Archive by Author

Eldon in Hancock Remake

18 Apr

Kevin Eldon is one of the artists set to feature in a remake of Hancock’s Half Hour, the iconic radio show from the 1950s.

© BBC

BBC Radio 4 will be recreating lost episodes of the show, with a new cast which includes Pirates of the Caribbean actor Kevin McNally in the title role originally played by Tony Hancock. ‘The Missing Hancocks’ will also include actors Simon Greenall and Robin Sebastian, alongside Eldon.

The new recordings will consist of five of the 20 episodes missing from the BBC archives. They will be broadcast in November to mark the 60th anniversary of the show’s first transmission.

Hancock’s Half Hour was based on a fictionalised version of Tony Hancock’s life as a struggling comic and actor, and was originally broadcast on the BBC Home Service between 1954 and 1959. It was followed up by a TV version which ran for five years.

Series co-producer Neil Pearson has said of the series: “We will be re-creating as closely as possible the experience you would have had listening to your radio all those years ago. The scripts are perfect and timeless.”

In an accurate reflection of the original series, the new shows will be recorded in front of a live audience at BBC Radio Theatre and the BBC Concert Orchestra will be re-recording the theme tune.

However, Kevin Eldon fans don’t need to wait until November’s radio broadcast to see him in action! You should be able to catch him gigging from time to time between now and then. He’s next on stage on Saturday 26th April as part of the line up at the Duchess Theatre, alongside Josie Long and Bridget Christie. Tickets are £18/20 and further information about the night is available here.

Berry Tour Tees For Sale

18 Apr

© Acid Jazz

The Kill The Wolf tshirts which were exclusively available on Matt Berry‘s Spring tour are now for sale through the Acid Jazz Shop. You’ll have to be quick, however, because these are the last few remaining, and there’s limited availability of certain sizes.

The 100% cotton tshirts, which feature Matt’s face in a mountainous pose, are available in red and olive green and cost £10 each.

To procure yours, visit Acid Jazz’s shop here.

New Julia Davis & Dan Clark Project

18 Apr

© Sutton Guardian

Following hot on the heels of the award-winning Hunderby, Julia Davis has been working on a new pilot for Channel 4.

Morning Has Broken follows the story of Gail Sinclair, 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.

Morning Has Broken has been written by and will star Davis, and the 45-minute pilot episode (which will be filmed in London next month) will be directed by none other than Dan Clark!

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.”

If the pilot episode proves popular with the big cheeses at Channel 4, a full series should go into production later this year.

We’re seriously looking forwards to this one!

Museum Comedy Experience

15 Apr

© VisitLondon & Dave Brown

Fancy touring around a top London museum with a group of comedians and a few other likeminded individuals? Although it might sound like the stuff of fantasy, the ‘Roving Comedy Tour of The British Museum’ is actually happening in real life – and you can be part of it!

The activity has been organised and will be curated by Carl Arnheiter and Dave Hill of Fancy Meeting You Here, a roving comedy show that takes audiences on a tour of cultural landmarks.

Aside from the fact that it sounds brilliantly bonkers, our reason for writing about it here is that it features two TVO-connected comedy folk, in the shape of the very fabulous Tom Meeten and Harry Deansway. Also involved are John Kearns, Maeve Higgins and Lars Berrum. And what’s more it’s FREE!

It takes place on Friday 25th April and runs from 6.30/7-11.30pm. If you’re interested in participating, email the organiser at fmyhcomedy@gmail.com to make a reservation. And for more information take a look at this.  Awesome stuff!

Bachman To Feature In Scandinavian Film

14 Apr

James Bachman will be appearing in a new Norwegian feature film by director Jan Vardoen, called ‘Heart of Lightness’.

The movie is an adaption of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Lady From The Sea’. It follows the story of a group of British actors, who arrive in the Arctic Circle to perform in a film adaptation of the play; however, they have never been to Norway before and have no idea that the sun won’t set for the next month. Bachman plays the part of Max Buchanan.

The film will receive its World Premiere at the Colosseum Kino in Oslo on 28th May 2014, and will open throughout Norway 30th May. For information about international screenings please check out your local cinema listings. In the meantime, here’s the trailer to whet your appetite:

For updates on the Heart of Lightness, including photos and interviews with the cast and crew, take a look at the film’s Facebook page.

