Archive by Author

Tony On The Wall

26 Aug
© Dave Brown

© Dave Brown

Tony Law will join fellow comedians early next month for a special one-off comedy show on Hadrian’s Wall!

Hadrian’s Wall Live:Comedy Evening with Magna Laughter is actually at Housteads Roman Fort, so the acts won’t be in danger of falling off anything.

The evening is MC’d by Ben Van der Velde whose interest in history inspired Magna Laughter’s creation. Other acts include John Henry Falle and Gordon Southern,

The show is on Saturday 5th September from 7.15pm to 11pm and tickets can be bought by calling the Ticket Sales Team on 0370 333 1183 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30 Sat 9am – 5pm).

More details can be found on the English Heritage Website.

Questionable Science – With Rich Fulcher

8 Aug

Our favourite American (don’t tell the others!) is back.

Rich Fulcher is Professor Rich who, with his Unfocus Group, hit the streets and interview leading experts to find the answers to some of life’s dumbest hypothetical questions.

There’s a clip on YouTube (below) and the shows are available to stream on Comedy Central but only in the USA.

 

Sean Signs

4 Aug

A new video has been released by Sean Reynard (aka Sean the Prawn). He stars in the video as Quentin Smirhes, who appears in an excerpt from See Hear circa ’83.

If that has piqued your interest you can see Sean’s other videos by clicking the Vimeo button, where there is a gallery of previous uploads, including Quentin reciting 2 poems from  the 17th and 19th centuries with a twist.

Battlefield Casualties

27 Jul
© battlefieldcasualties.co.uk

© battlefieldcasualties.co.uk

 Campaign group Veterans for Peace have enlisted the familiar voice of Matt Berry to make a serious point. Matt lends his voiceover talents to spoof Action Man adverts for Battlefield Casualties.

The group is trying to get the minimum recruitment age for military service increased to 18, and the film shows the reality of war for some veterans, instead of the glamour and excitement portrayed in adverts for action figures aimed at children.

From the website – “The UK is one of only nineteen countries worldwide, and the only EU member, that still recruits 16 year olds into its armed forces, (other nations include Iran and North Korea). The vast majority of countries only recruit adults aged 18 and above, but British children, with the consent of their parents, can begin the application process to join the army aged just 15.”

The films are quite disturbing, considering they involve action figures, so careful about who is around when you are watching.

Free Comedy Pilots From Audible

7 Jul
© audible.co.uk

© audible.co.uk

Audible, the Amazon-owned company that sells audio downloads, has created five new sitcom pilots which it is giving away for free. The collection is titled This Is Your Pilot Speaking!, and this is the first time that Audible has commissioned original comedy content in the UK.

Of course if it’s comedy then there is TVO connected people involved!

The five pilots are:

Catching Up – Written by Bronagh Fegan

A sharp yet warm-hearted comedy about what happens after university. Performed by Louise Ford, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Carrie Quinlan, Grainne Maguire and Andy Goddard.

Working for The Big Man – Written by Rob Sears and Tom Sears

Committed rationalist and atheist Ralph gets an unwelcome surprise when he dies on his honeymoon. He discovers that God does exist after all, and worse yet God has a job for him. Performed by Kevin Eldon, Felicity Montagu and Mitch Benn.

Slaving Away – Written by Miranda Kane

Meet (the other) Miranda. She’s a cheerful, happy-go-lucky single girl in London … who just happens to be a professional dominatrix. Performed by Hugh Dennis, Miranda Kane and Jon Holmes.

The Uncynical Cannibal –  Written by Dewi Llywelyn

This gloriously mad Desert Island romp is what Robinson Crusoe would have been like if the castaway had found a crop of magic mushrooms growing among the coconuts. Performed by Richard Glover, Simon Kane, Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Bobby Mair and Sophie Henderson.

The Hub –  Written by Bruce Windwood

Deep underground is The Hub, a top-secret location from which a team of dedicated professionals keep us safe by waging war against Terror, Anarchy and Foreigners in General. It’s just a shame that all the state-of-the-art, counter-terrorist hardware can’t stop them from screwing everything up. Performed by Susy Kane, Alex Kirk, Howard Gossington, Anjella Mackintosh and Joel Morris.

