Smiley On Who

31 Aug

© BBC

Dr Who fans out there will be aware that another TVO face, Michael Smiley, featured in yesterday’s episode Into the Dalek. What you may not be aware of is that Smiley recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his role in the iconic show.

In the short interview he discusses how director Ben Wheatley contacted him to invite him to be in it: “It was just a call out of the blue,” says Smiley.

“Ben was asked to do the first two episodes and he gave me a ring and he said, ‘What’s your view on Doctor Who? If a part came up that would be right for you, would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ It’s part of your life, Doctor Who. I remember Patrick Troughton!”

To read the interview in full click here. You can catch a glimpse of Smile as Colonel Morgan Blue in the trailer below, and the full episode is available to watch on iPlayer for a further 2 months.

 

Tales From Photographed Hawaii

28 Aug

Tonight sees the grand finale of Luxury Comedy 2: Tales From Painted Hawaii on E4 – and to celebrate, we’re bringing you exclusive behind the scenes photos taken during TVO’s on-set visit last summer.

© The Velvet Onion / Lauren Taylor

© The Velvet Onion / Lauren Taylor

TVO were on hand for four days of filming madness, right at the peak of a very packed out schedule, grabbing the cast for chinwags whenever we could.  The results will be seen in our behind the scenes featurette, which will be available very soon.

Something else that’s available soon is the dvd of Series Two – which you can ORDER NOW for just £14 via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store: it’s released next Monday, September 1st, so there’s no time to waste!

The final episode will air at 10pm tonight, and you can see it on 4OD now. Until then, savour our images below. Enjoy.

Inspector Richard (Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Bee-Boo!)

27 Aug
© North One Television / Channel 4

© North One Television / Channel 4

The third series of Gadget Man - Channel 4’s tech-fuelled funfest hosted by Richard Ayoade is now underway, and the next two episodes bring two familiar faces in to play with all the toys.

Following the appearance of Tim Vine and Marcus Brigstocke in the first episode (now viewable on 4oD if you missed it), the next two episodes will feature Good News star Russell Howard and Never Mind The Buzzcocks regular Phill Jupitus.

You can catch the next episode on Monday, 1st September at 8:30pm, and it, like all previous editions, including the first series hosted by Stephen Fry, will be available on 4oD shortly after transmission.

If that’s still not enough Ayoade for you, don’t forget you can pick up his forthcoming book, Ayoade on Ayoadeand his latest film The Double on dvd and blu-ray now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

Kev In Your Diary (and your shopping basket too!)

27 Aug

© Faber & Faber

Fans of The Actor, Kevin Eldon, have a rare chance to see him live in November.

Eldon will be appearing at Mostly Comedy at The Leicester Square Theatre on November 12th, alongside That Pair and Jay Cowle.  The night, hosted by Dogget & Ephgrave, will feature a grab-bag of stand-up, sketches and music, and tickets are on sale now for just eight of your English pounds.

If you can’t make it, you can always console yourself with a copy of Kevin’s first ever hardback: My Prefect Cousin: A Short Biography of Paul Hamilton, which focuses on the character made famous by his Titting About live show a few years ago.

You can pick up a copy via the TVO Amazon Store now for just £9.79.

If that’s still not enough Eldon for you, then Set Fire To The Stars - the Dylan Thomas biopic he stars in alongside Elijah Wood – has been picked up for UK distribution following its premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June. There’s no clear release date yet, but it’s surely set to appear before we know it – so stay tuned!

Mini IT Tee

24 Aug
© quertee.com

© quertee.com

Quertee –  suppliers of limited edition t-shirts – have a new IT Crowd shirt for sale for the next 12 hours.
This one features our favourite IT professionals, Jen, Moss, and Roy in Lego form, unfortunately there’s no Douglas or Richmond, but you can’t have everything!

The shirts cost £8 (plus postage) and can be ordered via this link.

