About 10 years ago, it looked like there might be a DVD release of Harry Enfield’s older sketch shows – namely, Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, and Harry Enfield and Chums. They popped up on Amazon, before disappearing for good, with a boilerplate note from Amazon – the dreaded “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock” or something similar.
I decided to contact the BBC, and got a short reply from them saying that the release had been postponed until further notice. I posted about it on my blog (the post is long gone) and as it turns out, quite a few people had been looking forward to buying the DVD.
Some other slightly less-repeated or lesser-known BBC shows were fortunate enough to get released on DVD. (I say less-repeated or lesser-known, as I obviously don’t include the “big name” shows in this list – Only Fools and Horses, for example.) However, they didn’t see a complete release. Only two or three series were released. These shows include:
- Naked Video – three series released, two unreleased
- KYTV – two series released, one unreleased
- Fist of Fun – not released at all – Lee and Herring organised the release of this on their own. (And their follow-up show, TMWRNJ, seems unlikely to ever be released.)
- 2point4 children – three series released, five unreleased
As it had been about 10 years since I last asked about Harry Enfield, I thought I’d contact the BBC again to find out what’s going on. Here’s the reply I received when I asked about Harry Enfield, Naked Video, and KYTV (I didn’t ask about the other shows):
Hi Ben thank you for your e-mail below which has been forwarded to the DVD Enquiry Line.
We have schedules of DVD/BD & DTO forthcoming releases and 99% of these titles are current programming with broadcast dates of 2017/18.
Suspect, and this is only my personal opinion, that later series of the titles you list below were not released due to disappointing sales of the earlier series.
With DVD retail market declining year-on-year I think it very unlikely that BBC would release these old titles now.
Another possibility could be our DVD rights have expired in these productions making it impossible to release without re-securing DVD rights and clearing all contributors.
Sorry to disappoint you but they do not feature on our schedules which go to end of 2018.
DVD Enquiry Line
So while this might not be a definitive reason for the missing releases (it’s the opinion of the person who wrote back a good and proper reply to my enquiry), it seems pretty likely that this is the case. I did ask whether the titles might get a release on streaming services, but it seems this point was overlooked.
I can only think of a few shows on my list – there may be a lot more. If so, it’s a real shame that some of the lesser-known 1980s and 1990s BBC shows might never be available on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming services such as Netflix (probably).