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Travel bosses urge Boris Johnson to drop blanket restrictions on countries amid row over quarantine

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travel bosses urge boris johnson to drop blanket restrictions on countries amid row over quarantine

Travel bosses last night urged Boris Johnson to drop blanket restrictions on whole countries as the row over quarantine rules escalated.

Amid signs of a major revolt, a coalition of 47 airlines, airports and tourism leaders also called on him to introduce virus tests for those arriving in the UK – warning the industry could be ‘permanently scarred’.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the bosses of British Airways, Easy Jet, Jet2 and Wizz Air demanded the ‘urgent’ adoption of a more ‘nuanced’ policy. 

The signatories also included chief executives of Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Liverpool, London City, Newcastle, Belfast, Birmingham and Bristol airports.

Travelbosses last night urged Boris Johnson to drop blanket restrictions on whole countries as the row over quarantine rules escalated. Pictured: Hotel beaches in Majorca were empty today

Travelbosses last night urged Boris Johnson to drop blanket restrictions on whole countries as the row over quarantine rules escalated. Pictured: Hotel beaches in Majorca were empty today

Travelbosses last night urged Boris Johnson to drop blanket restrictions on whole countries as the row over quarantine rules escalated. Pictured: Hotel beaches in Majorca were empty today

They called for the introduction of ‘regional travel corridors’ to replace blanket measures that mean those arriving from any part of an at-risk country have to quarantine for 14 days. 

They suggested this could allow holidaymakers to resume travel to the Spanish islands and some US states.

But as he returned to the UK last night having cut short his own family holiday to Spain, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the Government’s decision to require travellers from the country to isolate for 14 days.

He expressed sympathy with holidaymakers’ frustrations at the change brought in with just a few hours’ notice on Saturday evening, but insisted it was the ‘right thing to do’.

Mr Shapps said: ‘I very much understand, it obviously had an impact on me and my family and I’m very, very sorry and upset for the thousands of Brits who are either away or perhaps even haven’t managed to go away this summer as well to Spain.

‘But it’s absolutely essential we acted when we did, it’s why all four nations of the United Kingdom acted together and the figures since have turned out to justify that action.

A coalition of 47 airlines, airports and tourism leaders also called on him to introduce virus tests for those arriving in the UK – warning the industry could be ‘permanently scarred’. Pictured: Sunbathers on Bournemouth beach today

A coalition of 47 airlines, airports and tourism leaders also called on him to introduce virus tests for those arriving in the UK – warning the industry could be ‘permanently scarred’. Pictured: Sunbathers on Bournemouth beach today

A coalition of 47 airlines, airports and tourism leaders also called on him to introduce virus tests for those arriving in the UK – warning the industry could be ‘permanently scarred’. Pictured: Sunbathers on Bournemouth beach today

‘We have to, I think, have a clear message and make sure we act by adding entire countries to that list for the time being.’

He said the Government had considered excluding certain Spanish islands from the measures but chief medical officer Chris Whitty ‘was very clear with us that he was concerned about the data’.

He added: ‘It had doubled in just a few days. He was concerned to see what was happening in the islands and that’s why we make it a whole-country approach in these things.’

Pressure was last night growing on the Government to offer travellers coronavirus tests when they arrive in this country.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye yesterday warned holidaymakers face a disastrous ‘quarantine roulette’ unless the airport testing is adopted. He proposed that travellers are tested on arrival before going into quarantine. 

They would have a second test five or eight days later and – if clear – go back to normal life.Former Cabinet minister David Davis last night supported the suggestion, saying: ‘Vienna has been doing this for months. I don’t understand why we haven’t.’

In their joint letter, travel bosses argued testing has ‘the potential to be a game-changing additional tool for authorities to safely open up travel without quarantine from countries or regions deemed higher risk, such as the United States’.

The group also called for blanket quarantine restrictions on arrivals from whole countries to be replaced by regional ones. 

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the travelbosses of British Airways, Easy Jet, Jet2 and Wizz Air demanded the ‘urgent’ adoption of a more ‘nuanced’ policy

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the travelbosses of British Airways, Easy Jet, Jet2 and Wizz Air demanded the ‘urgent’ adoption of a more ‘nuanced’ policy

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the travelbosses of British Airways, Easy Jet, Jet2 and Wizz Air demanded the ‘urgent’ adoption of a more ‘nuanced’ policy

They wrote: ‘This would allow for quarantine-free travel to unaffected parts of a country, including not just Spain but other key markets for trade and tourism like the United States and Canada.’

