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Home - Media - TV series adaptations - Characteristics of the series of 1978 - The Search for the Rights of the 78' TV series
Titel cover

Famous Five

The Search for the Rights of the 78' TV series

&nbps;

Introduction Southern Television Super RTL Southern Television 2
Chorion Zenith North Comment Citel Video
Primetime Portman Film & Television ILC Group Ltd Reel Corporation Australia
Chorion (2) Chorion (3) e-m-s new media AG NDR
Invocation to Chorion 2007      

Never ending Story - or - The Search for the Rights of the Old Famous Five of 1978-1979

Since about a year we all have been searching desperately for the owners of the rights concerning the old Famous Five TV-series of 1978-1979.
In various forums speculations are expressed, after which "Zenith North" is the current owner of these rights, due to the fact that the company was responsible for the production of the re-adaptation of the series in the 90-ies.
Karli

Southern Television, 1978

Southern Television

December 2005: With the selling by "Southern Television" in 1981, the traces seemed to peter out, as Mr. Robin Bray (Granada Programme Copy Sales, Mailto: Viewers.request@itv.com) informed me on the 20th of December 2005, answering one of my requests:

Dear Karli,

Thank you for your enquiry and apologies for delay in replying.
Unfortunately trying to trace programmes made for or by Southern Television is now somewhat of a cold trail to search, for as far as I can ascertain when Meridian took over from TVS, the company that took over from Southern Television, at least half or more of their archive was sold off to a company called Saban Entertainment.
This company was then taken over by an Australian Company, which in turn was taken over by an American company. The last considered location for some of this material was with Twentieth Century Fox but that's only guess work not fact. Of course along with all off these takeovers etc. some of the material may have been sold off or just not retained. So in essence the material could have been scattered to the four winds. With regard to the material that was kept by Meridian this now resides in the Wessex Film Archive. I hope this information is of some help, as regrettably it's all we have.

Regards
Robin Bray

I just was not content with the "four wind"- argument, since "Super RTL" broadcasted the series last in 1997-1998.

Super RTL

December 2005: So I entered a request per mail at the "Super-RTL" company, concerning the rights of the old Famous Five - series of 1978-1979, because the company definitively knows the owner of the rights during the time of the last broadcast. At the time of the "Super-RTL" broadcast of the series, all English versions of Famous-Five videos had already been taken from the market. It did not take long until the disillusioning answer of "Super-RTL" arrived on the 28th of December 2005:
(translated!):
Dear Mr. Karli,

Thanks a lot for writing us an e-mail once more.

We would really like to help you, but due to legal reasons, we are not allowed to tell you through whom we received the broadcasting rights at that time. These are internal informations, not to be transferred to third persons. We hope you understand.

We regret not being able to give you better news, but we still wish you lots of fun and good entertainment with Super RTL.

With best regards
Your Super RTL spectators' editorial office (Mailto: zuschauerinfo@superrtl.de)
This meant for us all, that German Television was in no way ready to tell us fans, who the owner of the rights was.

Southern Television 2

January 2006: Our next work was to find out, what happened to the archives of "Southern Television" in 1981. I found an answer to the question in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Television

There you get the information that the programme archive of "Southern Television" at that time was sold to the Australian television company "Southern Star Group".

"Southern Television's programme archive was sold to Southern Star Group".

So I continued my search at "Southern Star Group" in Australia. After the legal information concerning the old Famous Five TV-series of 1978-1979, Mrs. Judy Innes (Personal Assistant to Cathy Payne, Southern Star International, Sales) told me the following on the 6th of January 2006:
Dear Karli

Southern Star own the rights, but there has been no demand for these so they have been removed from sale.

Very best regards
Judy (Mailto: JInnes@sstar.com.au)
This was refreshing information and it led to a flood of e-mails from Famous Five-fans to "Southern Star Group". The more annoying was the information, that "suddenly" Southern Star Group was not the owner of the rights after all, and we were asked to contact the "Enid Blyton Estate".

Chorion

April 2006: "Enid Blyton Estate" sounded fine for us - these are the family heirs of Enid Blyton, by the way, who in fact owned the rights of Enid Blyton's works (including the film-rights), but they were sold to "Chorion PLC" in the year 2003.

