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Noel Fielding UK Tour Dates Postponed

19 Dec

© Paulpanfergrams/Joe Lynne

We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings this close to Christmas, but the second leg of Noel Fielding‘s UK tour has been postponed.

The 2015 shows were originally scheduled to kick off on 29th January. The dates have now been rescheduled to Autumn 2015 (with the exception of Norwich, Basingstoke and Milton Keynes), due to unforeseen filming commitments in the New Year.

All tickets for the January / February dates will be valid for the corresponding re-scheduled date EXCEPT for SALFORD LOWRY. For Salford Lowry show please contact Salford Lowry Box Office for refunds or replacement tickets.

Fans unable to attend on the revised dates or who have tickets at venues that were unable to reschedule a date should return to their point of purchase for a full refund. For the full list of new dates, please see below:

We know that many of you will be disappointed. Rest assured, this isn’t something that Noel and his team take lightly, and they’ve extended their sincerest apologies to anyone who has been affected.

For those of you who can’t wait until the Autumn, and who have a wanderlust burning  in your hearts, you could head over to the other side of the world to see the show, featuring Noel, Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten, in Australia and New Zealand. Tickets for these dates are available from Ticketek Australia and New Zealand.

Reviews of the show’s initial UK run have been unanimously positive (like this one), so if you don’t have a ticket yet, get in there quick! Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

The Count On Tour

18 Dec

© Count Arthur Strong

We’ve been getting so giddy about everyone’s tours and tour announcements lately, it’s been difficult to keep up with it all.  And now there’s another one to tell you about!

Count Arthur Strong will be touring his stage show ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ around the UK from February to May 2015, and tickets are already on sale. The man himself has said of the show: “Miss this wonderful event at your peril. If you only buy one ticket for something this year buy a ticket for this one twice and bring a friend. I promise you you won’t regret it. And if you do there must be something wrong with you. No refunds!”

The run of shows is vast; to find out where he’s performing and when click here. And to purchase tickets head on over there.

To stay on top of Count Arthur Strong news, why not check out his Facebook page or follow him on twitter? As pensioners go, he’s pretty active on social media!

Paul Foot – Extra Xmas Secret Show

13 Dec

Paul Foot has added an extra Christmas Secret Show to his end of year schedule.

The extra show takes place on the evening of Monday 22nd December and tickets can be purchased via the Guild Lodge. (The password is “hobbyhorse”). There are also a few tickets left for his Secret Shows on 20th (afternoon), and 21st December.

Tickets can be procured with PayPal for the oddball price of £12.12. Of course.

To get you in the mood, here’s a new Video Log from the man himself, fresh out of the shower, and filmed in a hotel in Oslo:

This Comedian – In Pictures & On Stage

13 Dec

© Idil Sukan

Photographer and designer, Idil Sukan, is holding an exhibition of her work in comedy from the last decade. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also organising a fundraising live show.

© Idil Sukan

The exhibition offers a large scale retrospective of Idil’s design and photography from the UK comedy industry, and consists several hundred photos, including a few TVO faces, as you can see here. Entry is free and it takes place 19th February to 2nd March 2015, at the Embassy Tea Gallery, Southwark, London. For more information about the exhibition click here.

Meanwhile tickets have just gone on sale for Idil’s big launch and fundraiser This Comedian: LIVE. It’s a brand new concept: top talent from TV, radio and live comedy has been handpicked to share what it’s like to actually be a comedian.

They’ll reveal what it’s really like to have to stand on stage and bare your soul to judgemental comedy fans; stories and anecdotes from the backwaters of comedy turned into stand-up. Getting laughs from getting laughs – awesome stuff for comedy fans.

The show features Robin Ince, Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, James Acaster & MC Michael Legge, and takes place on 26th January 2015 at the Duchess Theatre, Aldwych. Tickets are £20; for more information about the live show click here.

Ooh Arrr! John Hopkins Tells Us About The Muckers

8 Dec

© John Hopkins

Forget comedy TV shows for grown ups – because kids’ TV is where it’s at now. Hot on the heels of the multi-award winning Horrible Histories and the awesome Pythonesque Yonderland, comes CBBC’s The Muckers.