Reece Q & A

24 Aug
© David Levene for the Guardian

© David Levene for the Guardian

There’s a short but interesting Q & A featuring Reece Shearsmith in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper.

In it we find out what his greatest fear is, and what is his relationship with the man who gives out ShortList magazine at tube stations?

The interview is available online at the Guardian website.

Gadget Man Returns

22 Aug

© Channel 4

Richard Ayoade is back with Gadget Man on Monday at 8.30pm on Channel 4.

The third series of the technology show has Richard testing gadgets from the everyday to the extraordinary, with special guests to help him with his tasks.

In the first show he tackles weather with the help of Marcus Brigstocke and Tim Vine. Phil Jupitus makes an appearance later on in the series, you can see him in the short trailer on the C4 website.

If you missed the last series or just want to see it again, series 1 (with Stephen Fry) and 2, including a guest appearance by Noel Fielding, can be seen on 4OD.

Dead Funny

20 Aug
© amazon.co.uk

© amazon.co.uk

News has just reached us via the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog, that a new horror anthology, featuring stories from todays top comedians, will be published on 1st October.

The book – Dead Funny – has a few TVO connections, with contributions from Matt Holness, Reece Shearsmith, Katy Brand and Noel Fielding‘s Buzzcocks companion – Phil Jupitus.

The book is edited by Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage) and Johnny Mains (horror writer and editor), and is published by Salt Publishing.

This “unique exploration into the relationship between comedy and terror” also features contributions from Mitch Benn, Bridget Christie, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, Charlie Higson, Rufus Hound, Robin Ince, Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Al Murray, Danielle Wheeler, Tim Key, Neil Edmond and Michael Legge.

You can find out more about the book and the story behind it here at Ginger Nuts of Horror.

Dead Funny is available to pre-order now from TVO Store.

Who’s A-Coming

19 Aug

This weekend sees the launch of the long awaited latest series of Doctor Who, with the first two episodes directed by TVO regular and all-out genius Ben Wheatley.

© BBC

© BBC

Episode One, Deep Breath, is a 75 minute special being simulcast in cinemas across the UK at 7:50pm, when the episode airs on BBC One.  It will also be shown on television and in cinemas around the world on the same day.

It features a recently regenerated Doctor arriving in Victorian London, where he discovers a dinosaur on the loose terrorising the city’s inhabitants, and mysterious robotic men causing a string of murders.

As we reported some time ago, regular Wheatley collaborator Tony Way has a cameo in the first episode, whilst Michael Smiley appears in a meatier role for Episode Two, Into The Dalek.

The Beeb have typically gone into publicity overdrive – with new star Peter Capaldi on the cover of almost every magazine, and BBC idents being interrupted by transmissions from The Doctor, as well as a world tour of Q&A sessions and screenings, footage of which can all be seen on the Doctor Who YouTube channel.

Deep Breath will also be released on a standalone dvd and blu-ray next month, with a full series box-set on dvd and blu-ray later this year.  We’re all big Doctor Who fans here at TVO Towers, so we really can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Until then, enjoy the preview images from Deep Breath below, and we’ll bring you a selection from Into The Dalek  as soon as we have them.  If that’s not enough, flashback to our 2012 interview with Ben Wheatley in support of Sightseers over yonder.

Utopia 2

19 Aug

© BBC

Kevin Eldon made an appearance in the second series of Utopia on Channel 4.

The series continues the surreal violent story of the first series – following a group of people who find themselves in possession of a manuscript of a cult graphic novel. Catch up on episodes here on 4OD.

You can also still see Kevin in The Alternative Comedy Experience on Comedy Central at 10pm on Tuesdays. Get a clip of him in action here.

Utopia is also available from TVO Store for you to keep forever!

She’s A Rainbow: TVO Interviews Ameena Kara Callender

14 Aug

© Greg Sick

At The Velvet Onion we try to bring you a different, deeper view of the comedy you love. It was with this mission in mind that we hunted down the Stylist and Costume Designer responsible for the fantastical costumes in Luxury Comedy, to find out how the improbable from Noel Fielding‘s imagination is brought to life with a sewing machine. Mog reports. 

