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Beatles author to appear in John Lennon documentary debuting today

John Lennon with the Beatles in 1964.
John Lennon with the Beatles in 1964.
Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

Jim Berkenstadt, the "Rock And Roll Detective" and author of “The Beatle Who Vanished,” will star in a program about John Lennon on The Reelz Channel today, the first of four shows on two different series on the channel on which he will appear, he announced Tuesday.

Berkenstadt will be seen on the latest segment of “Celebrity Legacies,” which will feature a profile of Lennon. It will debut tonight on Reelz at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and be repeated at 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT. He will also appear on future shows in the “Legacies” series about Kurt Cobain and Elvis Presley and a segment of “Celebrity Damage Control” about Keith Richards.

“The Beatle Who Vanished” is the author's historical account of the life of Jimmie Nicol, the previously unknown drummer who substituted for Ringo Starr for 13 days on their first world tour. But according to Berkenstadt, his story includes blacklisting, betrayal, drugs, divorce, bankruptcy and an eventual disappearance and the mystery of whether he is dead or alive.

“I started my search in 2005, looking for musicians who had played with Jimmie Nicol at the start of his career in Soho coffee clubs,” he told Beatles Examiner in an interview. “I wanted to know his career background to get a better understanding of why and how he was chosen to play with The Beatles.”

But he said it wasn't easy. “The search for information about Nicol took years. Nicol left behind some false leads. Whenever he wanted to change his life or career direction, he would seemingly walk out his door in one country and move to another without even saying goodbye. The best way to describe my years of research is like a treasure hunt to find 1000s of pieces to a giant puzzle.”