Pet Shop Boys / ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ to get blu-ray+DVD release

Pet Shop Boys / It Couldn't Happen Here to be released on blu-ray and DVD

The Pet Shop Boys‘ 1988 film It Couldn’t Happen Here will be issued on blu-ray and DVD for the first time in June.

Directed by Jack Bond, the film started life as an hour long video for the Actually album before being turned into the cult classic feature film it became. It runs for 86 minutes and stars Neil and Chris along with Joss Ackland, Gareth Hunt and Barbara Windsor.

This release was confirmed recently by Neil Tennant, who said “it was sort of a disaster. But an interesting disaster” adding that “it will probably get slammed all over again; it’s a very strange film”.

It Could Happen Here has never been issued on DVD or blu-ray (only VHS and laserdisc) but thanks to the BFI (British Film Institute) it has been newly restored from a 4K scan and a special blu-ray+DVD combo set will be released.

The HD (blu-ray) and SD (DVD) versions of the film come in a limited edition 48-page ‘digibook’ pack which includes writing on the film by Anthony Nield, Jason Wood and William Fowler. Extras will also include a feature commentary with director Jack Bond, James Dillon and Simon Archer. Other extras are to be confirmed (please say we’ll get a PSB commentary!)

It Couldn’t Happen Here will be released on 15 June 2020.

  • Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Limited Edition 48-page Digi-book includes writing on the film by Anthony Nield, Jason Wood and William Fowler
  • Feature commentary by Jack Bond, James Dillon and Simon Archer (2020)
  • Interview with Jack Bond (2020)
  • Other extras TBC

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thats a bad fan service… all sold out same day ..ebay over 100 euro ! worldwide million fans waiting for this mediabook ,andy very angry .. this is not a nice psb fan gift. I am very very sad ,after 15.june all sold out in all stores ! why not more copies ? and in germany not in store …why thats a bad services ?


here in germany cant buy this to order and amazon.uk “out of order” ..and in ebay extreme bad high prices double or more ? this is not fairness for fans.

All years a psb and cant buy this for regulare prices (or better for german version)


Total disappointment! 30 years of waiting and no result. BFI, please produce thousands and thousands copies more, don’t be so greedy !


This is now “unavailable” from Amazon.

Tony Kimsal

Looking at the specs, this seems to be incompatible with US players, if I am understanding. Paul, can you provide any clarity on that question? I am baffled why US fans would be locked out of this after all this time. Please tell me I’m wrong.


From PSB email newsletter today:

The re-release will be launched with a special preview screening at BFI Southbank on 3rd April 2020, preceded by an on-stage Q&A with Neil Tennant, Jack Bond and choreographer Arlene Phillips. Tickets will be listed at http://www.bfi.org.uk/southbank on 24th February and will be on sale as follows.

BFI Patrons and Champions – Mon 2 Mar from 11:30 AM

BFI Members – Tue 3 Mar from 11:30 AM

General public – Tue 10 Mar from 11:30 AM


Wait, you can modify an Oppo to play region-locked DVDs and Blu-rays? This US resident might be interested in learning how to do that in order to watch this release, theoretically speaking.

Phil Cohen

I bought my Oppo’s (BDP-83,BDP-105D & UDP-205) as modified “code-free” units from the outset. The Opps’s (even in their stock, off the shelf form) have PAL to NTSC & NTSC to PAL conversion capability. That ability came in handy when playing the PAL DVD’s from the new Kim Wilde 3-disc sets.


Yeah, PAL/NTSC is not a problem for me. Region-locking is. And of course they don’t make Oppos anymore, so getting one that can play region-locked discs is not in my future, I guess.

I feel like this should be a solved problem in 2020. Ah well.

Julian De Backer

Luckily, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is region-free, so at least in the future, we won’t have region code nonsense again.


Back in the days of only DVD, I bought a Denon player and the hifi shop I bought it from modified it to be region free and just charged me an extra £20 or so. It may be that your player can be modified the same way. I’m sure it was just a data disc that they played in it that modified the firmware.


For Oppo users, the following link from their Aus site might be useful. I can confirm it worked for a 203 Player here in Canada.


This came out while I was living in Japan; I got to see it in a small theater in Osaka in January 1989. Later, of course, I bought the VHS when it came out. I have a DVD dub somewhere, which I watch about once a year.

Yes, It Couldn’t Happen Here isn’t exactly award-winning cinema by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have its moments. And I never get tired of the diner scene.