The industry leaders wrote that the introduction of quarantine measures for Spain at the weekend had been the ‘latest significant blow to a sector which now risks being permanently scarred’.

They added: ‘We fully support the objective of maintaining public health and supporting travel only where safe to do so. 

However, the lack of a more targeted approach to quarantine and travel advice will simply further damage the travel and hospitality sector by creating uncertainty.’ 

Latest figures from Spain yesterday showed 1,153 new virus infections in the past 24 hours, down 700 from the previous day. 

Ministers are understood to be considering if airport esting could be used to ease quarantine restrictions, but sources last night insisted there were no imminent changes planned.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday stressed there was ‘no viable alternative to the 14-day quarantine’. He said: ‘It (coronavirus) can incubate over a period of time, so there’s not a silver bullet of just testing immediately at the border.’

Q&A: How we could test our way out of travel trouble 

How could testing passengers as they arrive in the UK help?

Giving travellers the ‘all clear’ from coronavirus as soon as possible would curtail their period of quarantine.

This would allow them to go back to working and spending – both crucial for the survival of Britain’s economy.

Research suggests testing passengers on arrival would catch around 50 per cent of those who are infected. However, some period of quarantine would still be necessary for those testing negative.

This is because many infected people would slip through the first test because it takes on average five to six days to begin displaying symptoms after exposure to the virus.

Wish you weren't here Mr Shapps? Transport Secretary Grant Shapps returns to his home in Hertfordshire today

Wish you weren't here Mr Shapps? Transport Secretary Grant Shapps returns to his home in Hertfordshire today

Wish you weren’t here Mr Shapps? Transport Secretary Grant Shapps returns to his home in Hertfordshire today

After seven days of quarantine, a second test would pick up 94 per cent of carriers, according to new scientific modelling by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTR). Those free of the virus could then be exempt from the rest of the quarantine period.

What are scientists’ views on the idea?

Scientists say testing people arriving in the UK from overseas can provide an essential tool to curb the pandemic.

Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘This is a welcome illustration of the principle that testing can be used to reduced the need for quarantine. It is possible that a double testing strategy could be almost as effective as 14 days quarantine.’

Dr Andrew Freedman, reader in infectious diseases at Cardiff University, said: ‘This modelling study from the LSHTR provides a strong argument in favour of shortening the quarantine period from the current 14 days to eight days, by performing a test on day seven after arrival.

‘This would have a very significant benefit to the individual traveller as well as the travel industry as a whole.’

Professor Jose Vazquez-Boland, chairman of infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh, said it would help prevent the importation of new infections.

‘These tests are important to halt international transmission and to protect a country from new Covid-19 flare-ups,’ he said. ‘As such they are an essential tool to curb the pandemic.’

Where could the tests take place?

Airports may be able to provide testing centres on site, allowing travellers to book ahead and take their first test immediately. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has said he could have testing sites ready ‘within weeks’. Transport logistics companies Swissport and Collinson said they have already devised a proposal for testing on arrival.

A spokesman said it is ‘safe, prioritises public health, and also enables industries in crisis – including aviation, hospitality, tourism, and all those sectors that rely on international trade – to get back on their feet’. It would allow travellers to book a test – known as a ‘polymerase chain reaction’ or PCR test – which would then be processed within 24 hours – and in most cases within seven hours.

‘Following receipt of a negative PCR test, travellers would be released from quarantine,’ the spokesman said.

Airports may be able to provide testing centres on site, allowing travellers to book ahead and take their first test immediately. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has said he could have testing sites ready ‘within weeks’

Airports may be able to provide testing centres on site, allowing travellers to book ahead and take their first test immediately. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has said he could have testing sites ready ‘within weeks’

Airports may be able to provide testing centres on site, allowing travellers to book ahead and take their first test immediately. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has said he could have testing sites ready ‘within weeks’

How much would they cost?

Heathrow boss Mr Holland-Kaye has said a UK airport test would cost about £150 each, with passengers expected to pay. It is feasible that the second test could take place at current Government swab centres, which are currently running with unused capacity – although this would change in the event of a second spike.

