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U pins cash on DVD ‘Tail’

Pays record $1.8 mil for TV comedy

LONDON — Universal Pictures U.K. has paid a record-breaking £1 million ($1.8 million) for the DVD rights to an irreverent British comedy TV show, four months before it airs.

Universal paid about three times the going rate for “A Bear’s Tail,” which is expected to be a top-selling DVD next Christmas.

It is believed to be the biggest DVD deal for a TV series in Blighty since new terms of trade enabled indie producers to retain rights, rather than hand them over to broadcasters.

“A Bear’s Tail,” made by Bellyache Productions, comes from the same stable as cult comedy “Bo’ Selecta” and is created by Leigh Francis.

“Bo’ Selecta,” screened by Channel 4 in Blighty, was a big DVD seller in the U.K., moving more than 1 million copies.

The deal was brokered on behalf of Bellyache Productions by Rachel Barke at RDF Rights, the distribution arm of RDF Prods.

“We are very excited to have signed with Bellyache and look forward to building on Leigh’s huge success on DVD with the first ‘Bear’ release later this year,” said Helen Parker, joint managing director of Universal Pictures U.K.

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