Reason enough for us fans to contact "Chorion PLC" in the United Kingdom. Mrs. Esra Caver (Mailto: esra.cafer@chorion.co.uk ), at "Chorion PLC" is responsible for Famous Five rights of any sort. On April 4th, 2006 we received the following, promising answer:
Dear Karli,

Several fans in Germany and Austria have written to us recently about the 1970s DVD. Further to my previous email, our legal team has investigated the rights situation relating to this series. Chorion actually does not own the rights to release the DVD you are after; these rights lie with Zenith North (previously called Portman Entertainment and Family Film AG), who have to get our permission before releasing any Famous Five episodes. Perhaps you should contact Zenith with your request.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help to you.
Kind regards,
Esra Cafer

Zenith North

April 2006: And we did exactly as advised, for we already suspected "Zenith North" to be blocking the rights, according to older rumours saying that the old series would hinder the marketing of the newer version produced in the 90-ies.

It would have been too good to be true to expect relieving information - so the answer of "Zenith North" did not really come as a surprise:
I can confirm that Zenith Entertainment/Zenith North do not hold any rights in this version of the Famous Five - You will need to contact Chorion at the following address and numbers.

Chorion PLC
Aldwych House
81 Aldwych
London, WC2B 4HN

Tel: +44 20 7061 3800
Fax: +44 20 7061 3801
So we literally rambled from one company to another. "Chorion PLC" pointed out "Zenith North" and "Zenith North" again referred to "Chorion PLC".

Comment

All our research work was in vain. We, the fans, felt put on the wrong track several times.


It seems really nobody knows what happened to the rights of the Famous Five series. Meanwhile illegal copying booms in the internet, especially at "ebay.co.uk".

One of the most famous illegal copy collections of the Famous Five series (Vol. 1-3) is sold there by some "Chris Thompson" (eBay Name: vdv_gold) at enormous prices. Illegal copies are sent from Australia from the following address:
PO BOX 1015
JOONDALUP 6919, Western Australia
It can hardly be doubted, that this all happens beyond the borders of all legal commerce.

Whether or not the traces concerning the rights are scattered to the four winds, as Robin Bray (Granada Programme Copy Sales) describes it, only "Super RTL" would know. "Super RTL" definitively knows who the true owner of the rights of the old Famous Five series of 1978-1979 is, because they were the last to broadcast the series between 1997 and 1998.

All the expenditure and effort, all the requests and emotions mingled in the search for the rights of this series could be rewarded by "Super RTL" presenting the company responsible for the licensing of the series in 1997/98, and who could be asked regarding a DVD-release.

As you can see, the German TV-company "Super RTL" contributes to the withholding of German cultural goods from us fans, by helping to block the old Famous Five series and answering fan-requests with impersonal short-notes. Always remember this fact, when turning on "Super RTL" for yourself or your children!!!!

If one of you wants to present his personal view - concerning this discussion - to "Super RTL" station, you can do this per e-mail:

zuschauerinfo@superrtl.de

Otherwise I do not have too much hope that our beloved Famous Five series of 1978-1979 will ever again appear on the screen and for us all it'll be:
"Wherever there's adventure to be found…"
Karli

Completion Felix - 10th of May 2006
As a result of pressure made by quite a number of fans and my own request, SuperRTL finally gave a short statement:
Dear Mr. Böhm,
Thank you for your e-mail and your interest in SuperRTL. We are glad to be able to help you concerning your request. After consulting our editors we would like to inform you, that all rights concerning Enid Blyton are with Chorion in England.
We hope we could help you with this information, and we wish you lots of fun and good entertainment with SuperRTL in future.

Best regards
Your SuperRTL viewers department

Citel Video

Screenshot aus der Anfangssequenz der Citel-Produktion 25th of April 2006: Buchcover der französischen Citel-Produktion In the late 90-ies a French video-company called "Citel VIDEO", brought out the series on VHS. On the French tapes one can easily see the "Columbia Tristar"- logo on the right hand side. This could, by the way, also be another piece to the puzzle.
Today "Citel VIDEO" has no publishing rights for the series anymore, as Mme Cecile Martineau explained to me in the following note. (Still I plan to continue my search in this direction, asking who sold "Citel VIDEO" the license for publishing the VHS version.)