The show, about a family of teenagers who live on a farm in Cornwall, is directed and edited by the highly TVO-connected John ‘Willie’ Hopkins, one of the original Ealing Live gang, and features music by Dave Westlake of Boosh Band fame. John very kindly allowed us to wake him up a bit early one morning, so that we could chat about The Muckers. Mog reports:

Described by John as “The Rural Monkees”, The Muckers features a fresh-faced, likeable cast of 14 and 15-year olds who live on a Cornish Farm. But these are no stage-school luvvies, they’re a bona fide country-dwelling brother, sister, cousin and best friend. They started out creating their own youtube videos under the ‘Purely Cornish’ moniker, filmed by Sam (one of the featured siblings). Then, with the involvement of producer, Kate O’Drsicoll, comedy writer/actor, Ben Moor, and John to oversee the filming, The Muckers was born.

© John Hopkins

John was keen that his approach to filming suited the age and lifestyle of the cast: “I can’t big up those kids enough – they’re really lovely, sweet kids.” he says. “I wanted Sam to feel empowered by it all, rather than some bossy director hanging around and telling them what to do. I went down there for a recce for a few days and ended up spending two weeks with them. I just followed them around with a camera, to see what they did; we’d just talk and stop in places around the farm, and ideas would come out of them being naturally funny.”

The show has a lovely naive charm to it, driven in part by its beautiful rural setting, and also by the natural performances from the kids. The intention was to make it feel “homespun”. John explains: “It should feel like it’s them making it. It’s the alternative to the city urban life that we see so much of. These kids are sitting by a lake, or sitting on a gate and having a chat; it’s their equivalent of sitting at a bus stop eating Quavers and gobbing.”

That’s not to say that The Muckers harks back to those hard-to-relate to idyllic US kids’ TV shows of the 1970s, like Little House on the Prairie. With John as director, it was never going to be like that. The Muckers features large helpings of modern silliness and some impressive farting cows which, as everyone knows, is essential content for a successful kids’ TV show. “Kids’ comedy suits me…I’m quite puerile!” John says.

So what’s next for Mr Hopkins? He’s currently working on what sound like a very exciting project with another TVO artist, Joey Page through Wildseed Studios (an innovative production company that operates via a new funding model, in order to bring fresh creativity to our screens). The pair are creating an online sitcom set some time in the future, which goes under the working title of ‘Intergalactic Sausage’. From what John’s told us, it sounds pretty epic, so we’ll be bringing you updates as/when they’re available.

In the meantime, why not get a load of The Muckers – even if you think you’re a fully-fledged adult? It’s currently part of the CBBC Labs project, but the more people who like it, the more likely it is that the BBC will commission a full series. You can watch the pilot in full here, or take a look at the Pasty Song below. We promise you’ll be singing it tomorrow:

Many thanks to John for allowing us to wake him up to talk to us, and then being so utterly charming with it.

Tedfest 2015!

5 Dec

© Independent

If you’re a bit mad about Father Ted, and you fancy a trip to ‘Craggy Island’ with a bunch of fellow Ted nutters, Tedfest 2015 will be right up your street.

Every year a group of Father Ted fans gather on an island north of Galway called Inis Mor for several days of silly competitions, drinking and general tomfoolery in honour of Father Ted. This next one will be the ninth Tedfest (seriously) and it’ll take place from Thursday 26th February to Sunday 1st March 2015.

You can read more about it here, where you’ll also find videos and photos aplenty from previous years’ events. Just in case you didn’t believe it was an actual thing.

Weekend Tickets for Tedfest cost €150 and can be procured here. The ticket includes entry to all the Tedfest venues and events, none of which are open to the general public, and if you book, you’ll receive a list of accommodation on the Island and the PIN Number required to book. According to the Tedfest website, the ticket does not include: “Transport, accommodation, food, drink, drugs…but you get a cup of tea when you get there!”

Brilliant.

O’Dowd Stars With Bill Murray In St Vincent

2 Dec

Chris O’Dowd features alongside the legend that is Bill Murray in a new feature film, out this week.

St Vincent follows the story of Vincent, a drunken, gambling war veteran retiree (Murray), who gets recruited by his new neighbour to watch over her 12-year-old son. Vincent’s ideas of after-school activities include visits to racetracks and strip clubs, but eventually the mismatched pair connect and help each other grow up.

O’Dowd plays the part of 12 year old Oliver’s teacher, Brother Geraghty.

The movie is already out in the US and it hits UK cinemas this Friday, 5th December. In general, it’s had pretty good reviews, so if you like your O’Dowd and Murray funnies served up with a hint of schmaltz, check out the trailer below and go see:

Dan Tetsell In Cabin Pressure Finale

30 Nov

© BBC

We’ve spotted Dan Tetsell hiding in the background (far left) of a new publicity photo for the BBC Radio 4 series, Cabin Pressure. He will be part of the cast for the final ever episode, which will be a double-bill which airs on 23rd and 24th December at 6:30pm.