Click on the link to find out more and download the pilots. Once you’ve listened to them, you can vote for your favourite by giving a star rating on the site. Voting will remain open until December 31st when the most popular show will be turned into a full series.

Uncle Matt

2 Jul
© joe.co.uk

© joe.co.uk

Hard working Matt Berry has taken time from his busy schedule of writing, acting and music, to help you with your problems. That’s right, Matt has become an agony uncle for Joe.co.uk, a website for men, with fitness tips, comedy, music, football and other sport. Click on the link to see an interesting interview with Matt, mostly about his recent work.

Matt is also planning more musical appearances. In September he is joining Steven Wilson for one of two unique evenings of music and art, at the Royal Albert Hall,  Matt Berry and the Maypoles will be there on Tuesday 29th September, limited tickets are available here.

Then in December Matt and the Maypoles will be in York, at Fibbers, on the 5th and London at The Forum, on the 10th. Tickets for these are also going fast and can be bought here.

STOP PRESS! Matt has announced a full UK tour for December, the band will be playing Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Brighton, Bristol and Birmingham as well as York and London! Full details available here.

British Muslim Comedy

18 Jun
© BBC

© BBC

To celebrate the start of Ramadan, BBC iPlayer has released five comedy shorts, written by and starring British Muslim comedians. They explore the highs and lows of modern Muslim life, including personal struggles around Ramadan.

All the shorts are directed by Dave Lambert, with costumes by Suzy Evelyn-Hall of DeadDogInBlackBag. Eid Mubarak is written by and stars Asim Chaudry who stars in Hoff The Record.

The mixture of stories and styles means there is something for everyone, and not just for Muslims.  You can see them all here on BBC iPlayer, where they are available for 29 days.

While you are there, don’t forget Matt Berry‘s moving tribute to UK Father’s – Father’s Day, which also features Bob Mortimer.

Gen Zed Trailer Out Today!

8 Jun

The trailer for Hayden Black ‘s ground-breaking animated series Gen Zed is out today.

Gen Zed is making headlines as the first ever animated show to feature a trans actress in a leading role. The series follows 4 disparate college-age people who move in together.

To find out more about the series read our interview  with Hayden from earlier in the year, and like the show on Facebook to get all the latest news.

Brian Pern Live!

4 Jun
© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Brian Pern is celebrating his illustrious 40-year career in music with a one-off live show in London!

The founder of fictional prog rock band Thotch and creation of Simon Day and Rhys Thomas, will be Only Live Only For Only One Night Only at The Lyric Theatre in London on Monday 19th October at 7.30pm.

 An Evening with Brian Pern is a mixture of music and chat and also stars two TVO regulars from the TV series, Lucy Montgomery and Tony Way.

 If you don’t know much about Brian or the series or you just want to be reminded of his greatness, then take a look at our interview with Simon and Rhys.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (June 5th) at 9am and cost £27.50.

Count Arthur Is Back!

22 May
© picturehouseblog.co.uk

© picturehouseblog.co.uk

Radio Times today revealed that Count Arthur Strong will be back for a third series on BBC1 next year.

The BBC has commissioned seven more episodes of the Bafta-nominated comedy which sees Steve Delaney once again in the role of the eccentric ex-music hall performer, who causes chaos wherever he goes, joined by his long-suffering friend Michael (Rory Kinnear).
The series will again be co-written by Delaney and TVO regular Graham Linehan.

Count Arthur recently released the first volume of his memoirs entitled ‘Through it all I’ve always Laughed’, available here, and series 1 is available on DVD from the TVO Store.

New Thomas & Way Podcast – At Last!

3 May
© Thomas and Way

© Thomas and Way

After an unplanned 18 month gap, Rhys Thomas and Tony Way have finally released their latest (21st) podcast for your listening pleasure.

