that the filming was going to happen that day. Being kids, we hatched a plan," said Blanchard, who lived near the site.

In Help!, released in 1965, the Beatles try to escape the clutches of a mysterious cult. The soundtrack includes some of the group's biggest hits, including "Ticket to Ride."

As the teenagers were walking toward the set, the Beatles drove by in their car and then went into their trailer. Blanchard and her friends decided to stand outside, and she said that for a moment, she doubted she would get her signature.

"We were just hoping that if we passed over our notebooks... just our English notebooks from school. We had them out, ready to hand them over when the door opened, and the manager said 'come get them yourselves'."

"John Lennon was sitting down in front of me," Blanchard told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I handed him my notebook first. He handed it then to Ringo and the pen wouldn't work!"

"John was the chattiest. They were joking and laughing."

Several days later she returned to the set, when the Beatles were filming the scene in which they play beside some tanks. Blanchard snapped some photographs as the band-members relaxed between takes.

"It was only a little black plastic Kodak that I had. We were actually quite close."

Blanchard said she had kept the photos and signatures in a box for several decades, but had decided to sell them.

Cameo Auctioneers, held the sale November 10, 2009. Before the auction there was also a Times article of November 6th 2009.

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