PAUL McCartney is joined by Ringo Starr on stage at Dodger Stadium. — PAULMCCARTNEY.COM/

LONDON —  Paul McCartney has said he wanted to continue performing with the Beatles when the band famously split in 1970 and that John Lennon instigated the breakup.

Speculation about what caused the demise of the world’s most famous pop group has ranged from artistic differences and legal disputes, to Mr. Lennon’s marriage to artist Yoko Ono.

In a forthcoming episode of BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life, Mr. McCartney, 79, discusses what he called the most difficult period of his life.

“I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny,” he said. “This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue.”

When the singer-songwriter was asked about his decision to strike out on his own, Mr. McCartney told the interviewer to “stop right there” before setting out his explanation of what happened.

“Oh no, no, no, John walked into a room one day and said ‘I am leaving the Beatles,’” Mr. McCartney said. “And he said, ‘It’s quite thrilling, it’s rather like a divorce.’ And then we were left to pick up the pieces.”

Mr. McCartney said the band would have continued if Mr. Lennon had not walked away. “I thought we were doing some pretty good stuff — ‘Abbey Road,’ ‘Let It Be,’ not bad,” he said.

Mr. McCartney’s full interview with the BBC will be broadcast on Oct. 23. —  Reuters