The 1990s sitcom, which originally ran from 1990 to 1996 and launched the career of Will Smith, was broadcast on BBC Two in the UK until 2004.
However, the show has now been re-acquired by BBC iPlayer, with all six seasons of the show, consisting of 148 episodes in total, available to watch from 1 January 2021.
Announcing the news, BBC iPlayer controller Dan McGolpin said: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and its all-star cast will amuse and entertain a new generation through BBC iPlayer and there is an opportunity to re-indulge for those who enjoyed the series on BBC screens the first time around.”
Smith stars in The Fresh Prince as Will, a street-smart teenager who moves to live with his wealthy uncle and aunt in their Bel-Air mansion.
The cast included the late James Avery, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M Ali and Daphne Reid.
Last month, the show’s cast appeared in a televised reunion special to discuss their time on The Fresh Prince. This included working with the late Avery, who died in 2013 aged 68.
During one particularly emotional moment, Smith teared up as he described how the late actor had always “pushed” him to be the best and use his position to “elevate your craft”.
Recalling the filming of one of the show’s most memorable episodes with Avery, in which Will’s father reappears after 14 years away from his son, he said: “I wanted him to be proud of me… we come to that scene and I was like, ‘I want to deliver this scene so bad’… I flubbed my line on the take and I messed it up in front of the audience and my mind snapped and I’m like, ‘Ahh.’ James says, ‘Hey, right here… use me.’”
With the scene that we do, it’s the scene that ends being in the episode. And I fall into his arms at the end of the scene and he’s holding me. He whispered into my ear, ‘Now that’s acting,’” said Smith tearfully as he had dabbed at his eyes with a tissue.
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