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2001-May-10: The Making of Wingspan

Recently, Sir Paul discussed how the Wingspan documentary came to be:

"Probably about five years ago. I was popping some snapshots into a family album. I said to Linda, 'When are we intending to sit down and look at them all?' We also had a lot of home movies and videos, and we realized that people accumulate all this stuff and hardly ever look at it. We decided we'd use our next wedding anniversary to do that, and we did. It was really cool.

"Also, she'd had our son-in-law, Alistair Donald - Mary's husband - make a tape of the home movies. Instead of doing a rough assembly, he got into it, with music and editing. He took us through the story of each of the kids, and we thought, 'That would have made a fantastic TV hour.' That's where the idea for 'Wingspan' came from, since we asked Alistair to put together something about Wings as well as our family. He's been working on it for years, and he's done a fine job."

The McCartney's daughter, Mary McCartney Donald (described by one reviewer as "beautiful and a little taken with herself in that I-belong-on-camera way, with sleek, shoulder-length dark hair, great bone structure and a proper BBC voice") conducted the on-camera interviews:

"That's the longest I think I've ever talked to her in our lives. Who ever gets two days flat-out with one of the kids? She was excellent. I told her she could build an entire series out of it, but she doesn't want that. She's a mom first and foremost, so she doesn't have the time. The other great thing was that Alistair looked after our interests and saw this was the kind of show we'd want made. It was a family affair.

"It's great [in helping] people to appreciate Linda's role in Wings. It's really special that way. Anybody who might have wondered why I had my wife in the band-and there were people early on asking, 'Why's his old lady there?' - will totally understand it when they see the show. To see that whole period laid out is sort of a shock, but it's a good story.

"It was also a struggle.  We were trying to follow the Beatles, which all of us in the Beatles had quietly said among ourselves was impossible. Some in the industry were calling Wings 'the next Beatles,' and we tried to tell them, 'You really shouldn't do that.' At the same time, we were also trying to raise our kids, which flew in the face of people who said, 'You can't take them around the world.' When you watch this show, you can see just how much we bit off. It was quite a
challenge to make it all work."

His fondness of the 1995 The Beatles Anthology documentary also served as an inspiration for Wingspan:

"I'd meet up with George and Ringo and we would always reminisce. Then we'd see a book or an article claiming to tell it the way it was, and it didn't. We'd wonder why they wouldn't get it right; then we decided to do it ourselves before our brain cells melted. Even then, we'd disagree on some memories. We'd joke, 'Give us 10 more years, and we won't even remember who the Beatles were.'"

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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