Archive | February, 2013

Who Makes You Chortle?

28 Feb

© Mog

Voting is now open for the 2013 Chortle Awards, the UK online comedy guide.

Nomination are now up and include a couple of TVO-connected acts (as well as a whole host of other worthy nominees).

There are a few omissions that we’d like to correct given half a chance, but we’re very glad that the awesome Tony Law is up for two awards: Best Club Comic and Best Show (for the critically-aclaimed Maximum Nonsense), and 2012’s Alan Partridge Sky Atlantic TV Specials are also nominated in the Best TV category.

To view the full list of nominations and to vote click here.

From Barratt With Love

28 Feb

© Dave Brown

Eagle-eared (Is that a phrase? If not it should be) TV viewers might have noticed the silky northern tones of Julian Barratt on ITV last night.

Julian was narrating the documentary From Romania With Love, which followed three Romanians who had been adopted as children by UK families in the early 1990s, as they tried to contact their relatives for the first time. Moving and life-affirming – with the added benefit of Barratt vocals, it’s well worth a watch. You can view it on ITV Player for the next 29 days by clicking here.

Start Heading Out

28 Feb


We told you recently about Heading Out, a new comedy written by and starring Sue Perkins and also starring Steve Oram.

The show managed to sneak out unobserved by TVO on Tuesday night BBC2 at 10pm, but luckily it is still available on BBC iPlayer for your enjoyment.

The series also stars, among others, Dawn French, Jo Scanlan, Mark Heap, Steve Pemberton, Mel Giedroyc and June Brown!

There is more information and clips from next week’s episode here on the BBC website.

Stubbing Out Problems at Kings Place

26 Feb

© Rachel Stubbings

The all-knowing, all-healing Rachel Stubbings will be stubbing out your problems live at the Kings Place in Kings Cross next Thursday.

To prepare you for the healing process there’s an informative new video online, providing a digest of the agony aunt phenomenon so far.  You can see the vid below, and play a quick round of Spot The TVO Faces!

Rachel also tells us of her remarkable talent for healing in this month’s Kings Place Podcast, which makes for brilliant listening.

Tickets for the show can be obtained over yonder, and you get a discount if you book in advance online, so don’t hang about peelers!

New Thomas & Way

25 Feb

© Tony Way Rhys Thomas

The Thomas & Way Podcast is back, and this one has their old mate Matt Lucas to keep them company.

Find out about Matt’s relationship with Creme Eggs, and the lads have an in-depth discussion about chocolate, cheese, Shooting Stars, Queen and Google Glasses.

They also mention Vic and Bob’s new sitcom,  the genius of Christine Cant and some weird audition experiences including one for The Hobbit.

Why not listen or download now.

Bill & Sinclair

25 Feb

© Baby Cow Productions / Sky Atlantic

Baby Cow and Sky Atlantic’s series of highly inventive comedy shorts, Common Ground continues tonight with a heavy dollop of TVO talent.

One half of tonight’s double bill – directed as ever by Dave Lambert – is an episode written by and starring Rufus Jones and Dan Renton Skinner – the latter another one of those ‘not-quite-TVO’ faces we love, perhaps best known as his alter-ego Angelos Epithemiou, but also a regular collaborator with a number of our regulars.

Bill & Sinclair tells the story of a banker, William [Jones], who has had an almighty fall from grace, and is forced into a frosty reunion with his roguish brother, Sinclair [Skinner], who takes great delight in this new turn of events, especially as Bill’s wife Francesca knows nothing of her husband’s sticky situation.

If the reuniting of Jones & Skinner, who were both part of sketch troupe Dutch Elm Conservatoire with Stephen Evans many moons ago, isn’t enough – the short also features the likes of Rufus’ Mongrels co-star Paul Kaye, and a role for everyone’s favourite agony aunt stand-up comic, Rachel Stubbings.

You can see the show tonight only on Sky Atlantic at 9:15pm.  It will then be available on SkyGo for subscribers only, and if we hear of a dvd release, we’ll be sure to keep you peeled.

Hollow Denim

25 Feb

The wonderful Sue Denim has unleashed her new music video, Hollow, which you can see below.

The second single from her charming solo debut Sue And The Unicorn – it will be released as a single with an exclusive b-side, After The Rain, on March 11th, ahead of Denim’s one-off gig at Camden Barfly on March 23rd.

We’ll be bringing you download links for the single as soon as possible, but in the meantime you can pick up the full length album from a number of sources – including The Velvet Onion Amazon UK and Amazon US Stores.  However, we have to admit, we’d probably prefer it if you bought it directly from Sue, as she’ll get more cash for it that way!