Dear Mr. Karli,
As a reply to your request I inform you, that we are not any more the license owner of the "Famous Five" since about 5 years. In addition we did not release any VHS tapes since the beginning of 2005. On the other hand this version may be produced by another publisher, whereof I have no further information.

Sincerely

Cécile Martineau
CITEL VIDEO
Assistante commerciale
Tel : 01 53 26 31 40
Fax : 01 53 26 31 32
Mail : c.martineau@citel-video.fr

Daten der Citel-Produktion The dates of the publishing of the VHS version and the last broadcast by Super RTL suit together.
The French and the Italian Television also broadcasted the series:
http://www.planete-jeunesse.com/sources/series.php3?cle=481
http://www.antoniogenna.net/doppiaggio/telefilm/labandadeicinque.htm

And also the French friends of the old Famous Five series wish for a new DVD release, there are even calls from Italy. In my view a DVD Collection in English, German French and Italian languages would make a DVD release for the company in question even more lucrative.
Karli

Primetime auf DVD

"PRIMETIME" – This is the solution of the riddle!!!

Primetime auf DVD "Southern Star" let us go around in a circuit:

In fact "Southern Star Group"admitted twice to own the rights concerning the old Famous Five series of 1978/79:

To begin with, Mrs. Judy Innes did so (mailto: JInnes@sstar.com.au), on the 6th of January, 2006:
Judy Innes Dear Karli,

Southern Star owns the rights, but there has been no demand for these so they have been removed from sale.

Very best regards

Judy
(Personal Assistant to Cathy Payne, Southern Star International, Sales)
http://www.southernstargroup.com/SearchResults.aspx?Search=Blyton
Secondly the information was confirmed by Mrs. Catherine Payne, Chief Executive, Southern Star International (mailto: cpayne@sstar.com.au) on Febuary 2nd, 2006:
Catherine Payne CC: Kirsten Cargill (kcargill@sstar.uk.com), Cathy Meacock (cmeacock@sstar.uk.com), Judy Innes (JInnes@sstar.com.au)

Dear Karli,
Thank you for your email. While I appreciate your loyal following of the series, there are no current plans to have the series released on DVD and/or licensed to TV in Germany.

Regards

Cathy Payne

Catherine Payne
Chief Executive
Southern Star International
Phone: 61-2-9202 8506; Fax: 61-2-9956 6918; Mobile: 61-417 220575
Email: cpayne@sstar.com.au
Website: www.southernstargroup.com
So, as one can plainly see, Southern Star Group admitted twice to be the owner of the rights of the old Famous Five series - the confirmation coming from reliable sources.
I suppose "e-m-s new media AG"received a similar answer to their buying-request concerning the rights.

You definitively all will now ask yourselves the same question: What does the " Southern Star Group" have to do with "PRIMETIME"?
In order to find an answer, simply read through the last lines of this link:
http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~jamiebro/southern-franbat.html
and the following "Southern Star"- article:
Southern Star Logo
SOUTHERN STAR GROUP LIMITED
MAY 1999


Southern Star is actively seeking to expand its distribution operations to further strengthen its role as a multinational supplier of television programming. The company is also continuing to diversify its production activities, not olny within Australia and the UK, but also by increasing its involvement in key international co-productions.

Southern Star has grown in 25 years to be Australia's largest producer of television programming and the 10th largest English language film and television library in the world. In 1997 Southern Star acquired the UK based television company, Circle Communications, including its distributiuon arm, Pavilion. In 1998 Southern Star acquired a second UK based company - Primetime - a television distribution company with a significant catalogue of English language programming. The libraries of Pavilion and Primetime have now been integrated into Southern Star Sales, the Australian based sales and distribution division of Souhtern Star Group.

Catherine Payne - Southern Star International (Australia)
 
To rid themselves of the annoying requests coming from Famous Five - fans, the company decided to advise everyone who asked, to contact the "Enid Blyton Estate" (Chorion) for answers:
The fans therefore received only soothing e- mail answers from the "Southern Star Group", reading as follows:
Thank you for your enquiry but unfortunately Southern Star does not hold the rights for DVD and video, these are retained by the Enid Blyton Estate (Chorion), please do not send any further requests regarding this to Southern Star but forward any queries for DVD or Videos to the Enid Blyton Estate (Chorion) as Southern Star cannot assist with these.