Currently, NHS tests are free for anyone showing symptoms. It is not clear whether this – if the Government were to adopt a test on arrival scheme – would remain the case for people who have returned from overseas and who require a second test to free themselves from quarantine.

What are the other drawbacks of testing on arrival?

Coronavirus testing is still not foolproof. It can give ‘false positives’, for example.

In those circumstances, on arrival testing could force a passenger into a 14-day quarantine unnecessarily.

‘False negatives’ – which fail to detect the virus even though it is present – would also be a risk.

Could we quarantine only those who have visited regions where there is an outbreak?

UK officials say this would be an administrative nightmare.

They would have to keep constant track of the situation in hundreds or thousands of places, and then communicate that information clearly to travellers.

A country-wide quarantine plan is far simpler and, they say, safer.

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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Sad-face emoji, but the writing might be on the wall for reading

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christopher stevens sad face emoji but the writing might be on the wall for reading

The Write Offs

Rating: rating showbiz 2

Britain’s Biggest Dig

Rating: rating showbiz 4

Dr Lydia Wilson told us on Monday in The Secret History Of Writing on BBC4 that man’s greatest invention is the alphabet.

It enables us to send words around the world, she said, and set down ideas on paper for future generations to discover.

It upsets me to say this, but Dr Lydia’s grand insight is too late. Literacy has never been less important, and Sandi Toksvig proves it inadvertently with her two-part series, The Write Offs (C4), as she helps eight adults learn to read.

Sandi Toksvig (centre) helps eight adults learn to read in her two-part series, The Write Offs

Sandi Toksvig (centre) helps eight adults learn to read in her two-part series, The Write Offs

Brainy Sandi, whose own son struggled with reading, can’t imagine life without the printed word. Neither can I — for a start, I’d have to go back to my first job: scrubbing pots in hotel kitchens.

Though illiteracy is certainly an obstacle for Sandi’s students, technology helps them overcome it. One man, 30-year-old Craig, uses an app on his smartphone to do his reading: the camera scans the words and an automated voice speaks them aloud.

Great-grandfather Tommy, 66, asks the ‘digital assistant’ Alexa to spell tricky words for him. Dean, 34, couldn’t easily read a map, but why should he? We’ve all got satnavs these days.

The truth is that reading has become optional, and spelling is downright irrelevant. Nothing marks you out as a fuddy-duddy faster than using correct grammar in texts and emails.

Every millennial can hold entire conversations without writing a word, just by stringing together ’emojis’ — cartoon doodles of faces depicting all possible emotions. And if emojis fail, there are ‘gifs’ or two-second film clips.

Only a social media nerd would bother writing, ‘I am fed up to the back teeth with lockdown,’ when you can say it on WhatsApp so much more pungently with an animated picture of Mr Bean tearing out his hair. No words required.

Full-frontal format of the day:

Channel 4, home to Naked Attraction and shows about swingers, has announced a new competition… called Drawers Off. Five painters will do ‘life studies’ of each other in the nuddy. Well, it’s art, innit?

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Sandi’s well meaning experiment has come precisely at the moment when reading has ceased to be essential. Worse, I worry that in the future it will become a source of embarrassment, a sign of educated ‘privilege’. When gifs and emojis are the universal language, the written word will be seen as snobbish.

And TV reviews will be condensed to a couple of symbols — a thumbs-up, a thumbs-down and, occasionally, one of those silly faces with boss-eyes and a lolling tongue.

Sandi, for all your good intentions, your show gets a thumbs-down, plus a sad-face emoji.

It’s a thumbs-up with a skull-and-crossbones, though, for Professor Alice Roberts and her graveyard archaeology series, Britain’s Biggest Dig (BBC2).

Work on the HS2 rail link from London to Birmingham means major excavations on the sites where each terminus will eventually be built. This involves digging up hundreds of coffins and moving the remains. Apparently, it’s illegal to leave human bones in place, however ancient.

The cemetery at Euston boasted well-known names, including the former slave and champion bare-knuckle boxer Bill Richmond. But the Brummies had the best stories. Many of the children’s skeletons were riddled with rickets. One set had been sawn up, the victim of Victorian anatomists who paid body snatchers to bring them corpses for dissection.

