U.K.

British version of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” has raced to the top of the ratings and boosted sales of handheld vid cameras. Show, called “You’ve Been Framed,” attracted 17.8 million viewers in the week ended Feb. 10, displacing longtime favorite soap “Coronation Street.” Granada TV, which makes the show, reportedly has been receiving 2,000 homevids each week. Most are “unfunny,” according to company execs.

British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd last week resisted pressure from right-wing Conservative Party MPs who want further controls on coverage of the Persian Gulf war. Tories accuse the BBC of peddling Iraqi propaganda and are demanding that all British correspondents be pulled out of Baghdad. The Broadcasting Standards Council revealed that it has received numerous similar complaints from the public.

The first MGM cinema in the U.K. is to open at Swindon over Easter weekend. Giancarlo Parretti’s MGM owns the Cannon circuit, which comprises the former ABC and Classic cinemas and is the biggest chain in the U.K. The plan is to switch name and livery from Cannon to MGM, but no date has been set for the change.

UCI, the leading owner and operator of multiplexes in the U.K., is to open a six-plex at Sutton, Surrey, in 1992. UCI, jointly owned by Paramount and MCA/Universal, operates 19 multiplexes in the U.K. and plans to expand to a 33-site circuit within four years.

Britain’s independent tv broadcasters are alarmed by a European Community proposal that could reverse the recent trend toward more flexible work practices. EC wants to limit the workday and improve health and safety provisions for employees. The U.K. commercial tv companies, hit by recession and the looming franchise auction, have recently negotiated a host of agreements with technicians that call for longer days and, in effect, worse conditions for employees. Broadcasters are backed by the U.K. government, which has come out against the proposed EC directive.

Buena Vista’s “Lady And The Tramp” has become the bestselling vid title in the U.K., with 1.7 million units sold. Released to sell-through before Christmas and backed by heavy tv advertising, the classic title dominated the vid gift market in the preholiday season. Buena Vista now hopes for a rerun with “The Rescuers,” being released to sell-through March 11.

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