One of the things that strikes you about the cast and crew of Luxury Comedy is their dedication to the cause. When you listen to them talk about their involvement in the two series, it’s clear that this was no mere job. The loyalty and commitment that Noel has inspired amongst the team has created a tightly-knit family of can-do’s, happy to go to the ends of the earth to make everything perfect. And Ameena Kara Callender is no exception.

© Ameena

I meet Ameena at her Hoxton studio, surrounded by the colourful chaos of what she does. She looks exactly as you’d hope a stylist would: an unselfconscious  mish-mash of clashing colours and patterns, sparkly sandals and powder pink socks; an unexpected balance point between the fabulously exotic and the genuine girl next door.

She tells me that she has always enjoyed dressing up; when she was younger she used to make outfits for nights out with her Mum and Gran from the fabrics they kept in their sewing cupboard. However, she didn’t train as a stylist – the origins of her creative education were fine art, sculpture and painting.

One of her specialisms at college was 3D craft and design, which gave her a useful grounding in working with plastic-based materials. “It’s why I’m able to make these more bizarre sculptural costumes for Noel. All of the random things I’ve learned over the years came together in this one job, which harnessed all of it all at once.”

© Ameena

© Ameena

Originally connected via a mutual friend, Ameena has known Noel for years, but it was at his art exhibition at Maison Bertaux in 2010 that he asked her if she wanted to work on the show. Ameena was particularly drawn to an installation at the exhibition which turned out to be a precursor to the Jellyfox sketch from series 1.

“I really vibed off the animations that he’d done with Nige,” she says. “Noel asked ‘Do you want to make some Leigh Bowery type costumes for me?’ and I was like ‘Hell yeah – that’s right up my street!” she laughs.

Given that Noel has such clear ideas of his own about the look of the characters in the show, I ask her how the creative development process plays out between them. “Working with Noel is amazing. He’s a visual artist, and that goes across the spectrum of everything he does.”

“He draws constantly, and a big part of him coming up with a character is drawing it and figuring out what it looks like. Sometimes they pretty much have the outfit on that they’ll have on when the character comes into the real world, but sometimes he’ll leave it open for me,” she explains.

Taking on that level of responsibility can sometimes be a little daunting; trying to second-guess what Noel wants for a character or working out what would surprise him (in a good way!) can be a challenge, particularly when most of the characters are unlike anything that’s gone before. “You don’t know what really works until you go through the magical process; you can’t get out a reference from Dazed & Confused and say ‘I want him to be like that’, because it’s a whole weird, insane new concept.” she explains. “I’ve spent nights with matchsticks to keep my eyes open doing designs to show Nige and Noel the next day!”

© Ameena. Illustration on jumpsuit by David Shillinglaw

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Luxury Cafe Competition: A Massive Thank you

13 Aug

© Channel 4

A week and a half ago we announced a competition which would give 5 readers the chance to win a Luxury Comedy mug and pack of coffee. To enter, we asked you to create something from the Luxury Comedy cafe menu.

We didn’t think it was fair to award the prizes on the basis of cooking ability, so to give everyone an equal chance we decided to select the winners randomly from all of the entries. We secretly hoped that some of you would make a bit of effort, but we had no idea how inventive, hilarious and downright incredible so many of your entries were going to be!

Here are a small selection of those which knocked us sideways with their creativity and put a smile on our faces – and we had many, many more besides! Just click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

It just goes to prove how much you’re loving the new series of Luxury Comedy and how much the show inspires you; we hope Noel Fielding is justifiably chuffed! It also suggests that you’re pretty desperate for a mug of coffee, but perhaps that’s not really the point ;-)

The 5 winners have been selected at random from all of the entries received and have now been notified. They are: Cali Rivlin, Chaas, Imaginary Nadya, Spaceboy and The Dream Tiger (twitter names).  A rather splendid Luxury mug and pack of coffee will be winging its way to you.