The lads drink some questionable wine, talk about Doctor Who, discuss the General Election and there’s a surprise guest. They also reminisce about the good old days and generally have a good time.

This latest podcast (and all the others) can be found here.

If there’s anything you’d like to ask for the next podcast you can contact them at thomasandway@gmail.com or on Twitter @tonypaulway or @rhysthomasOBE.

Berry In Space With Spongebob

3 Apr
© Den of Geek

© Den of Geek

Matt Berry has had a busy couple of weeks.

He is the voice of a space dolphin named Bubbles in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which came out last week and he has been nominated, along with Arthur Matthews, for a British Academy Craft Award for Toast of London, as they are busy writing the third series of the Channel 4 comedy.

They are up against the equally talented Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, who are nominated for their inspired series Inside No. 9.

Matt chatted to the Radio Times, The Guardian, and Den of Geek about SpongeBob, Toast and House of Fools, and you can read all the interviews by clicking on the links.

Dolly’s Blunt Talk

28 Mar

As we told you earlier this year, Dolly Wells is starring in Blunt Talk, a new show for starz, starring Sir Patrick Stewart as Walter Blunt, a British news anchor who moves to Los Angeles with his alcoholic manservant (Adrian Scarborough), to host a sanctimonious talk show.

The first teaser trailer for the new series is out and here it is, featuring Dolly and Adrian Scarborough. Looks like they have a hit on their hands!

We still don’t know when it will be on our screens, but as soon as we do you will be the first to know.

Silly Billies Go Live!

26 Mar
© Live Theatre

© Live Theatre

As we all know, comedy doesn’t just happen in London (or Edinburgh).

Our attention has been brought to a monthly comedy night held at the Live Theatre in Newcastle – Silly Billies Comedy is hosted by Jack Gardner and his friend Sam and is “an alternative comedy night that celebrates the anarchic, strange and surreal“, sounds good to us!

The next night is on Sunday 29th March, with headliner Seymour Mace, star of the sadly missed Ideal (a BabyCow Production, directed by Ben Wheatley, with a film version announced).

Support will be provided by Cheekykitta, Liberty Hodes, Joby Mageean and Andy Clark.

The headliner for the next night on April 19th, is TVO regular Joey Page with support from Heavy Petting, Lee Kyle, Adam Hastings and Sean Turner.

The fun starts at 8pm and the tickets are a very reasonable £5, so what are you waiting for?

Tickets and more information about the shows and venue can be found here.

The Vote At The Donmar

24 Mar
© Donmar Warehouse

© Donmar Warehouse

As you probably know, if you live in the UK, there is a General Election happening in May, and The Donmar Warehouse is celebrating this event with “A national television event and a first for theatre and television“. A lot to live up to you might think, but The Vote is certainly on track to be such a huge event.

The play is set in a fictional London polling station, in the final ninety minutes before the polls close in this year’s General Election. There will be two weeks of performances at the Donmar from Friday 24 April to Wednesday 6 May, then on the 7th, at 8.30 until 10pm, the performance will be broadcast live on More4 from the Donmar stage.

There is a stellar cast performing this new play by James Graham, including some with TVO connections – of course!

Among the cast are Nathan Barley himself, Nicholas Burns, who was also The King in The Mighty Boosh, had a guest role in The IT Crowd, appeared in Surrealissimo with Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, and more recently has appeared in Uncle. Nina Sosanga also appeared in Nathan Barley and W1A

Dame Judi Dench was Philomena alongside Steve Coogan, Catherine Tate was in Big Train and Psychobitches, while Mark Gatiss also took part in Psychobitches, Surrealissimo, The Crimson Petal and the White with Chris O’Dowd, Fear of Fanny and of course Nighty Night with Julia Davis.

Llewella Gideon, also starred in Nighty Night, Big Train and more recently the Paddington movie and Crims, which also starred Kadiff Kirwan. Timothy West starred in the first episode of Inside No. 9 and Not Going Out.