Kind Regards

Southern Star
In addition we also wanted to hear the opinion of "Southern Star", establishment Great Britain, when asked to the rights of the old "Famous Five" TV series. It did not take long, and we received an answer to our request:

May, 10th, 2006: "Southern Star" - establishment GB informed us, that the rights went back to todays "Portman Film & TV Ltd.:
Unfortunately, I have to advise you that Southern Star did not acquire German- speaking rights to these series. In any event, the copyright in these programmes has now reverted to "Portman Film & TV Ltd".

With kind regards
Kate Green
Sales Assistant to Veronique Verges
Southern Star International Ltd
12 Raddington Road
London W10 5TG
Tel: +44 (0)20 8968 2437
Fax +44 (0)20 8968 2412
Email: kgreen@sstar.uk.com
Of course we immediately followed this hint. But the result was, what else could we expect, that "Southern Star" gave us a wrong answer.

Portman Film & Television

Portman Film & TV Ltd.

May, 11th, 2006: "Portman" formally denied this in their answer, which reads as follows:
Portman sold its rights in this series of Famous Five in the early 90s. The TV rights are now held by "Southern Star" but as far as I know the Enid Blyton Estate (Chorion) has not renewed the video rights so I reckon you ought to push this request at Chorion.

Best wishes

Annie Protheroe
Portman Film & Television Ltd
21 - 25 St Anne's Court
London W1F 0BJ
Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7494 8024
Fax: 00 44 (0)20 7494 8046
Email: sales@portmanfilm.com
http://www.portmanfilm.com/

In whatever direction we lead our search, more and more hints pointed towards " Southern Star" as being the owner of the rights concerning the master-copy of the series. So our search again went towards "Southern Star" Australia and their distribution of licenses.

Logo ILC

ILC Group Ltd


The programme archive of "Primetime" (who directly took over from "Southern Television" in 1981) was definitively taken over in 1998 by "Southern Star" in connection with their take-over of the company.
Already in 1999 "Southern Star" sold licenses for a VHS video release of the most of the old 1978/79 "Famous Five" sequences to the English media-company "ILC Group Ltd".

Logo ILC auf Video

See also: http://www.animus-web.demon.co.uk/maidens/archives.htm

This also explains the note "licensed from Southern Star" on the "Famous Five" 1978/79 VHS-tapes produced by "ILC Group Ltd" in 1999.
VHS Tapes by "ILC Group Ltd"

So it can be taken for sure that "Southern Star" definitively handed over the licenses for VHS video production of this series to "ILC Group Ltd", there can be no doubt about that. The VHS tapes released by "ILC Group Ltd" on November 8th, 1999 were taken from the market on November 1st, 2003. Due to the fact, that the media-world announced, that any Blyton film and TV rights went back to "Chorion" in 2003, suddenly no distribution of licenses by "Southern Star" took place since that day.
Many people believed for a long time, that this would also affect the old " Famous Five"-films (before 2003). But this is not true. Only new productions after 2003 are affected by this new rights situation. "Chorion" does not have any influence on the licensing of the master tapes in question.

In fact "Southern Star" never denied to be the owner of the rights concerning the master tapes, quite the contrary, but they feared opposition of "Chorion" if they decided to distribute a license to another media company.

"Southern Star" simply does not attach the due importance to this TV series of the seventies and expects difficulties with "Chorion", who would and could never practice obstructionism! That is why "Southern Star" removed the option for a license distribution for this series out of their license variety sortiment in 2003. At the moment, "Southern Star" has only licenses for:
in their license programme.

See: http://www.southernstargroup.com/SearchResults.aspx?Search=Blyton


Logo REEL DVD Pty Ltd.

Reel Corporation Australia Pty Ltd.


19th of June 2006 Insertion:
In 2005 a "SPECIAL 4 DVD DISC COLLECTOR'S SET" of the old series was launched by the Australian media company "Reel Corporation Australia Pty Ltd"

For details see: The DVD edition by REEL

On the back of the cover the only hint towards the provider of the license is following imprint:

Logo Primetime auf REEL DVD

After we solved the mystery around "Primetime" (see: "Primetime" - the solution to the riddle) we were additionally interested in what "Reel Corporation Australia Pty Ltd" had to say concerning the topics "Primetime" and "Southern Star". Mr. Mark Butler, Chief Executive Officer of the "Reel Corporation Australia Pty Ltd" personally gave us sufficient answer to our question.
Dear Karli,