Huge congratulations to the winners and a massive thank you to everyone who took part!

Luxury cookery shown above thanks to Afrika D, Alleshia Cook, Anita, Arthur M, Azzy, Becca Moody, Becky Price, Bluey, Cali, Cali Rivlin, Catie, Chaas, Faye Loretta Lee, Gothic Bob, Imaginary Nadya, Jadie Rae, Jodie Kozo Konatsubara, Mol, Nikki Burns, Sean Feehan, Terry, The Dream Tiger, The Plasticine Punk, Spaceboy and  . (yes, that’s their name). You’re all awesome!

RIP Robin Williams: July 21 1951 – August 11 2014

12 Aug

© Reed Saxon

The Velvet Onion would like to extend our sympathies to the family of Robin Williams, who died yesterday.

Williams was a legend of comedy, first rising to fame in 1978 as the friendly alien Mork in Mork and Mindy, a spin-off from a guest appearance in Happy Days that went on to run for four seasons.

He then combined a highly successful career in stand-up with both comedic and dramatic film roles in productions as diverse as PopeyeGood Morning VietnamDead Poets SocietyHookAladdinJumanji, Mrs Doubtfire, The BirdcageGood Will HuntingPatch AdamsOne Hour PhotoNight at the Museum and Happy Feet.  He also appeared in the off-Broadway production of Waiting for Godot, alongside Steve Martin in 1988, and the 2011 Broadway production Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

Aside from his work on stage and screen, he founded The Windfall Foundation to raise money for many charities, hosted the American version of Comic Relief, and often paid visits and made donations to charity organisations worldwide.

© Dave Brown

A huge influence and inspiration for comedians worldwide, Williams was also highly supportive of new talents – often being sighted in the audience at live comedy shows.  In 2010, Dave Brown told TVO about the time Robin came to see The Mighty Boosh in LA, stating: “Its not everyday you look up to find Robin Williams in the dressing room doing Crack Fox impressions. You have to pinch yourself.”

Sadly, Williams battled with substance addictions in the early part of his career, and relapsed after twenty years of sobriety in 2003.  He suffered from bipolar disorder and frequent bouts of depression, and his death is believed to be self-inflicted at this time.  He leaves behind his third wife, Susan Schnieder, and three children, Zachary, Zelda and Cody.

The Velvet Onion would like to extend the deepest of sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult period, and hope they can take some solace in the outpouring of love and affection the world at large has shown for Robin since the news broke.

Below, we’ve compiled a selection of tweets from TVO regulars, demonstrating how much he meant to them.  He will be missed.

In Between The Inbetweeners

10 Aug

© Bwark Productions

It’s hard to miss the current PR onslaught for the new Inbetweeners movie. But did you know that there are a few TVO connection with the film and its cast? Please allow us to enlighten you…

First up is a connection which we’d probably categorize as ‘Type A': the Second Unit director of the Inbetweeners 2 movie, Spencer Millman, was also the producer of The Mighty Boosh.

(We assume that Spencer’s experience of  keeping the Boosh gang under control may have come in useful on this latest project too!)

Next is a TVO connection with Channel 4 show Friday Night Dinner, which stars actor Simon Bird (Will from The Inbetweeners). We spotted that Laurie Rose is the Director of Photography on the latest series. Rose is director Ben Wheatley‘s ‘go to’ DOP for most of his productions, many of which feature a bevy of TVO folk.  What’s more, series 3 of Friday Night Dinner also included two further TVO faces, in the shape of Paul Kaye and Dan Skinner. If you missed them, you can still watch all of the series 3 episodes on 4oD.

