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Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Luxury Comedy 2

2 Aug

A few months ago, TVO reporter, Gina R Snape, met up with Dolly Wells to talk all things Doll and Em. They also spent a little time discussing Luxury Comedy series 2. Here are the excerpts from that interview:

© Channel 4

How was it working on Luxury Comedy this time round?

It was really really fun. It was boiling hot. We’d have competitions over who was hotter! Because I was wearing a nylon wig with a stocking, that was definitely quite hot.

But then Noel would be wearing (not going to give things away!) a rubber outfit and a wig – and was running sweat like a tap, while talking to you! So I couldn’t really complain about being hot. And also that feeling that the crew are thinking that you’re wimps. But when you put on the lights, the heat is just so hot. It was ludicrous.

How was it shooting series 2 of Luxury Comedy compared to the last series?

Shooting was similar in that it was really fun, really easy. Me and Mike getting giggles a lot of the time; Tom being very sensible; Noel being really silly.

I mean there will be things in his series, and I can’t really give the story away, but…there was one particular thing Noel did, and I can’t remember which episode it was, where it was sooooo hard not to laugh. Like a school play or something. And no one is really in the mood for you laughing because you haven’t got that long.

And also, what’s really nice is that feeling which you don’t get on everything you do: it’s like when you do a dance together, you’re sort of willing everybody to get it right, so you really want it to be good. There’s a lot of trust that you feel, and you sort of owe it to each other slightly. Especially Noel, who is carrying 99.9% of the show, and it’s hot and you’re doing it again and again. Everyone feels like they’re part of it, which is really very lovely. And you also feel real admiration for him. He’s got a serious amount of energy and he’s constantly saying and trying new things. There’s so much improvising, which is really fun.

© Channel 4

How much input did you get to have yourself through improvisation?

Well, because Noel and Tom are really good…I can do it in my own show, but I’d get shy sometimes to be doing it myself. You’re definitely free to do whatever you wanted. And we had really long rehearsals, so you could try things out – which was really fun. We rehearsed in Camden and ran around like the Ramones. We all had on black jackets, and tried to look like the Ramones. So yeah, it was brilliant. It was very, very hot. And it was the last thing I did before I came to NY and then I flew to NY the next day. So it was a real culture shock. I really missed them all for ages. But yeah, it was brilliant.

The last time TVO interviewed you about Luxury Comedyith you said that the energy was very frenetic w Noel was doing a million things at once, and then he would then stop and fall asleep in the corner for 20 minutes. Was the same true this time?

Yes! Yes! He did. But no, you know what? He was always absolutely firing on all cylinders because he would either be getting painted blue, or making up a painting or something. But this time most of the things he was making or drawing (like the sets) were done before. But there were lots of conversations with the art department or with costumes or with make-up, because every aspect of it is him and Nigel’s vision, so they were always working. So of course he was always very, very busy. But actually, it felt a bit less like that this time, I think. I don’t know why that is, but it definitely felt less like that.

Maybe it’s because the second series? 

Yeah, everyone knows what they’re doing. Although the main difference for the second series is that there’s a serious narrative. So once it’s been written and you know the exact story, then you’re just left to try and get it right.

You’ve said previously that Tom Meeten is the straight man? But in Doll and Em he’s insane!

He’s not the straight man – on camera he’s absolutely hilarious. But behind the scenes, especially when me and Mike are getting the giggles, and he was hot under his wig or something, yes, he’d be serious. He’d be like a school teacher. We’d all have our roles, if you know what I mean.

© Channel 4

In Doll & Em you’re called Doll and in Luxury you’re Dolly. Why do you think you can’t get away from your name?

I know! I was thinking that. I was thinking, “My god this is a bit confusing and massively egotistical.” Well, BOTH TIMES it’s men being annoying! (laughs). Noel did it to sort of piss me off almost. I was going “Couldn’t I be called Jana or, just any name would be just fine” and Noel was like “Yeah, not really, I was just thinking Dolly.” “Yeah, but what about like Ivanna or… “No, that’s Nigel’s wife.” So there was just never gonna be anything but Dolly. He definitely knew I was going to be Dolly.