A digital version of the album is available for £7 via Bandcamp, and as a physical cd (optionally signed) at her official site for just a tenner!  If you’re still unsure, you can hear two preview tracks, courtesy of Sue, via our very own Soundcloud page below.

Anna & Katy Return!

25 Feb
© Dave King / Roughcut Television

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Following their acclaimed Comedy Lab pilot back in 2011, Anna Crilly and Katy Wix unleash their own six part sketch show next week.

Cunningly titled Anna & Katy, the character-driven show fuses their bonkers comedy with television pastiches and celebrity cameos – including former Boosh radio star Lee Mack.  

With the first episode set to feature cookery programme Rice Britannia, daytime show Congratulation, review show World’s Worst Words, reality docodrama Ignition and German game show Kuntworts – the stage is set for the duo’s ascent to the big guns of television comedy.

The show is certainly pulling no punches in terms of talent on board – as the delightful pair are being directed by none other than Red Dwarf and Bottom veteran Ed Bye, and executively produced by Ash Atalla of The IT Crowd and The Office fame.

It’s producer, Jon Petrie, also has links to great comedy – being the founder of Popcorn Comedy with a string of credits for QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and The IT Crowd behind him too.  One of our favourite ‘not-quite-TVO’ faces, William Andrews, is on board in supporting roles, and our very own Steve Burge is on the writing team as well, so all in all that’s quite a pedigree!

There’s a gallery of images for you to savour below, ahead of the first episode airing on Wednesday, March 6th at 10:30pm.  The series will then be available on 4oD shortly after transmission, which is where you can also rewatch the great pilot episode until then.

Spice Up Your Lucy

25 Feb

© Viva Forever / Lulu Bell

Ok, we admit it. Sometimes, TVO is living in under a rock, inside a bubble, shrouded in secrecy and wrapped in cotton wool. And candy floss. And fog. And the emptiness of space.  You get the picture.

Anyhow, occasionally, we completely miss something that’s staring us in the face – such as the casting of Lucy Montgomery in Viva Forever! – the new musical featuring the music of the Spice Girls.

Written by Jennifer Saunders, who worked with Lucy on Absolutely Fabulous back in 2011, the show has been polarising critics but audiences are lapping it up – in much the same way We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia have ended up being long running West End smashes.

Lucy plays fitness fanatic Suzi in the musical, which is on every night at London’s Piccadilly Theatre.  For more info, visit the show’s official website, and we promise to try not to be so behind the times again in the future. All together now! Swing it, shake it, move it, make it, whooooo d’ya think y’aaaarrrrrrrrreeeeee!!!

Award & US Release For Sightseers

24 Feb


While it may not feature too heavily at tonight’s Oscars, the awards continue to pile up for Sightseers!

Most recently this took the form of a ‘Kermode’ for Best Screenplay, presented by the the Culture Show’s resident film buff, Mark Kermode.

These awards are based on his personal favourites of the year, and they offer an interesting counterpoint  to the Hollywood shortlists.

You can see Alice Lowe and Steve Oram accepting their award (and giggling a lot) on BBC iPlayer by clicking here.

US fans won’t have long to wait before they can catch the movie in cinemas; a release date of 10th May has now been confirmed. Get in!

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Kimberley Walker for the information about the US release.

Hayden At The Oscars

24 Feb


Hayden Black will be commenting on the Oscars live from Hollywood later today!

The show Oscars Live & Loud will be broadcast live on the front page of Ustream and from 3pm PT to 9pm PT including the red carpet and award show itself.

Hayden will be co-hosting from a special Tweet Suite at the W Hotel, from which he and others will be live Tweeting comments about the proceedings. They will also be shown live during the broadcast. Follow their tweets at #wliveandloud.

Among Hayden’s fellow Tweeters will be comedians Wendy Wason and Tara Flynn who TVO readers may recognise from Moone Boy, Time Trumpet and Pixelface.

If you’re wondering what Hayden and his co-hosts will be wearing, they are being dressed by fashion designer Mila Fargo.

Pulling US Style

23 Feb

Last September we revealed that a US adaptation of the cult hit comedy Pulling was on the cards, having been bought by the ABC network in America. Now two of the key cast members have been announced!

© Radio Times

June Diane Raphael (on the left in the picture) will take the role of Donna – originally played by Sharon Horgan – who moves back in with her single best friends, Louise and Karen, when her perfect life suddenly falls apart. Mandy Moore (right in the picture) will play Louise, a role previously filled by Rebekah Staton. The character of Karen is yet to be cast.