With the show titles running alphabetically (from the first ever episode ‘Abu Dhabi’), this double finale will be called ‘Zurich’. Publicity for the last episodes describes the storyline as follows: “All of the MJN staff have big decisions to make.” Rumour has it that Dan plays two characters.

For the uninitiated, the main cast features Stephanie Cole as Carolyn Knapp-Shappey; Roger Allam as 1st Office Douglas Richardson; Benedict Cumberbatch as Capt. Martin Crieff and writer John Finnemore as Arthur Shappey. Besides Dan, other special guests for the finale include Anthony Head, Timothy West, Matilda Ziegler, Gordon Kennedy and Jonathan Kydd.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of BBC Radio 4 said of the show: “John Finnemore and his star cast have won our hearts with Cabin Pressure. Alas this is the final flight but we are delighted to bring it to you at Christmas.”

The Jazz Men

28 Nov

A couple of years ago we found ourselves a tad flustered when we heard that Julian Barratt has made a surprise appearance on stage with Tenacious D at their Hammersmith Apollo gig. At the time all we had by way of evidence were a couple of blurry photos and videos.

Today some new footage has been published by Peter Kyriacou, which shows what happened from back stage and front of stage – so we can have a proper look at their freeform performance of ‘Simply Jazz’. Finally!

Although it make you hanker for more live Barratt, it’s splendid to see nevertheless. Take a look below…

Chris Morris Radio Retrospective

23 Nov

© cookdandbombd

Next Saturday the BBC will broadcast a three-hour tribute programme devoted to the radio work of new wave comedy pioneer, Chris Morris. ‘Raw Meat Radio’ will look back at Morris’ radio career, and will include rarely-heard archive material

Mary Anne Hobbs (who we’ve been talking about a fair bit this weekend) will present the show, which airs on BBC 4Extra ay 7pm on 29th November.

It will feature contributions from Armando Iannucci, David Quantick, Peter Baynham, Matthew Bannister (who suspended Morris from Radio 1) and Morris’ biographer Lucian Randall, amongst others.

If you read TVO regularly, you’ll be familiar with Morris’s creative output, but for those of you who aren’t (what??), he’s probably best known for his work on spoof news programmes The Day Today and Brass Eye, during which he lured a host of celebrities into backing increasingly bizarre public awareness campaigns. He also worked with Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon on Jam, and appeared on IT Crowd as Denholm Reynholm. Behind the camera, he co-wrote the Channel 4 media satire Nathan Barley alongside Charlie Brooker, and wrote and directed the 2010 film Four Lions.

He has also produced an as-yet unheard audio comedy with Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade, set in an old people’s home. We live in hope of hearing it one day!

We’re sure that we speak on behalf of many of you when we say how delighted we are that 3 hours of radio airtime have been given in Morris’ honour. Don’t forget to tune in next Saturday!

Adventures in Ausland – Album Launch Party

23 Nov

James Cook will be celebrating the recent launch of his epic studio album Adventures in Ausland, with a Christmas shindig in north London. And you’re invited!

The launch party will be taking place at Aces & Eights in Tuffnell Park on 16th December, starting at 8pm. It will also be the pilot night of James’ new cabaret pop night ‘Outsiders’. Double win.

To get your mitts on advance £4 tickets for the evening,  head on over here, click on ‘James Cook Advance Live Tickets’ (and follow the instructions).

And to get you in the mood, check out the stunning video for his latest single, ‘Lilly (A Lover’s Dream)’ below:

 

Toast On Your Wall

22 Nov

© Smart Giant Media

Fans of Matt Berry‘s Toast of London can now express their love of the show on their vertical household surfaces. Graphic designer, Mick, of Smart Giant Media, has created a series of bold designs featuring key characters from the show.

There are 4 designs in total featuring: Steven Toast, Jane Plough, Clem Fandango and Ray Purchase. They vary in cost depending on the size of the print – from £20 for A4 to £60 for A1.  Or you can get the full set of four designs at A5 size for £50.

To buy one click here. And while you’re at it, why not take a look around? Smart Giant Media also has designs for Inside No. 9, another of the shows that we cover.

Don’t forget that you can see episode 4 of the new series of Toast on Channel 4 on Monday night. Or if you can’t wait that long, it’s on 4oD now!

Tony & Mary Talk About Their Friendship

16 Nov

© The Independent

Back in July we got rather excited about an event which was being co-hosted by Tony Law and the historian Mary Beard. An unexpected pairing, you have to admit. In today’s Independent, the two of them talk in more detail about their friendship.

