By John Harris
On paper, the idea looked brilliant. In the opening weeks of January 1969, the Beatles were working up new songs for a televised concert, and being filmed as they did so. Where the event would take place was unclear – but as rehearsals at Twickenham film studios went on, one of their associates came up with the idea of travelling to Libya, where they would perform in the remains of a famous amphitheatre, part of an ancient Roman city called Sabratha. As the plan was discussed amid set designs and maps one Wednesday afternoon, a new element was added: why not invite a few hundred fans to join them on a specially chartered ocean liner?