Inevitable Sugababes post.


Music Find above the Sugababes on This Morning on the occasion of the announcement of their UK tour. It's a lovely interview. Doesn't cover much new ground but the fact that it's the three of them on a sofa on morning television doing this sort of thing and looking so relaxed with one another, well, it's lovely. 

They will be playing Liverpool, the 02 Academy just off London Road. Will I go? I don't know. You would think, but it depends on the price of the ticket and whether I feel like I can stand in a large crowd amid my anxiety. It's over ten years since I've been to any concert. 

One mitigating factor might be that the BBC aren't televising their Glastonbury set because it's on the Avalon stage and it's not one of the five venues they'll be covering so I'll be unable to see whether they do an acoustic version of Get Sexy or have a less dodgy recording than this of Siobhan singing Heidi's bits from Push The Button.

On the upside, MKS's Flatline has been uploaded to the official Sugababes YouTube channel after ten years which is also kind of wonderful.


Classical Hollywood and where to watch it (in the UK).

Film  We're constantly being warned now about the death of physical media and it's true that a swathe of new films are no longer receiving timely shiny disc releases if at all.  MARVEL have already announced that none of their Disney+ shows are going to disc (which means our MCU collections will be forever incomplete).  But it's fine, we're told, streaming services have such depth of content it won't matter.

Except, that's not true, at least in the UK and especially for those of us who're interested in Hollywood cinema made in the classical era during the first wave of vertical integration, when the "content stream" went from sound stage to studio owned theatres rather than streaming services because what are Disney+, Paramount+ and Netflix if not that?

As you'll see below from the survey I've made, the back catalogue or archive of the major studios during the studio era is all but absent from the major subscription streaming services apart from the most popular titles.  There isn't a streaming equivalent of the 20th Century Fox Studio Classics collection and the Criterion Channel hasn't launched here.

Which isn't to say there aren't ways of seeing these films.  As I advertise every day on Twitter, Cinema Paradiso has in its collection every dvd or blu-ray released in this country going right back to the early noughties (you can sign up here and get a free month to try it out).  Pretty much the whole of Cary Grant's career is available for example.

If you just want to watch the occasional thing you can also rent most titles through Amazon Video although at up to £3.50 a pop that could get expensive if you're on a Ginger Rogers binge, for example.  There are also nefarious uploads to YouTube or the Internet Archive which in some cases is the only way of getting hold of some material in the UK.

British cinema on the other hand is pretty well served by boutique UK streamers.  Between Britbox, the BFI Player and TPTV EncoreNetwork on Air is also slowly coming on stream.  Between them there's probably a couple of hundred titles which is remarkable in comparison to what's elsewhere.  Between the BFI Player and MUBI, European cinema is also impressively covered.

But in the main, no matter who has the rights to this stuff, none of the UK streaming services with the exception of Disney are interested in exploiting pre-60s US film.  Perhaps they're afraid of cannibalising the dvd back listings.  If only films were treated in the same way as Spotify and there was a single place you could go to watch everything in film history for a single subscription price.

Columbia Pictures

In deep archive terms in the UK, Columbia Pictures doesn't exist.  At time of writing has two films from the studio era, Amazon Prime has another two and All4 has a couple for catch-up purposes.  Plex has a smattering of westerns.

20th Century Fox

Disney don't seem to have any interest in exploiting the Fox catalogue before the 1970s and even then only films "of note".  The only two studio area films on Disney+ are An Affair to Remember and Journey to the Centre of the Earth and they're both from the late 50s.


Nothing.  Much like Fox, when Amazon took control of MGM's assets it seemed as though uploading MGM's back catalogue would be one of the priorities, especially from the studio system era, but nope.


Before the UK launch of Paramount+ I was salivating at the sheer amount of classic Hollywood material available on the US version.  But sadly none of that has transferred over.  Yet.  As it stands we find the contents of the Audrey Hepburn boxed set which always seems to be perpetually on sale at Fopp and a couple of westerns.  There's also the weirdness of seeing Miramax films in the mix here instead of Disney+, the parent company Viacom having bought the company recently but that's a discussion for another time.

RKO Radio Pictures

Back in the mid-50s, the BBC signed an incredible deal which means they have the rights to show a core set about about a hundred RKO titles in perpetuity.  This still seems to be in abeyance and so we find forty-odd movies on the BBC iPlayer.  Plex GB has another dozen.

Samuel Goldwyn Productions

Due to the slightly chaotic approach to how films appear on its service it's impossible to know if this is due to rights or an uploader, but thirty-eight films from the Sam Goldwyn Company are on Amazon Prime with prints of varying quality.  Compared to the output list on Wikipedia, its by no means everything there's a fair spread across the United Artists and RKO distribution eras.

United Artists

Twenty films on Amazon Prime.  Sixteen on Plex GB.  Four on Pluto GB.  Although this is one of the messier studios to investigate because they were mainly a distributor for productions from major studios and minors.  Often "United Artists" films were actually produced by a much smaller company then branded as such.  The Netflix of their day.

Universal Pictures

Nope.  Even assets like the monsters sequence.

Walt Disney Studios

Disney+ of course.  Although the studio's entire history isn't quite available, all of the important releases are, across animated and live action.  The standard.

Warner Brothers

Nothing from the studio era on any service.  Perhaps that will change when HBO Max launches in (checks notes) 2025.