The show will be directed by Pitch Perfect‘s Jason Moore, and the pilot has been penned by Bad Teacher‘s Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.

If we hear any more, we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Fulcher And Foot Down Under

23 Feb
© Paul Foot Rich Fulcher

© Paul Foot Rich Fulcher

The International Melbourne Comedy festival occurs next month and two of our favourite performers will be there to entertain you!

Rich Fulcher is taking his hugely popular Tiny Acts of Rebellion show and Paul Foot is performing his sell-out Edinburgh show Kenny Larch is Dead.

The Festival runs from 27 March to 21st April. Details of tickets for Kenny Larch are here and there for Tiny Acts. Don’t forget you can buy the Tiny Acts book from TVO Store.

Missing Scene Unleashed

21 Feb

A long long time ago – just shy of three years ago, in fact – we reported on a sketch show pilot entitled Missing Scene featuring TVO’s very own Alice Lowe and comedy legend Kevin Eldon.

© Fletcherwilson

The results were for a non-broadcast taster episode which, in these starved times for alternatively comedy, sadly wasn’t commissioned.  Now at last, the team behind it have uploaded the results for all to see.

Created and written by Matthew Stott, David Bussell & Ben Ricketts, the show also features the likes of Steve Furst, Isabel Fay and Sam Cullingworth.  Purporting to be an eclectic collection of archive materials found in the vaults, the madcap 12 minutes features aliens with crab hands, cars that drive on bacon, flirty quasars and scientific time hats.  Fun times.

Catch the results below.


20 Feb

TVO has recieved details of the forthcoming dvd and blu-ray release of Sightseers.

© Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

The smash hit cult comedy from the minds of Steve OramAlice Lowe and Ben Wheatley about caravanning multiple murderers Chris & Tina comes to disc on March 25th, with a bundle of extra material to savour.

Both the dvd and blu-ray releases come complete with Behind The Scenes footage, out-takes and the trailer.  They’ll also come with not one, but TWO audio commentaries.  The first is bound to be utterly hilarious – featuring Oram, Lowe & Wheatley, alongside co-star Richard Glover.   We can already imagine the madness of those 88 minutes!

The second commentary will be more technical, but by no means less interesting, as it will feature Wheatley alongside his delightful cinematographer of choice, Laurie Rose.

For those of you into your techy specs, the film will be presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with the dvd boasting Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio formats, replaced for the blu-ray by DTS-HD 5.1 and PCM 2.0 tracks.  Audio will be in English only, and the discs will be region locked, unfortunately – Region 2 for dvd and Region B for blu-ray.  As soon as we hear about international releases, we’ll be sure to keep you peeled.

Both formats can be pre-ordered now from The Velvet Onion Amazon UK Store, with the dvd a measly £13.49 and the blu-ray only £16.09.  As Chris would say… “Get in!”

More Berry Dates!

20 Feb
© Acid Jazz

© Acid Jazz

Earlier this month we revealed that Matt Berry would soon be embarking on his first UK tour since 2010.

Since then a couple of new dates have been added, so it’s only right and proper that we should tell you about them:

First up, Matt has added a date in Reading on 13th May. He’ll be playing at Sub89 on Friar Street. Tickets cost £13.75 (inc booking fee) and can be bought by clicking here.

Matt will also be performing at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on 16th May. The show starts at 8pm (doors at 7.30pm) and tickets are £13.20.

To purchase tickets click here, and for more information about this particular show take a look at the venue’s website.

The Brudenell Social Club website has also seemingly bagged an accidental exclusive there, as the image they’re using to promote the gig – seen accompanying this post – looks suspiciously like an album cover, title included.

We’ll dig a little deeper and try and find out more as soon as possible, so be sure to keep peeling to stay on top of Matt’s tour and album news… the full list of dates are below.

Sunday 12th May – The Fleece, Bristol
Monday 13th May – Sub89, Reading
Tuesday 14th May – The Kazimier, Liverpool
Wednesday 15th May – The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
Thursday 16th May – The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Saturday 18th May – O2 Academy Islington in London

Hear From The Sexperts

20 Feb

If you’re in need of some advice on how to pull and also the secret to being the best in the boudoir, then Sophie Black chats to the expert on all things sexy, Devon Cornwall – who does look suspiciously like Fergus Craig.

Some wise words are said and apparently even tomatoes can be sexy.

Have a look at BBC Three’s latest Feed My Funny sketch just below.

The Greater Good

19 Feb
© BBC / Touchpaper

© BBC / Touchpaper

We’ve only just bid goodbye to Julian Barratt’s deluded, mean-spirited werewolf character Larry in Being Human, but it’s time to get excited about next Sunday’s fourth episode of the show’s fifth and final run, The Greater Good.