Oddest of all was the woman buried with a Wedgwood plate. Prof Alice discovered it was piled with bread and salt after she died. The food soaked up her bad deeds, before being consumed by a ‘sin-eater’ – a poor man who was paid a few pennies to swallow the bread and take the sins of the departed upon himself.

How macabre… or, as the young people say, a ghost-emoji plus a sickly green smiley-face.

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Revellers enjoy night out before Boris’s Covid crackdown comes into force

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revellers enjoy night out before boriss covid crackdown comes into force

Scores of revellers descended onto the streets of Leeds and Birmingham to enjoy a night out tonight before the Government’s new restrictions to stop the spread of a second wave of coronavirus came into force.

Party-goers, including those who had recently arrived to the UK cities to begin their academic year at university, swapped a night in at home to hit the numerous pubs and bars in the area and celebrate with their friends. 

Crowds of alcohol-fuelled revellers appeared in high spirits as they huddled in large groups without face masks and walked onto the streets of Leeds city centre into the small hours amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile others were spotted queuing outside The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a drink and mark the start of the academic year.  

The scenes came just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the disease, including imposing a 10pm curfew on all pubs, bars and restaurants in England from Thursday. 

Revellers hit the streets of Leeds and party into the small hours just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the coronavirus

Revellers hit the streets of Leeds and party into the small hours just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the coronavirus

A group of students hit the streets in Leeds just hours after the Government announced its tougher measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus

A group of students hit the streets in Leeds just hours after the Government announced its tougher measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus

Scores of revellers and students break social distancing guidelines as they gather together in the city without face masks into the small hours

Scores of revellers and students break social distancing guidelines as they gather together in the city without face masks into the small hours

Revellers and students arrived to The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a night out before the new 10pm curfew came into force

Revellers and students arrived to The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a night out before the new 10pm curfew came into force

In September, students arriving to Birmingham were urged to stick to social distancing rules and Covid gathering guidelines to prevent outbreaks of the virus at universities in the city.      

It came after the city, which is home to more than 1.5million people, was hit with draconian lockdown rules after the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to hospitals in the city soared.

This month people in Birmingham and neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell were banned from mixing with anyone outside of their own household in private homes, pubs, restaurants or in gardens.

The move followed two days of crunch talks between the Government and local health leaders after Birmingham’s seven-day infection rate rose to 78 cases per 100,000. 

Meanwhile Leeds was teetering on the brink of a local lockdown and was placed on Public Health England’s list of areas of concern after the Yorkshire city, which is home to half a million people, saw its infection rate rise to 32.4 new cases per 100,000 people.  

Earlier this month thousands ministers discouraged young people preparing for university from attending Freshers’ events, with Health Minister Lord Bethell urging freshers and returning university students to resist going to mass social gatherings ‘in pubs, clubs and bedrooms’.

Meanwhile, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan furiously warned large event organisers that police will take ‘serious action’ against them, following reports that some companies have been advertising mass social Freshers’ events.

And Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, pleaded with students to ‘follow the rules’ for ‘the sake of your education and your parents’ and grandparents’ health’. 

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: ‘We are deeply concerned about the spread among students. Some of that spread will take place in universities, and I pay tribute to the efforts of vice-chancellors to put in place social distancing arrangements in universities; we hope that they will have an impact.

‘However, some of the effect is in their social life – in pubs, clubs and bedrooms up and down the country.

‘That is the responsibility of the students themselves, and we are looking at measures to enhance and enforce the social-distancing measures that will stop the spread of this disease.’ 

Revellers enjoy a night out in Leeds city centre

A group of revellers party into the small hours in Leeds

Groups of revellers appeared in high spirits as they huddled in large groups without face masks and celebrated into the small hours

Revellers flout social distancing guidelines as they hit the streets of Leeds and enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

Revellers flout social distancing guidelines as they hit the streets of Leeds and enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

A group of revellers hit the streets of Leeds without masks and enjoy a night out just days before the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants comes into place

A group of revellers hit the streets of Leeds without masks and enjoy a night out just days before the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants comes into place

Crowds of people stand outside a pub in Leeds to enjoy a night out despite the Rule of Six measures now in force

Crowds of people stand outside a pub in Leeds to enjoy a night out despite the Rule of Six measures now in force

