Network Distributing will be familiar to aficionados of vintage television as the label behind the DVD and Blu-ray releases and restorations of TV classics like Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Prisoner, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, The Goodies and many others. Now the company is introducing a new way to experience classics of the small screen, with its first streaming service, watch.networkonair.com.
Launching the service is a raft of programmes from veteran UK broadcaster ABC Television, who provided weekend programmes in the Midlands and North between 1956 and 1968. Many of these titles have not been seen in over fifty years, and have been newly-scanned from film prints preserved in the ABC archive (now owned by Studiocanal).
There are complete series including Dial 999 (a late 50s police procedural notable for its extensive use of location filming); Jezebel Ex-UK (an anthology series set on board a cruise liner); Here’s David Nixon (a series of 10-minute shorts featuring the avuncular illusionist) and Counter Attack, a wartime serial for children.
Alongside these rarities, there’s a selection of light entertainment items including The Bruce Forsyth Show and Big Night Out (featuring Mike and Bernie Winters), alongside rare folk/blues showcase Hullabaloo.
Series collections start at £4.99, or for a properly nostalgic viewing experience, users can explore our range of Nights In – specially curated collections that offer an entire evening of entertainment, complete with vintage commercial breaks, and continuity from original ABC North announcer David Hamilton. This is real ‘time travel television’, and it’s already getting a great reception from customers.
Tim Beddows, Managing Director of Network Distributing Ltd. says: “Having spent the best part of 25 years liberating huge swathes of British television and film from the archives and building a sizeable catalogue of things you thought you’d never see again, we’re really proud to present something new and different for our first foray into video-on-demand.”
“On this occasion we’ve foraged the ABC Television library, a company once at the heart of British broadcasting in the 50s and 60s. We’ve had a huge amount of fun building a schedule of some amazing programmes, most of which haven’t been seen since they were originally shown and working with David Hamilton, who has been just perfect for this project. Merging these old programmes with new technology is going to be an interesting televisual journey and one we’re looking forward to immensely”, he added.
Network’s ABC Collection is the first of what is hoped will become an ongoing series, offering themed Nights In and archive rarities available to stream, and complementing the company’s continuing programme of physical media releases.
• Nights In and series collections drawn from the ABC archive are available to stream at watch.networkonair.com with more arriving online over the coming weeks