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Koch Flies the Union Jack

28 Feb, 2006 By: Brendan Howard

Koch Video has snagged an “onslaught of programming” from BBC TV for the coming year, according to Koch Vision GM Dan Gurlitz.

“It's going to be ongoing, a slate of DVD releases all the way to the end of the year,” he said.

Koch already has found success with such British mysteries as “Wire in the Blood,” “P.D. James” and “Maigret.”

“British TV has been extremely good for us,” he said. “We started with mystery, but now we're really branching out.”

In an effort to link product in the minds of shoppers, all the BBC product in this year-long initiative will carry on-pack stickers with the British flag's Union Jack that say “British DVD Collection.”

“That gives a consumer walking into the store a sense of consistency,” Gurlitz said. “They see all these programs tied together.”

The first releases in the initiative include late-1970s productions of Charles Dickens classics never released in the United States: David Copperfield and The Old Curiosity Shop (prebook March 7; street April 4) as well as Nicholas Nickleby (prebook April 4; street May 2).

“This is BBC in its heyday,” he said. “These are the kind of lush productions one could expect back then.”

Also May 2 come the supernatural “X-Files”-esque The Omega Factor: The Complete Series; Dick Francis Mysteries; the period piece Fall of Eagles, starring Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and John Rhys-Davies (“The Lord of the Rings” films) and the seamy Lie With Me.

Lie With Me is a mystery with wife-swapping, secrets and murders,” he said. “It's sort of Britain's version of ‘Desperate Housewives.’

Asked why BBC Video itself doesn't release everything aired on BBC, Gurlitz said it's often a rights issue.

“Some [licensing for DVD] can be done directly with BBC,” he said. “Other times, packages of films are held by individuals and companies who broadcast on BBC, or maybe BBC played a production role somewhere along, so their moniker ends up on the programming.”

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