Also in the cast is Rachel Denning, who was in the Life’s Too Short Easter Special, Hadley Fraser who had parts in The Wrong Mans and Pompidou, Wanda Opalinski from Cardinal Burns.

Tickets to see the live performances will be made available through a ballot, which opens on Monday 30 March at 10am and runs until midnight on Tuesday 7 April. For more information about performances, tickets and the cast click on this link.

That’s Rich

20 Mar
© Rich Fulcher

© Rich Fulcher

Last week TVO offered you the chance to watch the recording of the pilot episode of That’s Rich – the new sitcom written by and starring Rich Fulcher. For those of you not lucky enough to get tickets, here is our guide to the madness:

Rich owns a junk shop on a run-down high street, with help from his son Alistair who has a business degree, which he is unable to put to any use as Rich won’t have anything to do with new-fangled selling methods like eBay, even though he is running out of money fast.

Other residents of the high street include Rich’s business rival Fantasio, an egomaniacal hairdresser who runs a salon/art gallery; his best friend Dalton who owns a jacket potato shop and is obsessed with potatoes; and Margaret, a community police officer who is determined to find out who owns the car parked outside Rich’s shop, which is covered in parking tickets, and which Rich denies is his. There is also a man in a dressing gown who appears to live in the shop.

With us so far?

The storyline of the pilot episode was original, multi-layered and completely bonkers (this is Rich Fulcher that we’re talking about). The narrative flowed through the show, there was (some) method in the madness, and we were introduced to the characters quickly, so they were believable. The plot involved a cat, puppets, silly string and underwear, not necessarily in that order! There are elements of traditional sitcom in the storyline, but as you can imagine, it has a strong stream of the unhinged flowing through it, which made it much funnier.

The shop set is amazing and the attention to detail was fantastic. We spent ages spotting stuff in the mounds of bric-a-brac all over the set – it looked like a real junk shop. Half of it will probably never be visible on-screen, but it is a work of art.

We understand that the pilot – the first comedy commissioned by Channel 4 from King Bert Productions (the production company set up by Miranda Hart and David Walliams) – is not intended for broadcast, but if it gets made into a series – which it really should be – we will let you know.

Teenage Cancer Trust Evening Of Comedy

25 Feb
© Teenage Cancer Trust

© Teenage Cancer Trust

The very first Teenage Cancer Trust Show was 15 years ago and featured ‘The Who and Friends’. This annual event has now grown to a week of concerts, including an evening of comedy.

Roger Daltrey CBE, has been bringing together top artists and comedians from around the world over these 15 years, raising over £20 million to help support young people with cancer.

Regular readers know that Noel Fielding rarely misses one of these evenings and this year is no exception.

The TCT Evening of Comedy at the Royal Albert Hall is on Tuesday 24th March, doors open at 6.45 and ticket prices range from £27.50 to £55. Tickets are available from here.

This years show is hosted by Kevin Bridges who will be joined by Jon Richardson as well as Noel.

Other concerts during the week are:

Monday 23rd – Stereophonics

Wednesday 25th – Van Morrison

Thursday 26th – The Who and Wilko Johnson

Friday 27th – Paul Weller and Jonny Marr

Saturday 28th – Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds

Sunday 29th – Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls

There is plenty of entertainment for everyone, whatever your taste in music and comedy, so why not splash out and help a great cause?

You can find out more about all the concerts at the TCT Website.

Reece’s Chain Reaction

20 Feb
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Reece Shearsmith is interviewed by Adam Buxton in the first of the new series of BBC Radio 4’s tag team interview show Chain Reaction. Each week the interviewee from the week before becomes the interviewer.

The 10th series of the chat show carries on from the end of the last series, when Adam Buxton was interviewed by Graham Linehan.

During the show the pair discuss the League of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Inside No 9 and Reece’s strange job making models.

Next week Reece interviews House of Fools legend Bob Mortimer, the following week Bob interviews his comedy partner Vic Reeves, and Vic then interviews three-time Bafta award winner Olivia Colman.