Don’t Forget Derek

5 Apr

We suspect that Ricky Gervais isn’t too reliant on any publicity that we can give him, but we wanted to remind you to tune into the second series of Derek to see two TVO faces.

Colin Hoult and Tony Way both appear in the new series, which starts on Channel 4 on 23rd April (UK) and then on Netflix on 30th of May for the rest of the world. In fact you can briefly see Colin if you watch this series 2 trailer very carefully:

Gervais has said of the new series, “Personally, I think it’s better than the first series, but you’ll be the judge of that”, so why not tune in and see for yourself?

 

 

Experiment At The Invisisble Dot

5 Apr

© The Invisible Dot

Strap in, because there’s going to be a wave of TVO-connected artists appearing at The Invisible Dot over he next few months!

 ‘Experiments’ is a new series of monthly  shows that sees a collection of established performers come together to comedically experiment.

Here’s the confirmed line-up for reach show so far, with ‘our lot’ helpfully highlighted in bold type:

13 April: LUCY BEAUMONT, DAVID MILLS, BENJAMIN PARTRIDGE, HOT BREW & more
18 May: WHELAN, DAVID REED, LYNDSAY SHARMAN, KEVIN ELDON, MATTHEW CROSBY & more
15 June: BRIDGET CHRISTIE, PAT CAHILL, HARRY DEANSWAY, ELLIE WHITE, LOLLY ADEFOPE, & more.

Although, strictly speaking, Harry Deansway isn’t one of ours, he’s a top bloke and has hosted a myriad of comedy nights for TVO folk over the years – so do check him out!

Tickets for each show cost £8 and the gigs start at 7pm. For more information and to book tickets visit The Invisible Dot’s website.

Check out Hot Brew’s appearance at TVO Live (they are awesome. Fact):

Partridge Sequel & More!

5 Apr

© Baby Cow

A second Alan Partridge feature film has been announced, in the wake of last year’s successful debut, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

Furthermore, Steve Coogan will also be playing the fictional radio DJ for a second series of Mid Morning Matters on Sky Atlantic. And there are also rumours of a new Partridge special, a spoof of the BBC documentary series Coast, in which Alan will be taking a look at Norfolk’s coastline (where else?).

Henry Normal, who co-owns Baby Cow Productions with Coogan, has said that they are writing new Partridge content now with a view to releasing it at the end of the summer. The movie looks like it could be released next year.

If you haven’t seen the debut Partridge feature yet, don’t forget that you can still buy Alpha Papa at The Velvet Onion amazon store on Blu-ray(£10.99) and DVD (£7).

Tripping Tomorrow With Coogan & Brydon

3 Apr

© BBC

The Trip 2, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as version of themselves, starts tomorrow at 10pm on BBC2. The second series of the dining-themed travelogue comedy series places the duo in Italy, as they trace the footsteps of Byron and Shelley.

Brydon was interviewed about the show in today’s Shortlist, in which he discussed how the friendship between the characters on screen differs from Coogan and his real life relationship (and how it doesn’t!), his thoughts on a possible third series, and – of course – the competitive impressions which became such a hit in Series 1.

Brydon explains that he’s even been asked to perform the impressions in front of the people who he and Coogan have mimicked, saying: “If Anthony Hopkins asks you to do Michael Caine, you do Michael Caine. I actually got an email from Michael Caine after the first series, telling me he enjoyed my impressions of him.”

By way of illustration, here’s a clip of the pair going full throttle on their Michael Caine impressions in the new series:

To read the interview in full click here. And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night!

Making Doll & Em

2 Apr

© Pop Matters

Director and co-writer of Doll & Em, Azazel Jacobs, was interviewed this week by Pop Matters about his work on the series, which completed its run on Sky Living last week.

In the article Jacobs talks about how he first got to know Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer, how the writing and directing process worked on Doll & Em, and why he chose to make the show and TV series rather than a film.

As he explains: “First off, I was watching TV being handled the same way as movies, with the same director, but also with the same intentions, same ability to go from dark to light…But I also wanted to take advantage of doing slices, instead of like on a film where you have to have transitions from one scene to another.”

