Well here it is, Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you’re all happy you got what you wanted! I thought I’d write a bit about how this site single handedly got the DVD of Satellite City finally on our shelves.
Since 1999 questions have been asked as to why Satellite City got cancelled, considering its popularity in Wales it would seem that BBC Wales had a good thing going. Similar questions were asked as to why it never got a DVD release considering that the BBC had released, in our (the fans) opinion, somewhat inferior shows. When asked about these conundrums, the talent behind the shows put it down to maybe politics and just not enough interest, but I wasn’t convinced that we’d never get to see it get a release.
I’ve been a big DVD collector for four years now, gathering a sizeable collection and have always had a passion for collecting releases of the nostalgic television and cinema from my childhood and teens. As you’ll appreciate, not everything has come my way and there’s still a lot more I’d love to see on DVD but with Satellite City it seemed like I was the only person who was willing to do anything about it. I had been a big fan when I was in secondary school and had enjoyed it immensely.
Back in 2006 Boyd Clack, the writer and star of the show was doing an evening of interviews and Satellite City screenings at my University, I managed to attend the first half hour but had to go, luckily I caught him before the event and asked if he’d be willing to help me get some insight into the show so I could design a website for it. After learning of the seminar, I’d tried to do some research across the internet for Satellite City and Boyd Clack, to no avail, it seemed they’d either fallen off Google’s map or nobody had tried to raise more awareness of them or give them a web presence. I did however, come across another dedicated fan’s work and commitment to Satellite City and High Hopes through a number of sites like IMDB and TV.com, with similar intent, he’d been building show guides etc for a number of years, and with his advice, I set about designing a website for Boyd’s work and the shows. In due course, I learned that neither of the shows had had the DVD release they so richly deserved, so I set out to change that too.
I set up petitions for Satellite City and High Hopes DVDs, after realising a website solely based on Satellite City may not have as wide an appeal as one which covered other Clack projects. At the start of the campaign I approached the BBC about both programs, they offered very little and gave me the same generic email and telephone responses – “I’ve passed on your feedback to the higher powers and your request has been noted”. However, I had a breakthrough in mid 2007 when I learned that the DVD distribution rights did not lie in the BBC’s hands but rather in the South Wales production company that made Satellite City – Fiction Factory. This did not mean I’d get any luck, but it meant that a Satellite City DVD was most definitely a bleak possibility!
A year and a few hundred phone calls later, no developments and very little positive feedback on the matter, things started to look grim. After contacting a number of DVD production companies and coming to no suitable conclusion, I decided that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. The guys at Fiction Factory were busy with other projects and the financial obligations to the project seemed to outweigh any positive outcome a DVD would give.
In November 2008 I decided it was time for one last gamble and decided that I would make my last phone call to Fiction Factory. They’d always been very polite and positive on the phone but as it is everywhere these days, people were always very busy and time is not always a luxury they had to play with, plus a DVD is a very expensive risk to take. However, both the producers and I knew that Satellite City was worth taking a risk on. From that phone call I didn’t get much, but I managed to put into the conversation that the DVD petition had reached almost 1,000 signatures and it turned out that by December 5th 2008, that goal of 1,000, over two years later, was a reality.
You may think this is a long time for a petition for a much loved TV show to reach a thousand, but considering it’s limited audiences and it being confined to Wales, subtracting from that the number of fans that actually have an internet connection and can be bothered to log on to search for Satellite City, 1,000 is quite a significant number, and to this day, I don’t believe that even a small percentage of the people who loved and watched Satellite City on a weekly basis have signed the petition.
Fittingly, on my birthday, about two weeks after my phone call in November 2008, I received a phone call from saying that they’d called in another producer of the show, Mike Parker, who would work alongside Fiction Factory Artistic Director and fellow Satellite City producer Ed Thomas, on making the DVD a reality. Needless to say, with that news, I hit the roof with overwhelmed excitement!
They called me in to gain some knowledge on the feasibility and how best to market the DVD, and also for a chance to listen to the fans before any solid foundations for the DVD release were set in stone. Now, a year later, we have a full blown DVD box set worth of Satellite City goodness – 3 series, plus specials and pilot!