And finally, a connection from a year ago, in the shape of a short film called Straw Donkey. We covered it at the time, but for those of you with a short memory, the film features TVO people  Tony WayLaura Patch and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, alongside Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas (Simon from the show). It also includes a cameo from Justin Edwards too, just for good measure. If you missed it, take a look below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5ewBP1SOI

Sights and Sounds from Painted Hawaii

9 Aug

We’re now two episodes into Series 2 of Luxury Comedy on E4, and as part of our ongoing celebration around the show’s return, we’re digging into the magical land created by Noel Fielding and Nigel Coan for the series.

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

Whilst we’re all quite understandably excited about the huge number of TVO regulars who are involved in the show in front of the camera, it’s rewarding to know there are a number of familiar faces behind it too.

One such face is the legendary James Dillon, who Boosh fans will know as the designer for all three series of The Mighty Boosh, and the subsequent national tours. He was also responsible for the set design of shows as eclectic as Not Going Out, Live at the Electric, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Bill Hicks Live and The Crystal Maze, to name but a few: check out his website to see more from this truly incredible man.

During TVO’s exclusive visit to the film studios which housed Luxury Comedy last summer, James very kindly allowed us to photograph the main standing set: the interior of Noel’s Luxury Cafe.  A selection of these images can be seen below, and show the sheer level of detail that James put into the set in collaboration with Noel & Nigel.

This set, used as a focal point for the whole series, was a labour of love for Dillon, and it shows in the impressive range of vintage props, paintings by Noel, the authentic cafe menu (as featured in our competition over yonder), and our favourite part of the set: the jukebox!

What makes this lovely model so special is the attention to detail on the choice of records chosen. This beauty houses 100 discs, which are all carefully chosen to represent either the Hawaiian feel of the cafe, or a general Summery 60’s/70’s vibe, in line with the rest of the set design.

Wherever possible, given rights issues prevent some of those records being added, we’ve rounded up the selection into a Luxury Jukebox playlist on Spotify, which you can listen to at your leisure. Full details of the tracks listed (and not listed) can be found after the ‘Read More’ button below, so if you fancy recreating the 100% accurate jukebox vibe for your next Luxury themed party, get scouring ebay for these classics now!

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

There are two records which, for some reason, appear twice on the jukebox, but even with those duplicates and the rights-restricted tracks absent from the playlist, that still leaves 157 tracks for you to savour.  Enjoy.

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The Finch Tapes

8 Aug
© Celluloid Apocalypse

© Celluloid Apocalypse

A long time ago, you may remember Matthew Holness‘ brilliant short film, A Gun For George was released to the short film circuit.  It was later followed by airings on Film4, and a UK DVD release as part of The Joy of Six collection.

The film sees Holness as Terry Finch, forgotten author of The Reprisalizer, Britain’s toughest pulp paperback vigilante. Treading a thin line between reality and fantasy in his isolated caravan, his compulsive and cathartic visions of violent retribution refuse to die with his writing career, and a dark new chapter unfolds…

Now, Australian company Celluloid Apocalypse is to release the 70s homage on an extremely limited edition VHS.  Each of the 50 (yes, FIFTY) copies comes complete with a miniature Australian daybill poster, a copy of FINCHLAND #19 fanzine, and comes in a custom made VHS book box.

At $40.00, it’s somewhat of a deluxe item for diehard fans, but it’s also a must-have item for many of you out there… will you be one of the lucky ones? Pre-order it whilst you can!

Rik’s Crack To Air Next Month

8 Aug

The second series of much loved anthology show Crackanory will air next month, and features an episode narrated by the late Rik Mayall, written by TVO legend Tony Way.

© Dave

© Dave

Freeview channel Dave, which airs the series, was unsure if they would air the episode until they received the blessing of Rik’s family.

The episode entitled The Weatherman was filmed shortly before Mayall’s untimely death in June, and TVO can exclusively reveal that the story he tells through his wraparound segments features long-standing double act Steve Oram and Tom Meeten, also known for their work on Sightseers and Luxury Comedy, respectively.  Also on board is fellow SightseerAlice Lowe.