Jacobs also talks about the dynamic between the two co-stars, echoing what Dolly said to us in our interview with her a few weeks ago, by saying: “I really wanted it to be called Doll & Em, because I wanted to credit their friendship, the friendship that allowed them to do things like this. I think in order to do things like these, the relationship has to be very healthy.”

To read the interview in full visit Pop Matters here.

Psychobitches Returns

1 Apr

© Sky Arts HD

Filming has started on a second series of Sky’s Psychobitches, the sketch show which has starred a few TVO artists from the fairer sex, including Katy Brand, Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan.

The show puts history’s most iconic women into the psychiatrist’s chair to have their psychoses and obsessions analysed. It will return for six new episodes later this year. Sky have said of the show’s return: “Following the success of the first series, the therapy sessions in front of discerning therapist Rebecca Front are set to continue as the appointment diary looks as booked up as ever.”

Executive Producer Ben Cavey added: “It’s fantastic to bring the team back together for Series 2 of Psychobitches. We have a whole new line up of women from history getting a dose of modern day therapy and the results promise to be just as clever, insightful and downright silly.” The final line up for series 2 hasn’t been confirmed, but we hope to see a few familiar faces.

The new series is being directed by Jeremy Dyson from The League Of Gentleman, and it will air later this year on Sky Arts 1.

A Gentle Man: Interview With Richard Ayoade

31 Mar

As you’ve probably noticed if you’re a regular reader of The Velvet Onion, we’ve been making quite a fuss about The Double, the new feature film from Richard Ayoade. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to meet the man himself, to talk to him about his latest film and to find out why he’s glad that it hasn’t yet been compared to ‘Nutty Profressor 2′. Velveteer Mog reports:

© Michael Leckie

The real Richard Ayoade is something of a surprise. Prettier, younger and slimmer than he looks on TV, the initial impression is more hipster than geek. He’s also quite possibly the best-dressed person I’ve ever been in the same room as; a peeping sliver of lemon sock perfectly matches the colour of a butterfly’s wings in the pattern on his shirt.

His answers to questions are similarly considered. Polite, softly-spoken and humble, the word that probably best describes Richard Ayoade is “careful”. Not the bad sort of careful that implies control freakery, but the decent sort that means “full of care”. The sort of careful that matches socks to butterfly wings.

He’s here to talk about his new film The Double, his wonderfully idiosyncratic adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novella, which stars Jesse Eisenberg in dual roles: as the downtrodden Simon James and the charismatic James Simon. Co-written with Avi Korine, Ayoade was first sent the script in 2007; the film was shot in 2012 and is released in the UK this week, so it’s been a long time in development. What attracted him to the project in the first place? “I thought the premise was really unique and interesting; the idea of a double that no one else notices.” He says.

However, translating a complex story like The Double into celluloid comes with its own challenges; Ayoade notes that films of books can often end up as a diminished version of the original printed form. So how did he compensate for that? “In the book you have a great deal of psychological insight into the characters, so [in the film] you have to create visual moments to bring that to life,” He explains. “You have to think of things that will illustrate their personality, even though those things aren’t in the book, and even though they take the story in a different direction.”

© Studio Canal

This is one of the reasons why he weaved a love story into the spine of the film, feeling that it presented a more believable catalyst for the emotional unraveling of the central character, Simon, than the loss of his status at work (which he experiences in the book) would. “While I relate to him as a character and to his disintegration, I don’t know that anyone feels that way about work.” He pauses, then adds apologetically, “I could be wrong, because I don’t have a proper job, but it doesn’t feel as important as not being recognised by someone who you love.”

Continue reading

Dead Rappers Society Latest

31 Mar

Film maker Ben Gregor has created an awesome new video for DRS (Dead Rappers Society).

DRS is an organisation that helps at-risk young people express themselves through song-writing and music videos. It was founded by Ben and Geoffrey Okol, and currently operates in the UK, South Africa, Canada and the US. The video below is for DRS South Africa:

Ben has said of the scheme: “DRS is my way of giving back to hip-hop, and it’s becoming the love of my life.” To find out more about DRS pay a visit to their website.

And to follow what else Ben’s up to, why not follow him on twitter?