I am writing in response to your note.
  1. Primetime was a U.K. based company that was acquired by Southern Star.
  2. We acquired the rights to Famous Five through Primetime and subsequently re-licensed through Southern Star.
  3. You are quite correct in that an error was made in the duplication where programmes from the earlier series were complied by mistake. This stock was withdrawn from the market and destroyed and replaced with the correct product.
Kind Regards,

Mark Butler
Chief Executive Officer
Reel Corporation Australia Pty Ltd
Studio 20, Waterview Bay Wharf
37 Nicholson Street, Balmain NSW 2041
Sydney, AUSTRALIA
email: m.butler@reelcorporation.com
p + 61 2 9555 9269
f + 61 2 9810 6993
m 0412 618 648
www.reeldvd.com.au
Though it is rather sad, that this duplication mistake of the old "Famous Five" TV series simply was destroyed and therefore became a rarity for us fans, this assures us once again, that "Southern Star" is the owner of the rights of license distribution of the old "Famous Five"-series of 1978/79!

It would be nice, would it not, if "Southern Star" could decide to reintegrate the old "Famous Five" series into their sortiment of licenses available and would not constantly point towards "Chorion" or the "Enid Blyton Estate". For the error that "Chorion" is supposed to be the rightful owner of licenses for the series is solved by now, as you can read in the following:

Chorion

9th of June 2006: Deep-hit on Friday: Esra announces that there was no forthcoming with "Chorion". It is really demotivating what she has to tell:
Dear fans of the Famous Five in Germany and Austria,

I am finally able to respond to you all regarding the possibility of releasing a German-speaking DVD of the 1970s series of the Famous Five.

I'm afraid I have bad news. Chorion can categorically confirm that it does not hold the rights in this series, nor has it been able to identify who exactly does have the rights in this series. The Chorion legal team have invested a huge amount of time into investigating this matter and have been very thorough. We have identified that it was originally produced by the Portman Group under license from Family Film AG and Copyright Promotions (who, in turn, jointly acquired the rights from Darrell Waters Limited). We understand that Family Film AG became part of the Portman Group which is, we understand, now part of the Zenith Group. However, it is impossible for Chorion to identify whether the rights in this series were passed on from Family Film AG to the Portman Group, or from the Portman Group to Zenith. Please remember that this series was produced 30 years ago and that the initial production company no longer exists.

Chorion has dedicated a large amount of resource to this matter. We can go no further in our investigations. I therefore have to confirm to you all that we will no longer be looking into this, and that I will no longer be able to respond to any emails from fans on this issue.

I'm very sorry that Chorion has not been able to help you further. We have tried very hard to get to the bottom of the ownership issue, but despite our best efforts it is impossible to identify where the rights now lie. Please believe that we have been highly impressed with your level of devotion to the Famous Five and are sad that we haven't been able to get the DVD to you.

Thank you for understanding our position.

Kind regards,

Esra
_________________________
Esra Cafer
Content Development Manager
Direct line: +44 20 7061 3856
Chorion PLC
4th Floor Aldwych House
81 Aldwych
London WC2B 4HN
Why does not "Chorion" write to the actual rights owner "Southern Star"? Esra mentions 30 years, but that "ILC" published all sequences under the license of " Southern Star", this she does not take into account.

This resulted in an immediate reply from our parts - already on its way to Esra
Dear Esra,

Thank you very much for your reply and investigations concerning the old "Famous Five" TV series 1978/79.
Your news did not shock me so much because I also came to this fact a few months ago.
Because:
Indeed the film rights lie nowadays with "Southern Star Group", Australia.

Why that:
In 1982 "Southern Television" and its film archive was sold to "Primetime", UK.
In 1998 "Primetime", UK and its film archive was acquired by "Southern Star", AU.
In 1999 "Southern Star" licensed a VHS video release of the 1978/79 TV series to the English media company "ILC".

http://www.ilcdvd.com/

Logo ILC Logo ILC auf Video

ILC Group Ltd
The Props Building Pinewood
Studios Pinewood Road
Iver Heath
Buckinghamshire SL0 0NH
Great Britain

"ILC" released indeed in 1999 the 1978/79 "Famous Five" episodes on VHS tapes.
So to speak the rights are not lost. They lie with "Southern Star", AU.

