The Beatles are one of the most legendary music groups of all time, and John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison are still household names more than 40 years after their band broke up. One name that not everybody knows with relation to the Beatles is Brian Epstein, who was their manager and the man responsible for bringing them together in the first place. In fact, Paul McCartney once referred to Epstein as the "fifth Beatle." Now, Epstein's story is slated to be told on the small screen in a limited series called The Fifth Beatle on Bravo.
The Fifth Beatle is currently only in development, so there's no guarantee that it will make it to television, but there can be no doubt that an audience would tune in to watch. This is the man who brought the Beatles together, after all! The prospective series would focus on Brian Epstein's complicated personal life rather than just on the Fab Four who dominated headlines for years.
Brian Epstein is best known now for his role in seeing the potential of the band when they were playing out of Liverpool, but his personal life and struggles are distinctly lesser known. He was a gay Jewish man living in England in the 1960s, when homosexuality was still a felony. The odds were against him finding success in showbiz, let alone on the scale that would lead to worldwide Beatlemania. He fought against the odds and the loneliness of his position to help kick off a cultural revolution and spread the messages of peace and love so frequently mentioned in the Beatles' songs.
The prospective series is based on Vivek J. Tiwary's bestselling graphic novel, called The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. Tiwary is on board to write the adaptation of his novel and work as executive producer, alongside Leopoldo Gout. Tiwary's involvement means the Bravo series will have unprecedented access to the John Lennon-Paul McCartney song catalogue. No other Beatles-related biopic has had the rights to the catalogue, which undoubtedly means that The Fifth Beatle will have a killer soundtrack as it tells Epstein's story.
No details are available at this point of who might play Brian Epstein or any of the Fab Four, assuming they appear as well. Should the series move forward at Bravo, hopefully we won't have to wait too long before news of casting and release date. We can only wait and see.
The Fifth Beatle marks the latest project in development to focus on Brian Epstein. A movie of the same name was slated to be written by Vivek Tiwary back in 2011, although that never came to fruition. Tom Hanks was attached to direct another biopic of Epstein with Benedict Cumberbatch starring in 2012, and Simon Cowell was working to adapt the Fifth Beatle graphic novel as recently as 2015. Only time will tell if the limited series on Bravo comes to fruition as well.