Tony Way, star of Mongrels, Game of Thrones and Tittybangbang, said simply that writing the episode was “a flipping honour”.

Past episodes of the series, featuring Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Alex Kirk, John ‘Willie’ Hopkins and Oram & Meeten on screen,with score by Waen Shepherd and two episodes directed by Gareth Tunley, are available to watch now on the UKTV website.

Series Two, featuring The Weatherman alongside episodes by Eldon, Toby Davies and Holly Walsh, will air next month, and feature Katherine Parkinson, Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Pergins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax, Emilia Fox and Simon Callow.  We’ll bring you transmission details as soon as we get them.

A Bellyfull Of Parkinson This Week

7 Aug

Katherine Parkinson features in two TV shows which aired this week, both of which pitch her a long way from IT Crowd‘s Jen.

© BBC

On Tuesday she appeared as part of the main cast in In the Club, a BBC 1 drama that follows the lives of six pregnant women and their partners, who meet at a local parent craft class. Parkinson plays the part of Kim, who is expecting her first baby with partner Susie (Tara Fitzgerald) and sperm donor Neil (Jonathan Kerrigan).

Parkinson, who is pregnant in real life with her second child, said of her role in the series: “I was very surprised to get pregnant and I knew I was doing this job, but I did think there couldn’t be a nicer set to be pregnant on. With my first pregnancy I was in the West End having a nervous breakdown on stage every night, which wasn’t the most comfortable experience. I remember worrying my baby would come out traumatised because I was screaming so much.”

She said that the programme had even helped her prepare for the birth: “Mine was a water birth, and that’s what I’d like to have this time, so it was like a kind of extended birthing workshop for me.”

The first episode of In the Club is available to watch on iPlayer for another month, and the Beeb has helpfully set up a few web pages for the new series, which provides the lowdown on the characters and the remaining episodes. Episode 2 airs next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC1.

Parkinson is also appearing in The Honourable Woman at the moment, a dramatic tale of conspiracy and espionage starring uber-actress, Maggie Gylenhaaal. In this series, Parkinson plays the part of Rachel Stein.

You can watch 6 whole episodes of The Honourable Woman on iPlayer, starting with episode 1 ‘The Empty Chair’. Once again, there are comprehensive web pages for the series where you can learn more about  the show. Thanks, BBC folk!

Rich Talking Turtle

6 Aug

To celebrate the release of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films in the USA, our favourite American Rich Fulcher interviewed one of the stars of the film – Will Arnett. But as you might expect from Rich, it was not the usual type of interview, I don’t know what Will was expecting but I don’t think he was prepared for it!

You can decide for yourself by watching below:

The TMNT film will be released in the UK on 17th October 2014.

TVO Radio Stars

6 Aug
© google

© google

Tune in your radio to hear some TVO stars do their thing.

The second series of The Brig Society starring Marcus Brigstocke returned to BBC Radio 4 on Friday evening at 6.30pm – repeated Saturday at 12.30 and on iPlayer. Each week Marcus is put in charge of a ‘thing’ – this week he becomes an MEP. The show also stars Rufus Jones, William Andrews and Margaret Cabourn-Smith, and  is written by Brigstocke and among others, Dan Tetsell.

Also on BBC Radio 4, The Infinite Monkey Cage, starring Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince have recorded two shows at The Edinburgh Festival. In the second one they are joined by Josie Long and Paul Foot, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Stuart Ritchie to ask ‘is irrationality genetic?’. This show will be broadcast on Monday 11th August at 4.30pm and will also be on iPlayer.

As we mentioned earlier, My First Planet written by and starring Phil Whelans, started its second series on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Mondays at 9.30am and on iPlayer.

We can also look forward to a new series of Colin Hoult’s Carnival of Monsters coming soon. If you can’t wait to listen to it, you can get tickets to the recordings via this link.

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