Many thanks to Dolly Wells for taking the time to chat to us. And don’t forget to tune into the second episode of Luxury Comedy on 4th August at 10pm on E4 (or catch it now on 4oD) to see Dolly & co in action!

Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Doll & Em

18 Feb
© Gina R Snape

© Gina R Snape

Today sees the UK launch of Doll & Em, the new dramedy from Dolly Wells & Emily Mortimer for Sky Living HD and HBO.

The show features its titular stars playing exaggerated versions of themselves, as well as showbiz cameos from Hollywood A-Listers and a few TVO regulars for good measure.

With Dolly Wells now residing in New York City, TVO’s East Coast correspondent Gina R Snape went in search of the Luxury Comedy star to talk about all things Doll & Em…

Dolly Wells doesn’t know it, but she’s on the verge of becoming a real New Yorker. Battling the subway, dealing with the horrific cold fronts and wave after wave of skin-scourging cold and snowstorms, it’s a far cry from the warmth of Los Angeles or the hot bright lights of the Luxury Comedy studio.

We meet to chat about Doll & Em, an extraordinary, complex six-part series written by and co-staring Dolly, with overtones of independent cinema: “my baby” is how she describes it. Sitting down over tea and chocolate, the conversation meanders from the making of this new TV show to the filming of Luxury Comedy and back again. Delightful and chatty, introspective and considerate, a conversation with Dolly takes many turns.

Discussing the inspiration behind Doll & Em, Dolly explains: “Basically, we wanted an excuse to hang out because Emily was living here and I was living in London and we’d both started having children and things. If we were going to be hanging out we had to be doing something to justify it to our families.  So we began sort of tepidly, if that’s the word. By the time we thought of this idea we’d been doing it for a long time.”

Inspired by the Harold Pinter play The Servant, and the film All About Eve, Emily began adapting the central concept from a variety of sources.  “We got really fascinated by people having assistants,” reveals Dolly.  “We’d hear stories about other actors, very successful actors, who’d have assistants and there’s just something innately funny about it. Of course, it’s a totally serious job, but there’s something funny about your job being somebody else. Because the person who is the ‘star’ is at some point going to behave like a child, or do something weird, the person working for them in that capacity is going to feel slightly resentful. So if you make it two best friends, who are completely equal…it felt like it was a massive canvass to put silly ideas on.”

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

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Short Arms Short Legs EP

18 Feb
© Easy Action / Psycho Delia

© Easy Action / Psycho Delia

Psycho Delia fans got some exciting news today. The EP for ‘Short Arms, Short Legs’ is available for download on iTunes.

Featuring four different versions (including two dance remixes and one sung in French!) the EP costs just £3.16 in the UK / $3.96 in the U.S. or £0.79/ 99¢ for individual song purchase.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get Psycho!

Philomena meets Oscar

17 Jan
© The Weinstein Company

© The Weinstein Company

It’s happened! And TVO couldn’t be happier.  Steve Coogan’s Philomena has been nominated for not one but FOUR Oscars!

The film, based on a newspaper article he wondered if he “might be able to turn into a film” is up for the categories of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Original Score.

I was absolutely dumbfounded,” he told The BBC today.

Ever the gracefully humble one, Coogan says he thought it might be a “small interesting film”that some people might like and that he “failed [his] English O level twice . . . so if I can do it, anyone can.”

Well we think your talent is enormous, and apparently the Academy does too. So best of luck with the votes and we’ll see you at the Oscars.

And if you haven’t seen it yet (what are you waiting for?!?!), here is the official trailer.

Stateside Coogan

7 Jan

Steven Coogan is busy Stateside promoting his new film Philomena.

On CBS This Morning he discusses the topic of the film, which has already won a screenplay award and has chatter around it for an Oscar nod.

The hosts also bring up Coogan’s UK comedy fame, which he humbly acknowledges along with his interest in branching out to dramatic roles and projects. Peelers can see the interview here:



And for an added treat, he’ll also be appearing tonight on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which can be viewed tomorrow on either the Comedy Central website, or by Hulu+ subscribers.

The Good Ship Tony Law

22 Dec
 photo good_ship.gif

© The Good Ship

TVO’s favourite abstract Canadian Tony Law will be appearing on 20th January at The Good Ship.

Billed as “A deeply hidden, powerfully meaningful act [who] has been traveling forth through historical empires, deep space and time zones to bring you a blistering set of shout-y nonsense.”

