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.
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.
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!
Baby Cow and Sky Atlantic’s series of highly inventive comedy shorts, Common Groundcontinues 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 & Sinclairtells 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.
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!
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 Booshradio 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.
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!!!
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 mevio.com 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.
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!
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.
The smash hit cult comedy from the minds of Steve Oram, Alice 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.