In initial previews for the show, Episode Four was teased as “a big episode” for Crumb – played by our very own Colin Hoult – seen here in a brand new promo image.  He’s been causing trouble since he was last seen, and it’s up to Hal and friends to keep him under control.

You can catch a preview clip of the new episode, featuring Colin below – and if you missed previous episodes, they’re available to watch again on BBC iPlayer.  As mentioned last week, the entire series is available for pre-order on dvd and blu-ray in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

The show continues on Sunday evening at 10pm, only on BBC Three.

Ralfe Band’s Latest, Son Be Wise

18 Feb

Ralfe Band have spoilt us with news of their next album via the power of the social networks!

Son Be Wise is the name of their third studio album not including their previous in 2010; the beautious soundtrack from Bunny & The Bull.

© Ralfe Band/Highline Records


The album is to be released on 3rd June with their new label, Highline Records. Earlier last year TVO were lucky enough to have a listen to some of their new tracks and we gave you the consensus, If you still feel teased then not to fret as Ralfe Band will be playing at The Vortex in North East London and playing you every track on the album!

Tickets for this exclusive show are £8.50 plus booking fees and you can book your places right here.

Along with this the band have also treated us all to a listen of the first single from the album, Come On Go Wild – have a listen down below and let us know your thoughts!

Dave Lambert: Not Your Common Man

17 Feb

Common Ground is a new series of shorts currently showing on Sky Atlantic on Monday evenings. The anthology of ten stories follows the ordinary lives of some rather interesting characters, with two episodes airing each week.

© Dave Lambert

We were lucky enough to talk to the show’s director, Dave Lambert, a man already well-known to us through his work with the Mighty Boosh and Steve Coogan, amongst others:

Dave, can you tell us how Common Ground come about and how you first became involved in the series? 
Baby Cow were approached by Lucy Lumsden, Head of Comedy at Sky, to come up with ten shorts for Sky Atlantic featuring brand new comic characters. I became involved after Ali MacPhail, the producer, had been working on it for a while and had narrowed down the potential scripts.

We met with the writers/performers to develop the scripts and started to cast the episodes. Then we got out there and shot them. I’m really proud of the show and hope lots of people see it.

Do you have a favourite episode or character from the series?
No! They are all my favourites! Seriously, I do love them all because they are all different and each tells a different story. There really is something for everyone in this series.

Could you see any of the stories developing for a second run?
Definitely, whether it is a standalone series for the individual characters or a second series of Common Ground – I think these characters need to be seen again, 11 minutes leaves you wanting more. I don’t think it’s the last you’ve seen of them.

© Sky Atlantic

At TVO, we’re increasingly directing people to Sky Atlantic to watch the TV shows we write about. Do you think Sky has taken over as the home of interesting TV comedy?
I think Sky have been fantastic over the last couple of years in regard to TV comedy in the UK. There’s energy and excitement around the industry and there’s some great shows being made. Sky Atlantic are all about trusting the talent to deliver the goods and they also give the perfect amount of guidance and input. As a viewer I really like the channel, ‘Girls’ is one of the best things on TV at the moment.

© Baby Cow/Sky Atlantic

Over the years you’ve been involved in a number of Steve Coogan projects, most recently producing and directing him as Alan Partridge. Why do you think Partridge has been so popular for so long?
Alan is one of the great comic characters. I grew up watching it religiously and it blows my mind that I’ve had the chance to produce and direct Partridge shows. I think audiences will always want to hear his views on the world. He’s always relevant and he’s just brilliantly performed by Steve.

Do you think the character of Partridge has evolved over time?
Steve himself said that in ‘Mid-Morning Matters’ we are seeing more of a ‘pure’ Alan. It’s just him, Simon and sometimes a guest, there are two cameras in that room and you see everything, there’s nowhere to hide. The performance is more nuanced and Alan is a little older. For ‘Places of my life’ that carried on but it was Alan in full presenter mode as well, which is a joy to behold!

You’re also famous around these parts for your Mighty Boosh documentaries. What was it like working with them, given they’re notoriously difficult to organise?
I loved filming the Boosh! There was a period of time when whatever they were doing I would document it. I have  tons of tapes and drives with footage of them. In terms of organisation there were a few occasions where my schedule was more urgent then theirs but that happens sometimes! They are a joy to be around, one of my best memories was making the documentary ‘A journey through Time and Space’ and revisiting the venues where they met and did early gigs. It was so funny and great to hear their memories.


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