Of course, the best part, as one reviewer pointed out at the time, is getting to hear the music on a theater sound system.

It’s too bad this edition will be a Region 2 DVD/Region B blu-ray, since music video releases are usually coded for all regions. I’m hoping there will at least be a Japanese edition, so I can get that.

Jack the Lad

This Must Be the Disc I’ve Waited Years to Ignore



Scott R

If only Australians could buy this! We’re not allowed to buy anything from amazon.co.uk and this is something i’ve wanted since I got an old VHS copy from a video store. Ebay, here I come ant 5 times the price…..

Dean Balaam

I’m certain someone in the U.K. would be happy to source this for you. Australia has got plenty of exclusive item for trade fodder! Hint, hint!

Domino Dancer

Even if we do that, it’s region coded for the UK only (both DVD and Blu-Ray) so unless you have a multi-region player, you can’t play it in Australia anyway. Why don’t they release it in a multi-region format?!

Auntie Sabrina

Australia BD coding is B, but Region 4 for DVD.

Argi Bargi

Play it on your computer and use regeion free software, should be tonnes, donkeys ago it use to be something fox.

Scott R

Sorry Dean. I’ve scored a copy through BFI. Australian exclusives?! I should start up an OZ sale

Scott R

Thnk you Leon!!!!!! I’ve pre-ordered it from BFI. I’ve got region free DVD and BluRay players. I don’t understand why things are still encoded for regions.


I have the movie on laserdisc. It’s truly a awful movie and utterly pretentious .. however the song segments are passable. It looks like 16mm to me but as we know from the Wham Last Christmas 4K restoration, I’m sure it cleaned up and scanned nicely. Certainly a time capsule and a must for fans.

Helena Lang

It was shot on 35mm film


Slightly OT: I just bought the current issue of the German music magazine Musikexpress. It includes a blue transparent 7″ single by the Pet Shop Boys:
A Dreamland (feat. Years &Years)
B Always on my Mind / The Pop Kids (live)


This is the PSB item I’ve wanted most. When I have my hands on this I will gladly delete the digital rip I’ve had for too long.

Eric Generic

Actually is still one of my top 10 albums, and I love the Pet Shop Boys, but this film was just too weird and didn’t click with me (perhaps unsurprisingly). I have the VHS, but I will actually (…..) get this DVD/Blu-Ray because I’m curious to see how the passage of time might have changed my reaction to it. Or not!



I’d hate them to go to all the effort of finally getting this a release and it not to have a Tennant/Lowe commentary…

Stephen K

Thanks, John R., Auntie Savtina and B.F.I. for the news about Scandal. Details look great. Hope it and It Couldn’t Happen Here get an NTSC release, even if they get licensed out to a U.S. company for release in the States. Always happy for the work the B.F.I. does!


now boys how about a Performance blu ray release?


That is something I have been waiting for… At the very least, a DVD release.

Fre Nieuwenhuis

Would be great to get a DVD release of Discovery (Live in Rio).


This is amazing and bordering on unbelievable. I never thought we’d see a proper release for this on Blu or DVD. I have a bootleg DVD of the film, but I’m looking forward to upgrading to proper release.


I’ve got a decent rip of my laserdisc of the movie (except for the soundtrack in mono) but this will be smashing!

“I’ve been up all night trying to round off the infinite…”


brilliant news! it’s a strange movie but it’s such a sweet memory from the 80s when i watched this in the cinema. blu-ray and 4k is great too.


Great news about this film being reissued. Item is listed as PAL on Amazon site. This item is currently not being offered in NTSC format which is the DVD format playable in USA. Perhaps a reader can educate us on a PAL blu-ray and whether a player can be reset/changed to play the disc in USA. Thanks.

Auntie Sabrina

Your TV must also be capable of playing PAL, it’s only the DVD that is PAL


@Mattips – You can easily find a Blu ray player that is either already enabled to play PAL and NTSC discs or find a player where you have to “hack” the player to be able to watch PAL discs. By “hack” I mean there’s usually some sequence of buttons on the remote that you’ll have to press to get to some secret menu that will let you choose settings on the player. I have this Insignia Blu ray player and that’s what I have to do so I can watch PAL Blu rays. I’m going to assume you have an LCD TV, so you’ll be fine.