 

Monumentally Smiley

30 Mar

© BBC

Last year we announced that free audience tickets were available to see Michael Smiley as a panelist on Series 2 of Monumental, the feel-good BBC One Northern Ireland comedy panel series that celebrates all that’s weird and wonderful about Northern Ireland.

However, because none of us actually live in Northern Ireland, the airing of the second series somehow managed to pass us by! Please accept our sincerest apologies.

All is not lost, however, because clips from the show and the most recent episode of the series (which is a highlights show) are still available to watch via the BBC – and luckily, not just to those of you who live in Northern Ireland.

Monumental is hosted by antipodean comedian Jarred Christmas, and each show features regular teams – Jimeoin/Andrew Maxwell and Michael Smiley/Micky Bartlett, plus two personalities from the world of comedy and entertainment.

To find out more about the show visit the BBC’s website here.

Own Part Of A Movie

27 Mar

We enjoy being the bearer of news for you lovely lot via this here website, but we feel a special kind of joy when we discover something random and just a bit ridiculous that we can share with you!

© Prop Store

May we introduce you to Prop Store, a website that offers a whole array of weird and wonderful prop from films and TV shows, some of them TVO-related! The only downside is that some of them are on the (very) expensive side, but for a piece of one-off authentic film memorabilia, perhaps they’re worth saving up for.

First off, take a look at the item above. It’s the rocket launcher from Four Lions which was used by Omar in Pakistan at a terrorist training camp. He misfires this particular rocket and kills his follow terrorists in the process. Somewhat bizarrely, due to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, the item is only for sale to people who reside outside the UK. If that’s you, the rocket launcher can be yours for the princely sum of £595/$809. For more information click here.

There are also some lovely newspaper props from Bunny & The Bull (plus a script for just £20!), Chris O’Dowd‘s name tag from Bridesmaids,  and a whole range of props from The Boat That Rocked. If you spend a bit more time snooping around, you’ll probably find more.

Enjoy – and start saving!

TVO Film Review: The Double

24 Mar

Richard Ayaode‘s second feature film, The Double, based on Dostoevsky’s 1846 novella of the same name, will be released in the UK at the end of this month. So what’s it like, and how does it compare to his directorial debut, Submarine? See what our reviewer, Mog, had to say: 

© Studio Canal

From its appearances at various Film Festivals during the past few months, reviews of Richard Ayoade‘s latest feature, The Double, aren’t hard to find. Across the board, they’re consistent in their high praise of Ayoade’s fastidious attention to detail, the richly claustrophobic set design, and the sharp filmic intellect that underpins it.

One point that all the reviewers seem to agree on is the extensive list of high-end cinematic influences discernible in the finished film. It’s this final point that would irk me if I was in Ayoade’s shoes. The Double has been variously described in terms of its stylistic closeness to Gilliam, Gondry, the Coen brothers, Welles, Godard, Lynch, Andersson and Kaurismaki. All fine directors, but it’s a shame to define a film as interesting as The Double by the other films it reminds the critic of.

In case the early murmurings about Ayoade’s latest project have passed you by, here’s what you need to know about the story:

The action revolves around a meek and downtrodden  office clerk whose life is turned upside down by the surprise appearance of his confident, aggressive doppelgänger (both parts are played, brilliantly, by Jesse Eisenberg in the film). It’s an odd premise which plays out peculiarly across its 93 minutes – particularly for audiences who are more used to neat narrative conclusions.

Ayoade’s film leaves as many questions unanswered as the book on which it’s based does: we’re never too sure what’s real and what’s not, a sensation underscored by the fantasy netherworld in which it’s set: part sci-fi/part retro, it establishes a version of (un)reality in which one doesn’t question the bizarre goings-on as much as you would if it inhabited a world you recognised.

© Studio Canal

Furthermore, the beautifully nuanced performances of the main cast, in the form of Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, help to lend authenticity and humanity to a story at risk of caricature in less capable acting hands. In fact it’s the dynamic between these two (three?) characters that gives The Double its heart, something which seems to have been overlooked by many of the reviewers out there. This is a love story first and foremost; Simon’s actions towards his neighbour and co-worker, Hannah, are achingly and heart-breakingly romantic.