"Southern Star", Australia, wrote me in January 2006 that the rights lie indeed still with them! They just have no plans to release this series on DVD, because there has been no demand on this old TV series since a few years and because the handling seems a little difficult since the Blyton film rights reverted to Chorion in 2003.

I hope you will still get in touch with Mrs. Payne, Southern Star, Australia and to talk about the German-speaking desire of a DVD release through the DVD company "e-m-s new media AG", Germany.

Here the contact address of Mrs. Payne:
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SOUTHERN STAR SALES
Southern Star International - Sydney office
Cathy Payne
Phone: +612 9202 8508
Email: cpayne@sstar.com.au

Hoping to get a reply from you I send you all best wishes from Austria!

Karl

P.s.: It was very nice to have met Mrs Pam Ally on the Enid Blyton Day 2006 in Twyford!
Please convey my best greetings to Pam!!!
Fortunately Karli made Pam's acquaintance in the meantime, so we had the opportunity to contact her directly:
Dear Pam,Karl und Pam

First of all I thank you for your help concerning the search of the rights of the old "Famous Five" 1978/79 TV series and for having passed on my information to Esra.

Today I got a somewhat disappointing message of Esra that Chorion will no longer be looking into this.

I really can understand that because Chorion has dedicated a large amount of resource to this matter.

Well, for me it was right at the beginning clear that neither Portman nor Zenith holds the rights of this TV series.

Of course this series was produced 30 years ago and the initial production company no longer exits. But did Chorion ever contact "Southern Star", Australia, who is indeed the owner of the series? In 1999 "Southern Star" Australia licensed this series to the media company "ILC" for a VHS video release (please see attached Word file: Information)

Why Chorion does not get in touch with "Southern Star", Australia and "ILC", UK?

It is just a few years ago that the copyright concerning "The Famous Five" 1978/ 79 TV series was sill clear because of the official VHS video release of the " ILC" company in 1999.

I kindly request you to speak once more again with Esra to get yet still in touch with "Southern Star" and "ILC".

I am sure this is the solution of this never-ending puzzle!

Thank you very much for your attention and your help.

All best wishes from Austria,

Karli.
You see, we're still at it and we will do all we can to have this series revived. As soon as there is additional information, or in case we need the help of interested parties, we will let you know immediately!


And once more Chorion


29th of June 2006: Southern Star react sympathetic to our anew request concerning a DVD release of that TV series.
As we finally found out, Southern Star is the owner of the master tapes, as well as the TV rights and in the meantime by communicating with Chorion.
Since there are recognisably some misunderstandings indoors of Chorion concerning the the home video rights and licensing agreements, we have filed a complaint at the Chief Executive of Chrorion, Mr. Mr. Nicholas James:

Complaint

To Mr. Nicholas James, Chief Executive


Dear Nicholas James,

As we told Mrs. Cafer in our last email, not only the German-speaking but also the other European fans of the old 1978/79 "Famous Five" TV series are so much disappointed about Chorion's last message which Mrs. Cafer wrote to them. We get hundreds of fan emails a week from all over Europe!!!

It is no more a question of searching the rights in that TV series. Indeed they lie with Southern Star. They also own the master tapes of that TV series and now, due a lot of fan requests, they are at least also willed to revive "their" Famous Five 1978/79 TV series by a DVD edition.

We hope that Chorion will change its point of view and renew the home video licence, so that Southern Star can exploit the old 1978/79 "Famous Five" TV series for home video and DVD releases.

Don´t you think that Chorion lead all the fans astray in telling (citation):
Chorion can categorically confirm that it does not hold the rights in this series, nor has it been able to identify who exactly does have the rights in this series. The Chorion legal team have invested a huge amount of time into investigating this matter and have been very thorough.
The rights lie without any doubt with Southern Star as you can plainly see:
Dear Karl,

Cathy Payne has referred your email regarding The Famous Five to myself, I handle all home video and DVD rights for the Southern Star catalogue in Europe.

Whilst Southern Star own the television and video rights to the 1970's series of FAMOUS FIVE in perpetuity, the video rights are subject to a license from the Enid Blyton Estate. Our license to exploit the home video (and DVD) rights expired in 2003 and we've been trying since then to renew the license to exploit these rights.