Please note that this is an 18+ only show. Tickets cost just £5/ £4 ADV and doors open at 6pm. You can purchase them here

Fans can click here to stay abreast of all of Tony Law’s upcoming gigs.

Onion Talking: Psycho Delia Unplugged in New York

21 Nov

© Taras Hnatyshyn

Last month Dee Plume made a short visit to NYC, and whilst there performed a few acoustic sets in her own inimitable pop/punk “in your face” style. Our Velvet Onion NYC correspondent, Gina R Snape, met up with her after her open mic performance at Sidewalk Cafe for a one-on-one. Here’s how the conversation went:

You came to New York on holiday?

I’ve been to New York before, so I’m not that bothered to go to the Empire State Building and other touristy stuff again, and I thought I really need to be doing some music! I came here with the intention of finishing some songs off. And when I got here, I just thought – I really need to do some live performing!

How is it playing your solo material in an unfamiliar setting? 

It’s good. It’s really progressing me as a musician and a performer. I’ve been doing a lot of gigs with my drummer. I’ve been playing electric guitar, with loads of effects, so then with drums and two vocals it’s a big sound, loads more sort of rock’n’roll. So to come and play guitar and just sing, it’s hard because it’s all on me! And then I have to be good! There’s no more hiding behind a wall of sound. And what I like about playing open mic is that you’re testing out your songs. So if they don’t work in that context, you have to rewrite them.

It felt like you were doing that, testing things out, seeing how things flow…

Yeah, yeah yeah! And also, it’s really good to do things on your own. When I was with Robots in Disguise, we took turns being the front person, and we had a backing track. I didn’t really have to fully take responsibility. If I didn’t sing a note, Sue would sing the note. So there was always someone to fall back on in a really big way. So now, doing it on my own and only with an acoustic guitar – you’ve really got to be good.

And really good is what Dee was. While in NYC, she performed three acoustic sets of her new material, which included: Now I’m a Square (about giving up drink and smoke), Two Degrees of Separation (“About my ex”), Don’t Fuck Your Producer (“I wish someone had given me that advice when I was starting out!”) a cover of Physical Attraction by Madonna (“I’m a massive Madonna fan”) and Short Arms Short Legs (a comedic song – in English and French!) When played acoustically, her songs have a very personal feel to them, and they illustrate Psycho Delia’s ability to combine catchy hooks with genuine emotion and good fun.
© Taras Hnatyshyn

© Taras Hnatyshyn

It’s hard. Because when you write with someone else, we would write a verse and a chorus each, and then meet up and bash it out. But I’ve been doing bits of writing with my drummer, Paula. And on the recordings I’ve done – Two Degrees of Separation, Short Arms Short Legs and My Own Language – I had Faye from The Savages, she wrote all her own drum parts; we kind of did that together. So I think that really helps me, writing with a drummer. I need to write with someone else. You need to bounce off someone. But then that’s why open mic is good, in terms of feedback, because you can take that back and see if it works.

How does the material that you use for your solo songs differ from the material you used for RiD?

Well they’re not a million miles away, because I was half of that band. Lyrically, they’re all about me now. Whereas with Robots, even if it started on my own, it became quite shared emotionally, because both of us were putting ideas in. So this is completely about me.

A lot of my songs are kind of funny, which is what I’m interested in. I want my songs to be entertaining, and have interesting themes, and make people laugh as well. I suppose they are kind of like Robots songs because they were always really positive on purpose – even if the starting point was negative. It’s like a place to put emotion, but I want it to be entertaining and not negative.

Continue reading

The Boosh Is Loose In CAL-I-FOR-NI-AAAAA!!!!!

22 Oct

© Gina R Snape

This weekend saw The Mighty Boosh play two shows in California, with a last minute gig at The Comedy Store being followed by Tenacious D’s well publicised Festival Supreme.

TVO’s US correspondents Gina R Snape and Teresa Whelan were on hand to document events, and this is their exclusive report…

Peelers around the globe either woke up in hazy happy disbelief or frantically searching the internet for all the glorious proof that The Mighty Boosh really did play two gigs in California this weekend.