People cross a street in Leeds as scores of revellers hit the streets of the city to enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

People cross a street in Leeds as scores of revellers hit the streets of the city to enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic 

Party-goers gather on the streets in Leeds to enjoy a night out and party into the small hours just days before the new curfew is kicked into force

Party-goers gather on the streets in Leeds to enjoy a night out and party into the small hours just days before the new curfew is kicked into force

People gather on the streets of Leeds to enjoy a night out just days before the new 10pm curfew comes into force

People gather on the streets of Leeds to enjoy a night out just days before the new 10pm curfew comes into force

People queue outside The Bristol Pear pub just hours after the Government toughened its coronavirus measures

People queue outside The Bristol Pear pub just hours after the Government toughened its coronavirus measures

Crowds of students flout the Rule of Six as they huddle in large groups without face masks in a nearby par

Crowds of students flout the Rule of Six as they huddle in large groups without face masks in a nearby par

The scenes come as Boris Johnson today announced a new wave of Covid-19 restrictions that could last up to six months- including a 10pm curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants in England.  

The 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector has sparked an immediate industry backlash as the UKHospitality group said it was ‘another crushing blow’.    

There are also fears the move could have unintended consequences amid warnings of a potential ‘surge of unregulated events and house parties’.

Tory MPs also expressed concerns about the curfew plans, describing them as a ‘terrible blow’ for the hospitality industry and warning there must not be another ‘major lockdown’.

It was claimed overnight that Mr Johnson had initially backed a total shutdown of the hospitality and leisure sectors before Chancellor Rishi Sunak persuaded him to take a less severe course after warning of economic carnage.   

Under the new measures, plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have been ‘paused’ while the number of people allowed to attend weddings is being reduced to 15. 

Mr Johnson also announced the end of the Government’s back to work drive, urging Britons to work from home if they can.

Pub-goers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch the Prime Minister address the nation regarding new coronavirus restrictions

Pub-goers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch the Prime Minister address the nation regarding new coronavirus restrictions

Customers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch Boris Johnson issue an emotional plea to the country

Customers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch Boris Johnson issue an emotional plea to the country

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Face masks will also have to be worn on public transport and in many indoor spaces, including shops, shopping centres, indoor transport hubs, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries. 

Those who fail to wear face masks could face a fine of £200.

Just hours after setting out the new measures, the Prime Minister issued an emotional plea to the nation and warned Britons they faced a long hard winter of police-enforced curbs on their freedom to see off coronavirus.

He also hit out at his critics – including Tory MPs and business leaders who warned of the economic impact of the tough measures, adding: ‘To those who say we don’t need this stuff, and we should leave people to take their own risks, I say these risks are not our own.

‘The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell. 

The Prime Minister said it was necessary to reintroduce the measures to avoid a dramatic surge in deaths and a second, economically devastating total lockdown

The Prime Minister said it was necessary to reintroduce the measures to avoid a dramatic surge in deaths and a second, economically devastating total lockdown

‘And as for the suggestion that we should simply lock up the elderly and the vulnerable – with all the suffering that would entail – I must tell you that this is just not realistic.

‘Because if you let the virus rip through the rest of the population it would inevitably find its way through to the elderly as well, and in much greater numbers.’            

Despite the PM’s new crackdown, some experts have already warned the measures will not be enough after Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said yesterday the UK could hit 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and 200 plus daily deaths by November unless Britain changes course. 

DO CURFEWS WORK AT SLOWING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS?

From Thursday evening, bars, pubs and restaurants across England will be required to close from 10pm every night. 

The move is an ‘intermediate’ step in the fight against the virus, and follows in the steps of Thailand.

When Thailand imposed a 10pm to 4am curfew on April 3 it was counting just over 100 cases of coronavirus a day. By the time the curfew was removed on June 15 this number had dropped into the low tens.

Although the country’s success has been attributed to the curfew, some scientists dispute this, saying that the lockdown and other social measures in force at the time had a greater impact.

The UK is hoping that its curfew may help it mirror the success of the South-east Asian nation.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, told HuffPost curfews are used because ‘we know that night time economy generally is risky’.

‘There have been outbreaks linked to nightclubs and to bars and restaurants,’ she said. ‘We’ve known this for months.’