Chorion (on behalf of the Estate) said that they did not want to renew the license for the time being as they wanted to keep these rights out of the marketplace at the moment, and they were reviewing the brand position.

We have contacted them several times since then (and again last week) to see if their position has changed.

Should their position change and the rights are approved for exploitation I can assure you that I will be speaking with distributors throughout Europe to have this series released.

Very kind regards
Kirsten Cargill
kcargill@sstar.uk.com

Sales Executive - Video & Licensing
Southern Star International
A Southern Cross Broadcasting Company
We think the turn is now up to Chorion again.
We hope that after this long and unnecessary odyssey, we all went through, that Chorion will relent in this matter and will support to bring this old, much-loved TV series back to the European TV screens!

For the moment we can promise you that we try our best to prevent all the fans from writing letters or emails of complaint to Chorion because of its misdirection concerning the search for the rights.

We hope that you will stay in touch leastwise with us, the "Famous Five Fanpage Team" and inform us about good news.

All best wishes from very hot and football watching Austria and Germany,
Where ever there's adventure to be found...

Karli and Felix
- Webmaster Fünf-Freunde-Fanpage Famous Five Fanpage -
http://ff5.lgfb.de

We nourish hope that this complete odyssey shapes well soon and Chorion will renew the general home video rights, which expired in 2003, so that Southern Star can exploit the home video rights by granting a licence, e.g. to the company "e-m-s new media AG", for a DVD release.

Logo e-m-s new media AG

e-m-s new media AG

14th of June 2006: externer Link e-m-s new media AG assured us - the "Famous Five" Fanpage Team that they are working at the achievement of the license rights of this series with enormous pressure.

Details concerning the e-m-s DVD release will be published on the fanpage and at the same time on the e-m-s homepage, as soon as it becomes ripe for decision.

So much we can tell you already: If it is possible for e-m-s to release a DVD version of the series - so e-m-s - it will be a smashing edition.

Not only would Enid Blyton celebrate her 110th birthday on August, 11th, 2007, more still, the old "Famous Five" TV series of 1978/79 celebrates its 30th anniversary on July 3rd, 2008!!

The shops simply call for a "30th Anniversary Special Edition"!

Provided the DVD release comes to pass, we will do our best, to organize (together with e-m-s) a big event and fan-meeting (including the actors of the enquestioned series) for the presentation of the new DVD edition.

So for now we again ask all fans of the old "Famous Five" TV series of 1978/79 to remain calm and refrain from further emails to e-m-s and other companies, because e-m-s is now informed about the enormous interest existing in the availability of a DVD version.

We promise you, e-m-s is working hard on the task and we, the "Famous Five Fanpage Team" represent your interests concerning the revival of this ultimate cultural classic of the seventies.

In addition we would like to thank you for the great amount of motivating emails.

NDR

It is always nice to receive mails from other fans, who actively participate in the search for the broadcasting rights mentioned by the author of this page, especially if it concerns the "NDR" (North German Radio). That is an honour on the highest level.
Dear Mr. H...

In advance: Sincere thanks for your interest in our TV program and thank you very much for your suggestion to air the TV series "The Famous Five", which I will gladly forward.
However, the NDR (North German Radio) has no rights in that TV series, which was ultimately aired by ZDF (Second Channel of German Television Broadcasting) and Super RTL.
Maybe there they will help you along. During my investigations I found out that there must be an English DVD at the market, but the rights for a repetition on TV are very difficult to clear.
If interested, you can visit the "Famous Five Fanpage" http://ff5.lgfb.de to learn more.

Invocation to ALL fans of the "Famous Five" TV-series of 1978/79 to Chorion

Teaser Aufruf 2007: George und Timmy im zugemauertem Tunnel 05.06.2007: For exactly one year Chorion promises us again and again that they would renew the videorights for the "Famous Five" TV-Serie of 1978/79. However, in reality we are put off again and again anew and the wall does not move.

Chorion speaks of very old videorights and contracts. However, between 1999 and 2003 still different companies (e.g.: ILC Group Ltd in Great Britain, Citel VIDEO in France, vision MCEG Virgin in Australia) videos of this series have produced, one does not seem to follow with Chorion.