It’s a rather lovely article, with Tony calling Mary “a hero of mine”, and Mary explaining how Tony saved her from internet trolls.

They also talk about what they learn from one another, with Mary recounting a time they discovered the possible presence of surreal humour in ancient Rome: “We did a radio programme together…and we talked about ancient jokes. He was particularly interested in whether you could say there was such a thing as surreal humour in the ancient world, and how could you know. There’s one joke: “A guy meets another down the street and says, ‘Hi! I thought you were dead!’ The man replies, ‘No. You can see I’m alive!’ And the guy says, ‘Yeah, but the person who told me you were dead is more reliable than you are.'” I saw it as showing uncertainty of identity in that period. But Tony made me see it as a bit of Roman surreal humour, too.”

To read the interview in full click here.

If that warmed your cockles, you can see the two friends at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 15th December as part of Robin Ince’s Ghost of Christmas Past; a night of comedy, music and talks about the last 4000 years of civilisation. Along with Tony and Mary, you can also see Phill Jupitus, Natalie Haynes, Joanna Neary, Josie Long, Steve Pretty’s Origin of the Pieces orchestra – and a host of guests yet to be named. For more information visit the theatre’s website.

Learn From The Experts

15 Nov

© comedy.co.uk

If you’ve ever fancied getting into comedy, get yourself along to the Big Comedy Conference, taking place in Clerkenwell, London on Saturday 29th November.

Organised by the British Comedy Guide, the conference  promises to give you an in on how to get on in TV and radio comedy writing, with practical advice from some of the biggest names in UK comedy. The line-up of speakers includes our very own Graham Linehan, as well as David Cohen (Horrible Histories), Andrew Allard (IT Crowd, Count Arthur Strong) – plus loads of non-Velvet Onion connected, but proper A-list, comedy writers. To see the full line-up click here.

Tickets cost £169 for the full day (9am-7pm), which includes lunch and a one-to-one session with an expert who will help you hone your own comedy project.  To register head on over here.

Julia Davis & Dan Clark Collaboration Gets The Green Light

11 Nov

© Alasdair McLellan/Knock2Bag

At The Velvet Onion we get particularly excited when the different artists that we write about join forces to create something new together. Morning Has Broken is one such project – featuring the talents of Julia Davis and Dan Clark.

Morning Has Broken is a sitcom written by and starring Davis, and directed by Clark. Back in April we reported that the 45-minute pilot episode was in production, but there was no news about a likely full series. When we spoke to Dan during the summer he wasn’t even sure if we’d ever get to see it. Thankfully, on the strength of the pilot Channel 4 have decided to commission a full 6-part series!

The series follows the story of Gail Sinclair (Davis), the star of daily television programme, Good Morning… with Gail Sinclair. After eight years of high ratings and awards, the show featuring ‘The Queen of Daytime’ starts to lose viewers and tensions build within the production team.

Producers of the show have said: “It’s a show less about the making of television and more about the relationships between a group of co-workers who, everyday, are under the immense pressure to deliver topical, meaningful content in the world of current affairs, lifestyle, medical issues and showbiz.”

The series is planned to air on Channel 4 in 2015 – and we’ll be bringing you more news as we have it!

A Toast To The Nominees (Sorry)

10 Nov

There are a fair few TVO-connected nominees in the just-announced shortlists for this year’s British Comedy Awards, including eight for Matt Berry and Toast Of London!

Matt’s sitcom has been shortlisted for best sitcom, best new comedy programme and best comedy moment of the year. And Matt himself has been shortlisted for best TV comedy actor and – bizarrely, given how long he’s been making us laugh – for best breakthrough artist! He also has a nomination in the new internet comedy short category for his Lone Wolf sketch:

Other TVO-related nominees include Horrible Histories for best sketch show; House of Fools, Moone Boy and  The Trip to Italy for best sitcom; Inside No 9  for best comedy drama and best new comedy programme; Aisling Bea for best female TV comic; and finally, Katherine Parkinson for best TV comedy actress.

Brett Domino Trio (a firm favourite at Rich Fulcher‘s Fulchfest a few years ago) also get a nomination for best comedy short, for their film ‘How to Make a Hit Pop Song’. There are a few obvious omissions, in our eyes – but perhaps those particular shows’ inability to be be categorised has flummoxed the shortlisting process?

The full list of nominees is shown below. The ceremony will be hosted by Jonathan Ross and televised on Channel 4 on December 16th.