Charlie D

Oppo had a pal-ntsc bluray and regional coding could be changed on their earlier players but we’re talking a $800+ machine


Mattips, there are some Blu-Ray players that can be hacked to play discs from any area, but if not done well it could seriously damage the reader. The ones you find for sale online usually do not last long for the same reason. My solution was to have an acquaintance who traveled to the UK get me one there, connected it to a transformer here in the US and voilá.
But I truly hope they release it coded for America and Canada.


I saw this in an entirely empty ABC Toledo in Glasgow in 1988.
It was dreadful!
But will be interested to see if its improved (in any way) with age.


I want it, I Want it, you know I really want it … I ‘ve been waiting for decades to get this one !!

Alan C

Worth it for the whole Gareth Hunt Ventriloquist in the café scene alone.

Mikael Björnfot

Please email me if anyone is willing to either sell the original promo cassette or copy of it. Also, han anyone confirm how these tracks differs from the original tracks they relased later?


Will they release the sound track digitally that is on the cassette only as an extra addition? Is there anyone that can confirm this?


I am in this. Filmed my bit late August/early September 87. We were told then it was going be called ‘A Hard Days Shopping’ a pun on A Hard Nights Day of course. I still have a copy of Chris jacket somewhere and we were given the film soundtrack on cassette.


I’ve only fully discovered “actually” this past week – I’m only 35, gimme a break(!) after buying the 2018 remaster vinyl through one of the SDE alerts recently. This song, It Couldn’t Happen Here, has been in my head for the last three days along with I Want To Wake Up (I already fell for What Have I Done To Deserve This? and Kings Cross a few years ago). Weird though as when googling the song at the weekend I read about this film which I had never known about!

Brian W

It Couldn’t Happen Here is such a brilliant, beautiful song. Neil wrote three songs about the same friend who died from AIDS. It Couldn’t Happen Here, Being Boring and Your Funny Uncle

Stephen K

Hopefully the movie Scandal will get the same treatment. Not that the Pet Shop Boys are in that, but besides its great cast and great ‘oldies’ soundtrack, it does feature a Pet Shop Boys/Dusty Springfield song collaboration that, honestly, I like even better than “What Have I Done to Deserve This”. Sir Ian McKellen CH CBE was in it, and he also pops up in the music video for “Heart”. And in the U.S., though I seem to remember it receiving a VHS release, the DVD (no Blu-ray) you can buy is some region-free Asian import.

Loved it the first time I saw, was less interested the second time. But it’s been quite a while and the movie has certainly been on my mind a lot recently!

Auntie Savtina

The U.K release of Scandal BD/DVD Format is out on 24 February Stephen.

John R

Hi Stephen K
Great minds! We (BFI) have just restored SCANDAL and it’s due for release later this month (24 February) – you can find it at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scandal-DVD-Blu-ray-John-Hurt/dp/B07W47FRW4/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Scandal&qid=1581524193&s=dvd&sr=1-2

Andrew Price

Nice one, am really looking forward to both of these. Also, do you think that the 2-Tone film ‘Dance Craze’ is worth a restoration? I think the director still has a clean print. Best regards.

John McCann

Hi john,I collect b.f.i. Blu-ray and have about 60 at the moment,is there any chance you could release, hawks starring Timothy Dalton,its a classic,never been out on dvd, also ray Winston follow up to scum,that summer when he goes to Torbay another classic thats never been released,thanks john,

Mike the Fish

Cut! Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian…

Chris Squires

I don’t know why but all I can think of reading this thread is “The Red Shoes”.
Superb, iconic artists
I’ll conceived idea
Great songs
Poor film, critically panned
Quietly Disowned by stars
Equally loved and derided by fans
Never released on DVD
Got the Laserdisc (still got a Pioneer deck)
Theatrically shown
Artist Never tried it again….. the list, I am sure, could go on.


I’ve seen this, which works more like a (fever-)dream than a conventional film. As others have said, the choreography is stellar. I’ve done some “VJ”-ing in the past using some of those scenes and clubbers young enough to have been born the year the movie came out ask me where the clip is from. They can’t believe my answer half the time!

The cinematography is fantastic too. Much anticipated reissue.


any word on ALL REGION/NTSC??


I saw this at the cinema in I think very early 1988 also saw Wilt(Smith&Jones)round about the same time but the memory is a bit hazy,has the soundtrack been remastered/remixed for this reissue?


Coincidentally, Wilt was just reissued on BluRay 2 days ago.


The tea’s nice.

Miles J

Gareth Hunt is such a star in this film. Thanks to him, whenever I go to a greasy spoon cafe, I always ask for extra beans. It’s only a laugh, no ‘arm done!


