The legend lays into his old bandmates

John Lennon compared life in The Beatles with decadent ancient Rome in an interview to be broadcast in the UK for the first time.

The interview for Rolling Stone magazine in December 1970, eight months after the band split, will be aired on BBC Radio 4 at 7pm on December 3.

According to the BBC, Lennon, who was shot dead on December 8 1980, said the circle around the band was a “portable Rome” of money, sex and drugs. “Everyone wanted in,” he said.

In the interview, conducted by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, Lennon exploded the clean-cut image of “the Fab Four”.

“Everybody around you wants the image to carry on,” he said. “That’s why some of them are clinging to it.

“‘Don’t take away our portable Rome, where we can all have our houses and our cars, and our lovers and our wives, and our office girls and parties and drink and drugs.'”

Lennon also revealed the band’s darker side on tour.

“If you couldn’t get groupies, we had whores,” he claimed. “Whatever was going.

“There were photos of me crawling round on my knees coming out of whorehouses in Amsterdam with people saying: ‘Good morning, John.'”

Lennon claimed the photos and other revelations did not come to light because people did not want “a big scandal”.

The singer also attacked his former songwriting partner and bandmate, Paul McCartney .

“We got fed up of being sidemen to Paul after Brian Epstein (The Beatles‘ manager) died,” he said.

Paul took over and supposedly led us. What’s leading us when you wander round in circles?”

Lennon claimed the pair’s songwriting partnership had ended “around 1962 or something”.

“All our best work, apart from the really early ones like ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, were written apart.”

Amid the anger, Lennon still expressed respect for his former partner McCartney.

“He’s capable of great work and he will do it,” he admitted.

The ex-Beatle also complained about the personal downside of his talent. “It’s not fun being a genius,” he said. “It’s torture.”