Chain Reaction is broadcast on Wednesdays on Radio 4 at 6.30pm, followed by repeats on Radio 4 extra at 7.30am and 10pm the following Wednesday. It is also available after broadcast on BBC iPlayer.

Hayden Talks Gen Zed

14 Feb
10959812_10152605139402611_5043355138319404288_n

© Hayden Black

TVO regular and sporadic Rich Fulcher collaborator Hayden Black is about to unleash a new animated show, Gen-Zed! – which is making headlines as the first ever animated show to feature a trans actress in a leading role.

Hayden took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about Gen Zed and the folk involved with it, and the resulting Q&A is below.

Where did you get the idea for the show?

I was wondering how younger people just emerging out of high school and college were going to handle life now they’d grown up immersed in tech and the bazillions of choices it gave you. It’s a double-edged sword, tech. These days you can find anything you want, download it, listen to it, play it, watch it – but it can also bury you alive. Plus I was hungry to tell a story with a Transgender woman in it. Transparent got there first and they did an absolutely magnificent job. Gen Zed is aimed at a much younger audience .

What were your main influences when writing Gen Zed?

First influence is “The Young Ones” – the anarchic, rebellious spirit that formed my childhood. I wanted to do a show that WASN’T for your parents. Something “the kids” (thanks, Rik) could own. The second is “Spaced”; specifically the flights of fancy that Edgar Wright did so brilliantly. I actually wrote the pilot as live-action but I always had animation in the back of my mind. I got talking to an animator who thought it was a great show to animate but her busy schedule prevented her from coming on board. And then the magnificent Alex Bradley showed up and BAM.

How did you come up with the characters?

Shona, the young Trans girl, is based on a Trans girl I know who’s hysterical, witty, beautiful, amazing and brilliant. I wanted to capture her; both her beauty and her pain. Living your life that way, the only way you can live if you’re born in the wrong body, takes such bravery because of how some shitty, ignorant people choose to live theirs. I always think that men who make fun of Trans women aren’t really men at all. Irony! The other characters were mixtures of various things; Cameron’s a shit poet which is based loosely on The Young Ones’ Rik. Living in LA, I know a few people like Betsy who are a little too dependent on prescription drugs but don’t think they have a problem. And Huey’s just a complicated nutter; sort of like The Young Ones’ Vyvyan but with a bit more depth.

Did you set out to write a Trans character, or did they naturally fit with the rest of the characters?

Yes, I did. Shona was the first character to emerge. The rest followed her lead.

And so is it true that this is the first-ever animated series to feature a Trans actress in a lead role?

Yes!! It’s astonishing that no one’s done it before. In fact, the only animated shows thus far to feature trans characters in lead roles are Anime series and so they’re all about magic turning boys into girls – nothing realistic that portrays Trans women as real people has ever been done in this format. Which is such bullshit. But as I’ve written and researched this show, I’ve come to realize that by creating a strong role model, Trans people might have something to help them realize that they’re NOT alone and that SHIT GETS BETTER! The tragic story of Leelah Alcorn the kind of things we want to stop from happening ever again.

KevJulieMarcelo

© Hayden Black

How long did the scripts take to write?

I wrote a 28-page pilot in June 2014, in about 2 weeks. It sort of sat there while I worked on other things but Gen Zed began picking up steam around October. For the next few months, it became re-write city, involving table reads, etc., and it just got better and better. I also decided to change the pilot presentation into a web series so I let it grow from 28 pages to about 54, knowing I’d split it into roughly 7 x 5 minute webisodes.

How do differences in cultural references in Britain and America have an influence on your writing? Do you feel you can only use American ones?

I write for an American audience because that’s where I live. But at the end of the day, I can’t (and don’t want to) escape my mother culture, so both cultures go into my writing. I look at both styles of comedy – American and British – and try to use both. So there’s wit, intelligence and smarts along with bad puns, toilet humour, and physical comedy. Hopefully it’s a good mashup. 

Do you use your British humour in your writing, and do the American audiences ‘get it’?

