Lennon Naked – More PBS must-see TV


If artists derive creative inspiration from turmoil and despair, then John Lennon must have been the most creatively inspired artist the moment his plane landed in New York City.

I had several very immediate reactions after an early screening of tonight’s American television premiere of Lennon Naked as part of the 40th anniversary season of Masterpiece on PBS (and KERA in North Texas). The first being this is NOT your parents John Lennon. The second, I was floored to think that not only would John Lennon have turned 70 in October, but December 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of his very untimely and unfortunate death. The third, and probably the most important, Lennon’s music is more relevant today than it has ever been.

Robert Jones, the writer for Lennon Naked, said recently that he and director, Ed Coulthard, talked for over two years about how to craft the program before filming ever began. More behind-the-scenes comments from Jones in this article prior to the BBC premiere back in June 2010.

When I heard about the program over a year ago, I have to admit that I was first in line wondering if Christopher Eccleston could pull off his portrayal of John Lennon. This was based solely on a frame of reference of my only knowledge of Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who. I am now first in line to say he did a masterful job in capturing the true Lennon in a time that many people aren’t really familiar with.

Beginning with ‘the beginning of the end’ of The Beatles, Lennon Naked focuses on Lennon’s monumental internal struggles starting with his growing disdain for the studio years of the band, his growing frustration and retreat from Beatlemania, the death of Brian Epstein and, ultimately, his rapidly deteriorating family situation with Cynthia and Julian. Mix in a returning father which triggers his own deep-seated childhood abandonment issues and you have one of the story of one of the most complex artists of our time.

Ultimately, artists need inspiration. Lennon’s renewed creative inspiration came to a head when he meets Yoko, played by Naoko Mori of Torchwood fame. All in all, it’s a tense 90-minutes, but one well-worth the time. Remember, this isn’t your parents John Lennon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiNaef486ss&feature=related

  • patricia davis

    Who cares if it “isn’t your parents John Lennon” YOU don’t know what you are referencing. I am 62 years old, and AM “the parent” stereotype you refer to. YES! It is the John Lennon we knew: complex, moody, passionate, talented and finding his way….as we did as a generation and as it shows in this well done film. Get out of your narrow age defined stereotypes! Clearly YOUR view of the 60’s is narrow – not the people from the 60’s. We were kids, now we are adults. We grew and continue to grow – as they did. You: can stop your negative reference and simply give the film it’s due and cut your crap about our generation. What do YOU know?

  • patricia davis

    excellent film that shows the internal striving of a very talented man. Much the same a Paul McCartney went through as well as the Beatles evolved beyond the Beatles. A painful process enhanced by a journey with an important female. I resent the comment: this isn’t the John Lennon your parents knew. Clearly you don’t know: the 60’s was all about introspection, evaluating deep issues about the self and world, and of course both John Lennon and Paul McCartney went through that painful process as well. They represented the evolution and revolution of a generation. Of course John went through that process as the film shows. Give us a break about the “not the John Lennon your parents knew” How do YOU know what we knew? It is only your view of what you THINK we “knew”. The whole thing was, and continues to be, a evolution and revolution. Get that?

    • Patricia: Unfortunately, I think you completely misunderstood the gist of comment and put far more emphasis on it than need be. I was not, in any way, referencing what you as a knowledgeable Lennon fan knew, but was meant to merely reference that this film showed a very different John Lennon than the one that was constantly portrayed in the mainstream media. Unfortunately, many, many people at the time were casual fans of the Beatles and, therefore, casual fans of John Lennon. They would not have known who John Lennon, the individual, was. The true John Lennon that many were probably not aware of and shaped their view of him only through what was reported, especially, given the times. That said, glad you enjoyed the film overall. You’re clearly a John Lennon fan. Hopefully, you’ll be able to watch the American Masters “LENNONYC” documentary tonight on PBS.

  • patricia davis

    what does it mean “your comment is awaiting moderation”?

    • Patricia, it means your comment is awaiting approval by the moderator, which it has just been approved.