Locating British Comedy Merchandise
If you have searched our merchandise database but can't find what you're looking for, this page should answer your questions...
Is it available to buy?
Although our merchandise database is fairly comprehensive it is not yet 100% complete, so lets first just double-check what you're looking for definitely isn't available in the shops. Please check the following Amazon search box for any signs of the DVD you're looking for:
If this search box doesn't bring up the item you're looking for then it almost certainly isn't available. Please read on...
Why isn't the item I'm looking for available to buy?
New Shows: If the comedy you're interested in was only made in the last couple of years you may just have to wait a little while longer for the DVD to be announced. Sometimes the distributors wait a year or two before bringing out a recent show, this is because the demand will be higher later on (if they release it straight after it has been on telly not so many people will buy it because they've only just watched it on TV). A very common thing is for the distributors to release the DVD just as the next series comes on TV... as the new series gives them a 'free' advertising boost and they get extra sales from people looking to catch-up on the back story. So, if the comedy you're interested in is coming back for another series the answer is probably that the DVD will be released at the same time as the new series is broadcast.
Older Series: The sad fact is that many, many older British comedy series haven't been released on DVD, CD or VHS as there just simply isn't enough demand to warrant a release. You may remember a 1970s sitcom fondly, but the chances are you're in a small minority and there isn't going to be enough profit in selling that series to just you and a few others. Buying the rights to sell a comedy programme on DVD costs the distributors a lot of money - so they are only willing to release shows that they know are going to sell well. This is also the reason why some programmes have only been partly released on DVD. The distributor may have made a loss on the first series and thus were not willing to risk producing a boxset for the subsequent series too.
There's various other reasons why some shows haven't yet been released: for example, another possible explanation might be rights issues (copyright clearance on the music used in a show can sometimes be a problem).
What are my options?
Just wait for the release: Most popular series will come out on DVD eventually. As we've said above, new shows will normally be out in a year or two. Older series are slowly being released thanks to companies like Network DVD too. Keep an eye on our coming soon list, DVD newsletter and our DVD Twitter feed for any release announcements. Or, if you want to take the hassle out of having to keep checking our website, setup a free wishlist and we'll email you when the DVD is ready to pre-order.
Find an old recording: Someone out there may still have a copy of the series, which they either taped from the TV or bought on VHS video in the 80s/90s before that format was discontinued. The best places to search for these types of things is on auction websites like eBay
Discover Torrenting: This is quite a geeky and technical option. It involves using special internet software to obtain video and audio files from people who are willing to share their archive recordings. If you'd like to give file sharing a try, search Google for a torrent of the show you're interested in. For example, search for "The Peter Principle Torrent". If you do find a website offering a torrent feed, you'll need to use a program like BitTorrent to actually download the video. Warning: File-sharing can be illegal and there are risks involved - some torrents may contain a computer virus.
Petition the distribution companies: If enough people tell a distribution company they want a DVD, the distributor will obviously look to try and meet this demand. The best way of letting the distributors know what you want is to setup a wishlist via our website. We will feed this demand data to the distributors so they know what series people are waiting for.
Buy a master tape: In some cases, the production company that made the series may be willing to send you a copy of their master recording. But, be warned, most companies turn down these sorts of requests no matter how much money you offer because of legal and copyright concerns... or because it's just too much admin for them! Attempting this option is certainly not for the faint hearted as it can involve a lot of paperwork and be very, very costly indeed.
If the above is of no help, sorry, you may just have to accept that the show you're after is out-of-reach for the time being. You're not alone... we're sitting here waiting for a number of our favourite comedies to be released. The one bit of good news is that the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are all continuing forward with their plans to put more and more of their archives online for free. Our best advice is to keep an eye on our website and subscribe to our DVD newsletter for any updates.
Angela Barnes talks about the comedy career ladder, Mock The Week, and having her GP on speed dial. Read
Michael McIntyre, Jimmy Carr and Peter Kay are top of a list of the UK's best known stand-ups. Read
Radio 4 has ordered a second series of new sketch show Trodd En Bratt Say 'Well Done You'. Read
Bernadette Byrne and Victor Victoria - aka EastEnd Cabaret - answer questions about each other. Read
The Women in Comedy Festival - 80+ shows across 16 Manchester venues - is on 11th to 26th October. Read
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival have launched their 2015 Silver Comedy stand-up competition. Read
The political panel show podcast. Featuring guests including Paul Sinha, Suzi Ruffell and Mitch Benn. Listen
Harry Hill is to star in Professor Branestawm, a BBC One family comedy drama. Read
Jimmy Carr is to front the pilot episode of a UK re-make of hit American comedy format Drunk History. Read
Tom Edge, the creator of Channel 4's Scrotal Recall writes about the show. Plus interviews with the key cast. Read