The man who photographed the Beatles and the Royals on why he loves East Anglia

One of Tom's iconic Beatles photos PICTURE: Andy Abbott

One of Tom's iconic Beatles photos PICTURE: Andy Abbott - Credit: Andy Abbott

Tom Murray, famed for his iconic photographs of The Beatles and The Royals tells Gina Long about his East Anglian heaven and hell

Tom Murray

Tom Murray - Credit: Archant

Award winning photographer Tom Murray started his incredible career in local newspapers. He has worked with some of the world's greatest photographers including Eve Arnold, Helmut Newton, Lord Snowdon, Norman Parkinson, Bill Connors, Bill King and Guy Bourdin and he became the youngest photographer to be commissioned by The Royal Family. This year celebrates the 50th Anniversary of his world famous Beatles photographs known as the 'Summer of 68 - The Mad Day'. They are considered to be the best colour photographs of The Beatles and were taken in 1968. Tom is a Town Councillor who has raised £1.5m for charity, having donated some of his finest works. For his latest donations, selling in my £1m Charity Auction, go to

What is your connection to East Anglia?

It's my home. My parents moved from London to Sible Hedingham, then Belchamp Walter, Sudbury and finally Bury St Edmunds, where I live today.

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

It's where town and country meet. It's so diverse, from the fast-moving pace of Essex to Historic Suffolk and the glorious Fens of Norfolk, a landscape for everyone.

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What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

I wish the road and rail links to anywhere else were better…

What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

Can I have several? The Maison Bleue, Pea Porridge, The One Bull in Bury St. Edmunds and The Victoria in Holt.

What's your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

In a country pub outside in the summer, or at home, reading on my own in my garden.

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

More a place than a landmark, I love Aldeburgh.

What's the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Great and fabulous local festivals of food and drink. There are so many throughout the region during the year.

What your specialist Mastermind subject?

Always thought I was too old to ask. Never really had any specific category. I'm not great at pub quizzes either!

What is always in your fridge?

Eggs, bacon, butter, locally made bread and jam.

What's your simple philosophy of life?

Just get on with it, s*** happens. Try to climb the 'ladder of success' gently. If you fail, they will kick you on the way down.

What's your favourite film?

Citizen Kane; it's a masterpiece.

What was your first job?

Photographer on the Halstead Gazette. Loved it.

What is your most treasured possession?

My 1967 Nikon F camera.

Who do you admire most?

My dearly departed mum, who told me I would make mistakes and that I could be famous. She said you may meet the King one Day. I believe she would have been so proud of what I did and who I met.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Wine and fast cars.

What do you like about yourself most?

That no one really knows the real me. I tend to show the façade, rarely do I let my guard down. It's a bit sad as I have done this since childhood. It's something that bothers me to this day.

What's your worst character trait?

As I was born into the star sign Sagittarius, I am verbally truthful. You learn to control this somewhat.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Death Valley in the USA, Capetown RSA, San Diego USA

Best day of your life?

The day I photographed the Beatles in the summer of 1968, then going on to be commissioned by HRH Princess Margaret and family.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Full English, bacon, eggs, beans, black pudding, hash browns tomatoes and mushrooms, tea and toast.

What's your favourite tipple?

Cristal Champagne.

What's your hidden talent?

Painting and motor racing.

When were you most embarrassed?

When I met Lord Snowdon, my old boss, after 25 years and he said rather loudly 'you've got fat' or when I 'fused' all the lights in Sandringham, whilst photographing the Royal family.

What's your earliest memory?

Long childhood summers in Scotland

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Gracie Fields 'Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye', Ethel Merman, on the way out singing, 'There's no business like show business'.

Tell us something people don't know about you?

I am painfully shy and get stage fright on large assignments.Gradually got over both, sort of.

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

That I am very arrogant and very opinionated & very rich.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

I live in Bury St. Edmunds. My parents were here for 48 years, and it's my home since returning from the USA.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

That we are fortunate to live in a such a great area. We must cherish our time on this earth and start to look after it, for the sake of those just starting out in their journey of life in East Anglia. Oh, and please do consider bidding on my museum quality framed artists proofs that I have donated to Gina's Ultimate Charity Auction. Two very rare photographs indeed.See

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