Didn’t Joss Ackland once describe this as the worst thing he’d ever been a part of?


is it going to be ALL REGION/NTSC for usa?


Was this ever released in the US? I have no recollection of this movie. I was a religious WLIR/WDRE listener and that’s where I would have gotten the info from back in the day . . .


I know it got a release on VHS, in the States, my local video store had it.


Yes it was ..I saw it at Midnight showing on Long Island

Richard Fenick


I am from Long Island. I saw it in the Theatre..limited Midnight show so yes..it was shown in the states


Wow can’t believe I missed this one! I thought I was up on all of this stuff back then . . .

Phil Cohen

I’ve got the original UK VHS (long ago tranfered onto PAL DVD-R) and I once owned the U.S.A. Laserdisc. Both had mono sound, and the U.S.A. Laserdisc ran drastically slow, rendering the music very noticeably flat. I hope that these issues will be addressed. I’m assuming that this release will be region coded. Fortunately, I’ve got three modified “Code-Free” Oppo Blu-Ray players; all with automatic region detection for DVD, one with automatic region detection for Blu-Ray, and the other two with manual region setection for Blu-Ray. if there is to be no North American release, I hope that the movie studio spares us the region coding shenanigans.

Jon J

Now there’s a blast from the past! I saw this once many moons ago. Wasn’t very impressed by it – found it very self-indulgent – but it’s a potentially interesting curio for hardcore fans from that era when pop stars started seeing if they had a broader range of talents (thankfully most of them gave up after one go).

Perhaps the Style Council’s short film folly JerUSAlem from the same timeframe will follow…?

Craig Hedges

I was thinking about this film a couple of days ago as I’ve not seen it in a while. The film was made as they still weren’t in a position to go on tour and EMI suggested they do a TV special, Jack Bond the director was hired and he had the idea to make a semi-biographical film which follows Neil and Chris on a surreal journey but there doesn’t seem to be a final destination. Along the way they meet and interact with various ‘interesting’ characters and perform songs from the ‘Please’ and ‘Actually’ albums along with the then non-album single ‘Always on my Mind’ which the video for was basically a trailer for the film.
Not sure how involved Neil and Chris were in the film as they were extremely busy during this period as ‘Actually’ had just been released, does anyone know the exact dates the filming takes place?, I’m guessing around early Oct 1987 because of the length of Neil’s hair as he had it cut very short by the end of the month during the promotion of ‘Rent’
The film drags in several places but there are some great moments including Barbara Windsor lip-syncing to Dusty’s part in What have I done to deserve this?, the Cafe scene which is the one of the few moments you hear Neil and Chris talk and ‘Two divided by zero’ where it’s look like they have just woken Chris up.
The TV special got upgraded to a cinema released film following the Pets having a huge amount of success including 2 number ones, in hind-sight this was mistake and was panned at the time. The film can now be looked at as the Pets equivalent of Magical Mystery Tour and is a fascinating period piece. I think the picture upgrade will help the film now end as the versions on video looked really flat and washed out, not sure what film stock it as shot on but it was quite grainy.
Hoping Neil and Chris will do a commentary even if Chris walks out half through.


Interesting memories…why didn’t they tour live at the time?

Toni Nestor

If I recall correctly Neil revealed he had to wear a hair piece for parts of this film because during the making of it they made an appearance on Sunday Night Live From The Palladium quite clearly showing his new shorter style (and Chris wearing an inflatable jacket!) I lived in Clacton on Sea back then and they spent about a week there filming the earlier parts of the film some of which was incorporated into the “Always On My Mind” video and Chris being chased along the promenade by our friendly local Hell’s Angel’s. Apparently they really wanted to film it in Chris’s hometown of Blackpool but it wasn’t cost effective.


Wow just wow great to see this happen! Isnt the VHS rare abmnd expensive anyway making this reissue all the more an event? Would love signed editions!


Superb. I have a VHS copy knocking about, it’s one of them sold on from a rental shop when they were no longer being taken out. I had my Toshiba Stereo VHS player through my Pioneer HiFi to get the best from pre-recorded VHS tapes. Agreed with the earlier comments that this was the Boys commercial peak when they could really do no wrong and looked and sounded fantastic. On a wider view, this whole period of pop was brilliant with bands doing super indulgent long form videos with money no obstacle. I feel the PSBs aced it with this forgotten gem.