I always use some British humour but I’m all about writing a comedy that everyone can get. I won’t get too self-indulgent because what’s the point? I do like a handful of earned jokes though; something you don’t get at first but when you do, you go “Ah!” So I’ll pepper in a few jokes here and there that not everyone will get but if you’re one of the few who do, you’ll know I was writing specifically with you in mind.

Emily

© Hayden Black

Did you have actors in mind for the role or did you just see who turned up for auditions?

I had no actors in mind – I never do, to be honest. I just write it. Actors come to the table with their own talents; their take on their character can add something you didn’t realize was there. I got very lucky with Gen Zed because I cast it so quickly.

Julie Rei Goldstein was the first trans actress I auditioned and she just nailed it! She got the character, got my humour, and delivered Shona so quickly I was amazed. Shona is a complex character – they all are, really – but Julie knew just how to drive it. There are moments of snarkiness, moments of over the top silliness, and moments of sadness and horrible things and she knows when to put her foot on the pedal and when to hit the brakes.

John M. Keating was referred to me by America Young (of Goodnight Burbank) and he’s so talented and such a great bloke. Emily C. Chang I met a few years ago at a comedy festival here in LA. I watched a short of hers that she starred in and it was clear how talented she is. So I made sure to add her to Facebook in case there was ever a time when we could work together and I’m glad I did! She just batted it out of the park with her first read.

Kevyn Richmond was recommended to me by a producer friend and the moment I saw his reel I knew he was Cameron. And then there’s Marcelo Tubert who plays Miguel, their landlord. He’s a very established character actor so what you get with Marcelo is a huge talent and a man full of ideas that he brings to the table. I even sneaked in a line for the girl who Shona is based on! So she gets to cameo alongside the character based on her.

KevJulie

© Hayden Black

How did Jane Wiedlin become involved?

We follow each other on Twitter and so I sent her a DM asking if she’d like a cameo. She agreed to read the script then responded with an email that said she wouldn’t do a cameo. She’d only do a recurring character because she loved the script so much. I created a brand new character for her that wasn’t in the pilot; she plays the girl who works with Cameron in the video game store that he has a mad crush on. She even flew down from San Francisco just to record with us in person and she was SO lovely.

SONY DSC

© Hayden Black

What about the music? Did you write your own theme tune again?

Yup! I co-wrote this with James Semple, a British composer. And I also wrote pretty much all of the incidental music that you hear in the show too. Have I made a stupid joke about playing with my organ in public yet? –  because this would be the place to do it!

How long has it taken from when you first had the idea for the show to actually recording the voices for the first episode?

Really quickly – about 8 months. I wasn’t planning on shooting Gen Zed when I first wrote it so it’s all taking off rather fast. But that’s how these things usually happen. It’s the stuff you least expect.

How long does the animation take to complete?

Alex is telling me a month per episode, so all I can do is hold my breath. His preliminary artwork has been rather fantastic so I know I’m going to be gob-smacked when I see it all come together.

When will the episodes be available to watch?

I’m hoping it’s ready to go by late Autumn 2015. But we’ll have snippets and scenes to promote the show much sooner than that. If you follow the twitter @Gen_Zed and find us on Facebook, you can be up-to-the-minute and take place in competitions, win prizes like signed scripts, etc.

The Velvet Onion would like to thank Hayden for taking the time and trouble to answer our questions. If you’d like to know more about Hayden and his other work, please visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.When Gen Zed is available to watch we’ll be the first to let you know!

The Complete History Of Fulcher

12 Dec
© 4OD

© 4OD

The Complete History Of….. is a new series of short information films on 4OD. The 6 minute internet shows are presented by Professor Martins, who looks and sounds a lot like Rich Fulcher, and he is on a mission to discover the history of modern trends.

The first 3 shows investigate The Complete History of: sexting, legal highs and YOLO. The Professor interviews experts on the subjects and tries some of the activities himself.

As you would expect, things don’t go quite to plan in every show, and the Professor gets into a bit of trouble.

To view all the episodes go to 4od.

We are all excited to see Rich back on our screens after what seems like ages!

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