We were, by many promises on the part of Chorion, full of hope that they will keep their promise and, finally, the videorights would be renewed in this series, so that first possibly a DVD edition would appear. Apparently one still believes with chorion that there are no more fans of the "Famous Five" TV-series of 1978/79 among us any more; and, therefore, a renewal of the videorights has no priority. Herewith, therefore, we invoke you, the real fans of the "Famous Five" TV-series of 1978/79 to announce themselves to Chorion and to demonstrate clearly to this company that there are still "a few" fans who wish this series on DVD. Chorion underestimates quite easily the number of us, the fans...

Chorion had to justify itself to one year still, compared with a few hundred fan inquiries. Now however, because we co-operate with many other Fanpages and forums, it will get to do Chorion, in the end, with thousands upon thousands of fans who will not be able to be put off any more and allow to sell for silly ...!

To whom the "Famous Five" TV-series of 1978/79 means something to him, please inform the Chorion boss, Mr. Nicholas James, personally! Here we have sketched a suggestion text, which, of course you can change freely and/or complement with own comments, wishes, suggestions.
Please, do not forget to put down your name and address with Your name, Address, email!

suggestion text to the email-address: corporate@chorion.co.uk
Dear Mr Nicholas James,

A year ago your company promised me the renewal of the video rights in the old " Famous Five" 1978/79 TV cult series, so that a multilingual DVD edition could at last be released.

Unfortunately nothing has happened until now and all your promises have not been kept. In my view the way Chorion handles its faithful Enid Blyton "Famous Five" fans is entirely unfair.

As a diehard of Enid Blyton's "Famous Five", I wish to draw your attention one again to this pressing matter:

Please see to the renewal of the "FamousFive" 1978/79 TV cult series video rights, so that I finally I can at last purchase its multilingual DVD edition.

Your name
Address
Email
The invocation in other languages:
de Aufruf an ALLE Fans der "Fünf Freunde" TV-Serie von 1978/79
es Llamamiento a TODOS los fans de la serie de TV de 1978/79 "Los Cinco"
fr Appel à TOUS les fans de la série TV 1978/79 "Le Club des Cinq"
it Appello a TUTTI i fan della serie TV "La Banda dei Cinque" del 1978/79
nl Oproep aan ALLE fans van de "De Vijf" 1978/79 tv-serie
he קריאה לכל אוהדי סדרת הטלביזיה "החמישיה הסודית" מ-1978/79

The Chorion Boss answers

It's a long way...
24.06.2007: Dear Fans, thank you for your cooperation. It seems that "a few" fans have written to Mr James, as he now answers in a short statement, giving some clues about the legal side. It is definitevly a first step, but unfortunately it's still a long way to get the DVD edition.

Dear Karl,

As I'm sure you are aware, I have recently received several emails from Famous Five fans in Germany who are frustrated at the length of time it is taking to give you any news about the 1970s Famous Five series being made available on DVD for fans to enjoy. I am sending our response to you directly, and I hope you will not mind posting it on your website, or forwarding it on to all the other fans so that they receive it. Thank you.

First of all, I want to sincerely thank you all for your continued interest in the Famous Five brand. It is heartening to see your loyalty and passion for the Famous Five and I only hope we can inspire a similar fan base for the new Famous Five show amongst children of today. Chorion are very aware of your desire to enjoy the 1970s series again on DVD and I want to assure you that we are doing all we can to make that happen.

When Chorion acquired Enid Blyton Ltd in 1996, we inherited the rights positions that the previous owner (the Blyton family) had entered into over the years. The television and film rights position we inherited for the 1970s series specifies that these rights can only be exercised with the agreement of the producer and the owner. This means that nothing can happen to these rights without the agreement of both the television company and Chorion.

Our legal team is, and has been for several months, working very hard to ascertain exactly where the rights to the TV show lie so that we can clear them for video release. The rights have changed hands several times over the last 30 years, as the original television company was bought by another company and this has happened several more times since, making the rights status complicated and difficult to trace. I cannot share details with you as we are in legal negotiations and cannot make these details public. I cannot say how much longer this will take, however, we are committed to resolving this and I believe we are making progress.

When we have some news that we can share, please believe that we will certainly do so. Until then, we will continue to focus our attentions on clearing these rights so that you can all enjoy this series again.

Kind regards,
Nicholas James
Chief Executive

Where ever there's adventure to be found... Karli and Felix

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