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Gary Crowley presents a special John Lennon birthday screening of Imagine: John Lennon



October 9
6:30 pm
Event Category:


The Exchange
Twickenham, London + Google Map

Featuring a Q&A with writer and Lennon biographer
Ray Connolly

BBC Radio London’s Gary Crowley returns to The Exchange for another of his popular Sunday evening Q&As.

Ahead of a special John Lennon birthday screening of the powerful documentary Imagine: John Lennon (1988), Gary will be joined by writer and John Lennon biographer, Ray Connolly.

Gary makes no secret of his love of The Beatles so this promises to a truly fab gear evening.

  • Sunday 9th October | 6:30pm
  • Tickets £15 General Admission | £12.50 *Limited* Early Bird
  • Show will finish at 9:45pm





Imagine: John Lennon (1988)

Directed by Andrew Solt

Written by Andrew Solt and Sam Egan

Produced by Andrew Solt and David L. Wolper

Narrated by John Lennon

Cinematography by Nestor Almendros

Distributed by Warner Brothers

Released October 7th 1988

Run time 106 mins

Imagine: John Lennon with its wealth of archival footage and narration gives a humorous and poignant account of the iconic musician’s career and life.
released on 7 October 1988, two days before Lennon’s 48th birthday (and nearly eight years after his death) chronicles Lennon’s life and musical career as a member of The Beatles as a solo artist. It features recordings that had not been released prior to the film: an acoustic demo of Real Love taped in 1979 (an alternate recording of which would be finished by the remaining Beatles for 1996’s Anthology 2) and a rehearsal take of Imagine in mid-1971 before the final take was captured. The film was commissioned by Yoko Ono in 1986.

This screening will take place on Sunday October 9th – on what would have been John Lennon’s 82nd birthday.


Imagine; John Lennon is narrated by John Lennon from over 100 hours of interviews, and also features interviews with his first wife Cynthia Lennon; his second wife Yoko Ono; his sonsJulian and Sean Lennon; record producer George Martin; and his and Ono’s personal assistant May Pang. Lennon discusses living with his aunt Mimi during his early childhood, as well as his relationship with his mother Julia prior to her death when he was a teenager. He recalls meeting Paul McCartney and forming The Beatles with him,George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Lennon and his first wife Cynthia recount that his massively successful career with The Beatles inhibited him from helping raise their son Julian.

Lennon’s career as a member of the Beatles is chronicled, including his writing of the song Help!, the controversy that ensued in the United States after Lennon remarked that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”, and the release of the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Lennon recalls meeting Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery in London, where she was preparing an art exhibit. Some months later, Ono visited Lennon at his home, where they recorded Two Virgins After divorcing Cynthia, Lennon married Ono, and the two spent their honeymoon advocating for peace with their Bed-Ins For Peace campaigns. The documentary shows a heated exchange between Lennon, Ono, and cartoonist Al Capp at a bed-in in Montreal, Canada, with Capp criticising the cover artwork of Two Virgins and the couple’s motivations for the bed-in, as well as insulting Ono.

Following The Beatles’ break up Lennon and Ono continued their peace activism. The film includes footage of New York Times journalist Gloria Emerson expressing scepticism towards Lennon and Ono’s anti-war campaigning, much to Lennon’s annoyance. Lennon is shown recording songs for his album Imagine including How Do You Sleep? and Oh, Yoko!, as well as performing live at a concert at Madison Square Garden. Also shown is footage of Lennon interacting with a young drifter who appeared at his estate in Tittenhurst Park in Surrey asking about the deeper meanings of the lyrics of Beatles songs; Lennon expresses that he writes songs about himself and his life, or simply writes “nonsense songs”, and invites the man inside for a meal.

Lennon’s ‘lost weekend’, an 18-month period which he spent separated from Ono in Los Angeles and New York City in the company of May Pang, is briefly touched on. The film also notes attempts by the US government to deport Lennon. Lennon discusses the birth of his son Sean, his ensuing hiatus from the music industry, and the subsequent release of the album Double Fantasy. With the murder of Lennon in 1980 in hindsight, Ono, Cynthia, Julian and Sean provide some closing thoughts about him and their relationships with him.


Ray Connolly has written novels, movies, television films and series, radio plays, short stories and much journalism. Brought up in Lancashire, after graduating from the London School of Economics – where he read social anthropology – he began a career in journalism as a sub-editor at the Liverpool Daily Post. Between 1967 and 1973 he wrote a weekly interview column for the London Evening Standard – concentrating mainly on popular culture and music. Since then he has written for the Sunday Times, The Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer and the Daily Mail.

Working with producer David Puttnam, he wrote the original screenplays for the films That’ll Be The Day and Stardust, and wrote and directed the feature length documentary James Dean: The First American Teenager. He has also written for television, most notably the films Forever Young and Defrosting The Fridge, and the series Lytton’s Diary and Perfect Scoundrels. He also co-wrote the George Martin documentary trilogy about music, The Rhythm of Life, for BBC2.

His first novel, A Girl Who Came To Stay, was published in 1973, and has been followed by several others, including Sunday Morning, Shadows On A Wall and Love Out Of Season. There have also been the biographies Being Elvis – A Lonely Life and Being John Lennon – A Restless Life. His latest novella, ‘Sorry, Boys, You Failed the Audition’, which is based on a play he originally wrote for Radio 4, was published in book form in 2019

For radio he wrote Lost Fortnight, which was about Raymond Chandler in Hollywood, and Unimaginable, which concerned the 24 hours around the death of John Lennon, whom he was due to see on the day the former Beatle was murdered. In 2010 he adapted one strand of his novel Love Out Of Season as the radio play God Bless Our LoveHe is married to Plum Connolly, has three children and two grandchildren, and lives in London..


Gary Crowley is an English broadcaster, TV presenter and DJ. While still at school in the late 1970s Gary Crowley founded the new wave fanzine “The Modern World” interviewing many of the most significant bands of the day including The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Jam.

On leaving school in 1978 Crowley took up a junior position at Decca Records before joining the staff of the NME, taking over from Danny Baker as the telephone receptionist at their offices in Carnaby Street. At this time the weekly music paper was at the centre of the post punk explosion.

Crowley’s knowledge and passion for music attracted the attention of broadcasters and in 1982 he was hired by London’s independent commercial station Capital Radio, and aged 19 became the youngest radio DJ in the UK. Throughout the 1980s Gary Crowley became a prolific broadcaster / promoter, hosting regular club night where he showcased many prominent chart acts at early points in their career, including The Style Council, The Bluebells, Wham! and others. TV presenting followed and he was the main face on programmes such as Earsay, ReVid, Poparound and The Beat through the 80’s and 90’s.

Gary has worked within the music industry in many guises but his true love and passion is radio broadcasting. He continues to present the Saturday early evening show on Radio BBC London.

This year saw the follow up release “Gary Crowley Lost 80s 2” to the acclaimed Top 40 compilation ‘Gary Crowley’s Lost 80’s’ which again is another eclectic collection of under the radar gems from major 80s names as well as those who got away.

A long time champion of new music, he’s given many new bands/artists their first taste of radio exposure, with the likes of Suede, Dodgy and Bush in particular all going into bigger and better things.

Fortunate to have met a lot of his ‘heroes’ and make friends with a few, as Gene Hunt once said in Life On Mars “he’s got more fingers in more pies than a leper on a cookery course!”

Twitter: @crowleyonair | Facebook: @garycrowleyonair