© Gina R Snape

Have no fear! It wasn’t a dream. And The Velvet Onion was there for everything! So here’s our round-up. (Apologies for the delay. But unfortunately Naboo’s flying carpet didn’t have WiFi on our return trips home).

The Friday night benefit at The Comedy Store for Drop In The Bucket was a heck of a show. Viewers were treated to a full hour set!

Despite terrible jetlag, Naboo must have provided some incredible energy potion because the boys pulled all the stops out! Here for our readers is a TVO exclusive shot of the setlist.

Next came Festival Supreme, with an intense half hour set (sleuthy peelers can find clips on YouTube). The Boosh opened with “Electro Monk”, Julian performed Yeti solo, Noel returned to the stage for Hello Little Deer, and Old Gregg (who proclaimed he located Howard thanks to Tenacious D)  appeared for Mangina and Love Games – ending with a fan service nod to Stockholm Syndrome.


Introducing the Mirrorball Suit 2.0!
© @NickYoussef

Fans went mental as Noel stripped down to Mirrorball Suit 2.0 And Julian ripped off his elbow patches to reveal elbow tassles! No Boosh show would be complete without a “Don’t Touch Me!” declaration, Noel throwing artwork into the crowd, and a healthy dousing of Bailey’s by Old Gregg. The crowd cheered for an encore when they left all too soon. (Dave Brown confirmed on twitter that they had a 30 minute pull-the-plug limitation).

Olly kept the beat in the back, and fans screamed with delight when Naboo and Bob Fossil made their appearances.

Readers are welcome to click here for the full collection of TVO photos. The events may be over, but the magic lingers. Thank you, boys, for bringing the Mighty Boosh together, coming to the States, and leaving us with tears of Oniony joy.

For more pictures from the shows, click to read more…  Continue reading

Psycho Delia in Willyburg!

14 Oct

© Gina R Snape

Calling all Psycho Delia fans! Dee Plume has lined up one more gig before departing NYC!

Billed as an “Acoustic noodlings of the extensive PD songbook” Dee Plume invites all to “Join in on vox and foot-tap” for this tour of Psych Delia oeuvre at Spike Hill Music in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

So come on down for this free gig, before she flies back to the UK for Oxjam Brixton!

(Stay tuned for more on her adventures in the Big Apple!).

O’Dowd For The Irish Arts

21 Sep
Arthur Guinness Logo

©Arthur Guinness Projects

Chris O’Dowd has joined the Arthur Guinness Projects, a mentoring project and grants program created to support Irish talent and creativity.

O’Dowd will be on the Arts panel, judging a wide range of submissions from artists, writers, designers, photographers, and thespians.

Whilst the submission deadline has ended, peelers interested in the judging can follow along on the panellists blog, and check out a video about the projects here.

There is also a Twitter account on @GuinnessIreland.

O’Dowd In A Booby Trap

13 Sep


©Dawn O'Porter

©Dawn O’Porter

Order the Booby Trap book and help support Breast Cancer Charities. 

Chris O’Dowd puts his bits in, raps about waps, talks about his man boobs! Actually, he’s one of several contributors to The Booby Trap and Other Bits and Boobs, a collection of essays in aid of Breast Cancer Charities.

Edited by Dawn O’Porter (O’Dowd’s wife), the book features contributions from the likes of Maureen Johnson, Marian Keyes, Patrick Ness, Laura Dockrill, James Dawson, Will Hill, Maude Apatow and Benjamin Zephaniah.

Charities benefitting include Coppafeel, Breast Cancer Care, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Click on the book covers below to pick up your copy through the TVO Amazon store:

© Dawn O'Porter

© Dawn O’Porter

© Dawn O'Porter

© Dawn O’Porter

Left Booby for the UK Store — Right Booby for the US Store

Radio Alan: The Alan Partridge Player

7 Aug

UK and US “Alan Partridge” (Steve Coogan) fans rejoice! There’s a new app available for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (iOS 6.1 or later).

© Baby Cow, Touch Fantastic, BBC Worldwide

Just 99p in the UK or 99¢ in the States, this app is for anyone who wishes they “could listen to Alan Partridge’s radio show for real.”

Radio Alan features clips of Alan talking “live” on Mid-Morning Matters sandwiched between astonishingly good music (made up of song tracks from your own collection).