‘The longer people are in these venues, the more they probably let their guard down and the mix of social distancing and alcohol is not a good one despite the best efforts of publicans and venue owners.’

Behavioural expert Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said she thought the 10pm time had been chosen to balance the needs of the night-time economy with the need to control the virus.  

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Sir Paul McCartney speaks about the first time he met John Lennon

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sir paul mccartney speaks about the first time he met john lennon

Sir Paul McCartney has spoken about the first time he met John Lennon and reveals how he reflects on the moment ‘like a fan’ and tells ‘how lucky’ he was to meet him.

The Beatles star, 78, revealed how the the pair ‘complemented each other’ after he was introduced to John, aged 16, on July 6 1957, in Liverpool. 

The singer-songwriter spoke to Sean Ono Lennon, 44, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, for a two-part documentary on BBC Radio 2, to mark John Lennon At 80. 

Candid: Sir Paul McCartney has spoken about the first time he met John Lennon and reveals how he reflects on the moment 'like a fan' and described 'how lucky' he was to meet him

Candid: Sir Paul McCartney has spoken about the first time he met John Lennon and reveals how he reflects on the moment ‘like a fan’ and described ‘how lucky’ he was to meet him

Speaking about his memories of meeting John, Sir Paul said: ‘I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange teddy boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!’

However the Hey Jude hitmaker revealed that ‘there were a few songs that weren’t very good’ during his writing partnership with John. 

He added: ‘There were a few songs that weren’t very good… you know, clearly young songwriters who don’t know how to do it’. 

Close: The Hey Jude hitmaker revealed that 'there were a few songs that weren't very good' during his writing partnership with John

Close: The Hey Jude hitmaker revealed that ‘there were a few songs that weren’t very good’ during his writing partnership with John

Sir Paul picked up his guitar during the interview and played an example of a Lennon-McCartney track called Just Fun which they never recorded.  

‘Eventually, we started to write slightly better songs and then enjoyed the process of learning together so much that it really took off,’ he continued. 

Speaking about the Let It Be period, the Beatles’ final studio album, Sir Paul revealed that he always believed it was a gloomy time until he saw a picture taken by his late wife Linda that reminded him of the strength of their friendship. 

Open: The singer-songwriter spoke to Sean Ono Lennon, 44, (pictured) the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, for a two-part documentary on BBC Radio 2, to mark John Lennon At 80

Open: The singer-songwriter spoke to Sean Ono Lennon, 44, (pictured) the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, for a two-part documentary on BBC Radio 2, to mark John Lennon At 80

Band: The Help! singer also spoke candidly about John's insecurities and revealed that his confidence was a 'shield'

Band: The Help! singer also spoke candidly about John’s insecurities and revealed that his confidence was a ‘shield’

The Help! singer also spoke candidly about John’s insecurities and revealed that his confidence was a ‘shield’. 

He said: ‘Wait a minute, there’s this guy ‘John Lennon’ who’s like a genius, clever, witty, confident, and everything why would he have insecurities? Because we’re all fragile beings.’    

Sean also spoke with his godfather Sir Elton John who revealed that he cycled eight miles to buy a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in Hatch End, North West London. 

Fan: Sir Elton John revealed that he cycled eight miles to buy a copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in Hatch End, North West London

Fan: Sir Elton John revealed that he cycled eight miles to buy a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in Hatch End, North West London

The Tiny Dancer hitmaker, 73, who performed with John in Madison Square Garden in what was to be his final live gig appearance, said: ‘When I met your Dad I felt like I’d known him all my life and that’s the biggest compliment I can pay him.’   

John was murdered by obsessed fan Mark Chapman outside his New York apartment on December 8, 1980, aged 40. 

The two-part documentary hosted by his youngest son Sean is to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday on Friday 9 October. 

John Lennon At 80 will broadcast on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October, 9-10pm on BBC Radio 2.  

Group: Speaking about the Let It Be period, the Beatles' final studio album, Sir Paul revealed that he always believed it was a gloomy time until he saw a picture taken by his late wife Linda

Group: Speaking about the Let It Be period, the Beatles’ final studio album, Sir Paul revealed that he always believed it was a gloomy time until he saw a picture taken by his late wife Linda

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