Keith Ainsworth

I believe it was the only film a band made in the 80’s that was on *general* release in UK cinemas. It was shown everywhere. I remember the music sounding huge in the cinema. I still have the large box rental VHS tape.

John McCann

Yes and i wish that would be released on Blu-ray, really enjoyed it,so bad is one of my favourite macca song’s,did the Madness’film take it or leave it not hit the cinema?.


Rattle & Hum? Moonwalker?

Ah, those were the days – when musicians could put bums on seats in cinemas as well as stadiums, albeit with some fairly ropey flicks. Still, I can’t imagine Ed Sheeran or Mumford & Sons troubling the multiplexes now.



“Broadstreet” didn’t put many bums in seats in the U.S. Out of theatres very quickly.


Possibly because ‘Broad St’ was irredeemably awful. Perhaps it was also because by 1984 many of McCartney’s core audience had long since headed into middle age, parenthood etc. and were less inclined to spend their time or money on an evening at the cinema (let alone to catch a film that had been universally panned).

The titles I mentioned both made a decent profit. But can you imagine any such films even making it to a cinema screen these days – or any musicians wanting to produce one?

I generally hate to quote Bono, but: “They say in the ’80s that rock ‘n’ roll is dead. I don’t think it’s dead, but if it’s dying, it’s because groups like us aren’t taking enough risks. You know, make a movie. Put yourself up against what’s out there – Robocop and Three Men and a Baby. That’s great for rock ‘n’ roll, not just for U2. I think you’ve got to dare.”

Fast-forward to now, when even Scorsese struggles to get finance… not such a brave new world after all!

John McCann

I must be the only guy who enjoyed broad Street then, would buy it in a heartbeat if.b.f.i released it on Blu-ray,a beautiful version of here there and everywhere if I remember correctly,in fact the soundtrack was amazing,also its captures Paul looking great,like when he appeared with linda on noel Edmunds show to promote it,by flowers in the dirt, just a few years later he seemed to have aged about 20years,am i the only one who enjoyed it?


“Broadstreet” was awful, wasn’t it? The Lennon “Imagine” doc was released to theatres in 1988. Truly enjoyed that one. Wrong decade, but “The Kids Are Alright” may be the best rock flick ever.

Stevie B

I went to see it last year at a Q&A with the director on Regent St and he said any release would be complicated! (The tapes were allegedly’stolen’ and there was some dispute as to who owned the rights)

So copy shown at the cinema was a (very poor) transfer . So great that someone has finally sorted out it’s release. I disagree with Neil I think it was ahead of it’s time and will get more praise this time around.

A commentary from PSB would be great (didn’t they already say they’d done one years ago?) and separate remastered music videos from songs featured in the film would be fab extras.

Metal Mickey

Blimey, this has taken so long to reach DVD I couldn’t help wondering if they had a “Let It Be”-type negative attitude towards it, but it’ll be nice to see it in decent quality (as opposed to my VHS rip), and I think it’s so bonkers that time has been quite kind to it… a nice time capsule at least… and IIRC, it was originally intended to be a South Bank Show profile of PSB, with some specially filmed musical inserts by Jack Bond, but then the inserts took over and it mutated into ICHH…


Paul, can I ask a question? Are Amazon still charging upfront for pre-orders? Just so I know what card to put this on. Thanks.

Alois Hilken

Is the German synchronized sound contained?

Henry Watson


Seems a wee bit of a missed opportunity to include a CD or vinyl version of the soundtrack which I believe only ever received a promo cassette release?



Agree. I was lucky enough to come across this cassette in a charity shop for 20p about 5 years ago. Needed coaxing into playing ok (and it’s non-Dolby).
I thought it had probably been included with the video, so picked it up as a curio. Didn’t realise it was a standalone promo until got it home!


I remember entering a competition in the daily mirror and won a copy of the cassette and a huge signed fly poster, sold both of them on eBay a few years ago


I still live in hope (52 going on 18 according to my Misses) that I’ll be around to see ABC’s Mantrap get an official release of some kind, but this is welcome news indeed.


That would be Awesome! With a a proper rescan and restoration for blu-ray of coarse.
Right Martin?


Love Mantrap, have it on VHS.


Great to see this released. It had a limited cinema release at the time. It was maybe the first indication that the Pet Shop Boys were prepared to venture into areas where most pop acts wouldn’t dare or probably just wouldn’t think of. And they did it during their most creative period – when they looked and sounded best.