Best Sitcom
House of Fools
Moone Boy
The Trip to Italy
Toast Of London

Best Comedy Drama
Inside No. 9
Rev
The Wrong Mans
Uncle

Best New Comedy Programme
Inside No. 9
Man Down
The Wrong Mans
Toast Of London

Best International Comedy Programme
Girls
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Modern Family
Veep

Best Internet Comedy Short
Brand New Morph
Carpark
How To Make A Hit Pop Song
Matt Berry: The Lone Wolf

Best Comedy Film
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Pride
The Inbetweeners 2
The Lego Movie

Best Comedy Moment of 2014
8 Out 10 Cats Does Countdown
Harry & Paul Story of the Two’s
Monty Python Live (mostly)
Toast of London
Would I Lie To You

Best Male Television Comic
David Mitchell
Lee Mack
Sean Lock
Stewart Lee

Best FemaleTelevision Comic
Aisling Bea
Bridget Christie
Isy Suttie
Nina Conti

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist
Harry Peacock
Joe Wilkinson
Matt Berry
Nick Helm

Best TV Comedy Actor
Harry Enfield
Matt Berry
Mathew Baynton
Paul Whitehouse

Best TV Comedy Actress
Doon Mackichan
Jessica Hynes
Katherine Parkinson
Zawe Ashton

Smiley Says

9 Nov

© Zimbio

Michael Smiley has been in more TVO-connected films, TV shows, and even music videos, than you can shake a stick at. He brings a particular type of menace to the screen, whether victimising mushroom heads in A Field In England or robbing banks while Blue Song plays. So it’s nice to come across an in-depth video with the man himself, in which he discusses his entire career.

Smiley was recently interviewed by Moviehooker, a blog that recommends movies to people. It’s a comprehensive, candid piece and well earth a read if you want to familiarise yourself with everything that Smiley has done.

The interview runs the gamut from his early says of stand up in Northern Ireland, via his time working with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, right up to date with his latest feature film with Ben Wheatley, Free Fire (currently in pre-production).

When asked about his career highlights, Smiley says: “I’m very proud of my plays that I did in the 90s. But I’d say my highlight for me was winning the BIFTA Award for Kill List. That was a major highlight of my life. Nothing would have come close to that. I was in a room with incredibly well known and incredibly talented people. I was on a list with Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and Eddie Marsan, then they called my name out!…When my name was called out, there was a roar, it was like I went deaf, it was like that scene in fucking Goodfellas when he’s taking her to the restaurant – people moving out of your way, just going up to the podium.”

Awesome stuff! To read the interview in full click here.

Ayoade On Day For Night

6 Nov

© Newport Film

Richard Ayoade will be appearing at The Guardian Film Club this Sunday at the Ritzy in Brixton, London.

The Guardian Film Club offers an opportunity to hear some of today’s film makers talk about their work and the films that have influenced them, and to revisit a classic of modern cinema. Each guest curates a film of their choice and takes part in a Q&A hosted by a member of the Guardian Film team, followed by a screening of the film.

Richard will be introducing François Truffaut’s ‘Day for Night’, a film about film making, which won the 1973 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. He will be answering questions and chatting to Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw.

The event takes place at 4pm on Sunday 9th November; tickets are priced as follows: full price £15 / Members £12 / Concessions £13, and can be purchased here.

Toast Talks

2 Nov

© Channel 4

The eagerly-anticipated second series of Toast of London, starring Matt Berry as the washed-up thesp, begins on Channel 4 tomorrow night. As such, this weekend’s online and printed media have been awash with Toast-related interviews – both with Matt, and with Steven Toast.

To make your lives just a wee bit easier, here are a few that we’ve come across this weekend…

First up there’s this interview with the British Comedy Guide which came out today. Then, there are a couple of Steven Toast pieces with The Guardian: this one where Toast picks his favourite acting greats, and this one from yesterday’s Guardian Guide where he bears his soul.

Matt talks to The Independent here and Telegraph there. Then he talks a bit more to The List.

If that little lot has whetted your appetite, don’t forget to tune into the new series tomorrow at 10.35pm. Our only wish is that Channel 4 would release some new publicity photos…

Tony Way To Appear In New Matt Lucas Comedy

30 Oct

© imdb

Tony Way has been confirmed as one of the cast in the forthcoming new comedy Pompidou. It will be broadcast on BBC One in 2015, and will be launched exclusively in the US via Neflix (in Netflix’s first investment in an original comedy from outside of the US).

The series is co-directed by and stars Matt Lucas as Pompidou, an elderly aristocrat who has fallen on hard times; Alex MacQueen (The Thick Of It) plays his long-suffering butler. The six-part series is largely dialogue-free, along the lines of Mr Bean.

Way plays the part of Merrick. For the full details of cast and crew click on this.

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