This an OFFICIAL app, developed by Baby Cow Productions, and designed to link up with Coogan’s new movie Alpha Papa

Don’t forget to check out the exclusive film clips posted by TVO on 2/8. Alpha Papa has its UK release on 7/8, with US release yet available.

So go to iTunes and search for “Radio Alan” under the apps category. Then sit back and let Alan Partridge be your personal DJ.

Peeling for Pedigree O’Dowd-style

16 Jul

UK fans of Chris O’Dowd will now get a chance to watch Family Tree. The 8-part series airs on BBC2 beginning 16 July.

Chris O’Dowd takes the lead as the show looks at character Tom Chadwick’s exploration of his lineage after inheriting a mystery box of goodies from a relative he doesn’t recall ever meeting.

Fans of Christopher Guest’s other creations (Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind, Best In Show) will find familiar faces and humour. Peelers might recall an interview last week with Radio Times.

And here is another trailer (courtesy of HBO).

Rufus Jones comes to Pooh Corner

16 Jun

Photo: Egmont Press

UK fans of A. A. Milne’s classic children’s story Winnie the Pooh will be delighted to hear about a new app for the iPhone or iPad.

“Classic Winnie-The-Pooh” features an engaging graphic interface with a sped up pace to appeal to the younger generation. Rufus Jones voices the story, although users can opt out of the narration to read on their own as well.

The first story is free, with another available for £1.99.

Jolene: The Indie Folk Star

26 May

Dolly Wells, Laura Patch, and Craig Roberts (Submarine) are amongst the stars of a forthcoming independent film.

Jolene: The Indie Folk Star is a romantic comedy about two young musicians on their first tour. Urged on to play their first live gig at a festival, Jolene (Ritchie) and Benny (Roberts) must reckon with the swirl of industry experts, advice, support and problems they experience along the way.

Shot in five days, the largely improvised-based script looks to be an interesting exploration into the pressure for commercial success and the strain of emotions that brings. Jolene is set for release Autumn 2013. Peelers can “like” their Facebook Page for pictures, articles and updates. And be sure to check out the trailer, below.

The Tennis Wall

22 May

Arnab Chanda takes a break from comedy writing with a poignant short on tennis, success fantasy and his relationship with an inanimate object known as The Tennis Wall. We think you’ll enjoy this intimate moment of self-reflection.

Kill the Wolf and then Folk Off!

18 May

Calling all Matt Berry music fans! Matt’s new album Kill the Wolf is set for release on June 17 2013. Eager Berry Peelers can also get a sneak peak with this newly-released  “Making of” video:

If you missed the chance to see him play live with Matt and the Maypoles May 12 -18, you can always read TVO’s interview from last week ( and if you’re really focused on the prize you can double-dose with our editor, Paul Holmes’ review of his Manchester show on Music News!)

Pick up a copy of his Limited Edition EP CD, and pre-order the album from iTunes or Amazon.

And once you’ve got that sorted, sit back and enjoy when Matt tells you to Folk Off with a rundown of his Top 10 Folk Songs:

Chris talks sex symbols and tells a tall tale

3 May

Chris O’Dowd fans will delight in his recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Ostensibly appearing to plug his new show “Family Tree” on the stateside cable network HBO, he nevertheless has us laughing with tales of sex symbols, sport and height.

Peelers can see the entire interview here:

Delia Gets Psycho Social

20 Apr

© Dee Plume

Earlier this month a Facebook profile was created for Psycho Delia. So if you haven’t got enough Riot Gurrrl Pop Art action in your life, head on over and “like” the Psych0delia Facebook page.

There you’ll find announcements for upcoming gigs, loads of pictures of Dee and her alter egos, and links to posts by other fans. So head on over and get Psyched.

A peep at Coogan’s Look of Love

14 Apr

©2013 BSkyB

Peelers who got excited reading our last entry about Steve Coogan’s upcoming movie The Look of Love can now get a peek at some exclusive pics!

Coogan’s turn in the role of Paul Raymond, adult magazine publisher and nightclub owner dubbed the “King of SoHo,” has surely whet our appetites. So pop on over to the the Sky Movie HD Gallery and have a Look.


And for those who missed it, or want some more . . . enjoy the trailer!


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