© Studio Canal

The Double is a very different beast to Ayoade’s debut feature Submarine, which was airily joyful from start to finish. If I’m honest, I probably didn’t enjoy The Double as much as I did Submarine, which is not to say that it’s a less good or less interesting film. It certainly tumbles around the brain for longer.

I’m not sure that The Double is a film to enjoy – it’s too uncomfortable. There are moments of genuine humour – this is Ayoade afterall (scenes with Chris Morris and Sally Hawkins are particularly funny), but for the most part we perceive what’s going on through Simon’s experiences, and we feel his pain acutely.

The Double is a fascinating and clever film. It’s also beautifully-shot and well-acted. But it’s not an easy film to watch; it’s awkward, dark and ultimately inconclusive. Well worth subjecting yourself to.

The Double is on general release in UK cinemas from 31st March, with selected preview screenings on 27th March. Here, for your perusal, is the latest trailer and a short clip from the film (below). And look out for our interview with director, Richard Ayoade, next week!

Unnatural Comedy Online

24 Mar

© Unnatural Acts

All decent proper fans of Boosh will be aware of Unnatural Acts, the late 90′s sketch show featuring a few Boosh members that was something of a precursor to the Mighty one.

What you may not be aware of, however, is the existence of a new Unnatural Acts youtube channel, which claims to be the “Home of some of the most subversive and innovative comedy acts in Britain…showcasing exclusive never-before-seen footage of comics and material considered too edgy for television.”

They premier a new sketch every Monday at 3pm that shows established acts (like members of The Mighty Boosh) as you’ve never seen them before.

Every Wednesday at 3pm they bring you extreme hidden camera stunts and experimental formats that push the limits of what television can show.

Although the content isn’t exclusively TVO-connected, a lot of it is. For instance, this afternoon’s sketch featured a youthful Noel Fielding snogging a deer (not a goat), and last week he could be found looking at Julian Barratt‘s balls:

There are also videos on there from Rich Fulcher (as Eleanor) and Kim Noble (doing fabulous things to Ikea furniture). To see more, visit Unnatural Acts’ youtube channel or follow them on twitter.

Foot On The Box This Weekend (& More)

20 Mar

© Mog

Paul Foot will be part of the TV line up this Saturday evening on Comedy Central UK.

Paul will be appearing on ‘Comedy Central At Just for Laughs’, which will be broadcast at 10pm. The brand new show, filmed at the Montreal Comedy Festival and exclusive to Comedy Central, also features Russell Howard, Eddie Izzard, Bo Burnham and Katherine Ryan.

Comedy Central is available on Sky Channel 112 and Virgin Channel 132. For more information check out their website.

Paul has also recently announced that tickets for this year’s Secret Edinburgh Previews are now on sale. They will take place in May in a Secret London location and will be the first chance to see his brand new show. You can purchase tickets in the the Guild Lodge. (Password is “hobbyhorse”).

The new show will be called Paul Foot’s Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major, and Paul will be taking it around the UK and Australia during the next 12 months.

Kim Noble, Euro Rover

20 Mar

© Kim Noble

Back in the dawn of 2014 we were excited to report that Kim Noble would be performing his one man show You Are Not Alone in a handful of European cities in January and February. Now he has extended his mini-tour to a few more locations!

You can now catch Kim in Geneva on 26/27th April at Theatre de L’Usine, in Bern on 11/12th May at Theatertreffen and his Manheim date at Theatre De Welt has now been confirmed for 29/30th May. For more information and/or to purchase tickets (if available) click on the relevant link in the previous sentence. Easy!

If you’re not able to gad about anywhere as exotic as that, you can still see Mr Noble’s short film Pigeon at the FlatPack Film Festival in Birmingham on 30th March.

 

Chop Socky Chooks: Voices From TVO

18 Mar

If voicing animated characters is the new cool, then Paul Kaye and Shelley Longworth are some distance beyond the hipster zone.

Their voices are a regular fixture in all round weird TV show Chop Socky Chooks, a British/Canadian animated series co-produced by Aardman Animations. It currently airs on The Cartoon Network in the UK, and was a firm favourite of this writer’s kids between the ages of 6 and 8 years old. Although it’s been on our TV screens for a few years, it’s only now that we’ve spotted the involvement of two TVO folk. So worth flagging, we reckon!

Kaye plays the part of the villain, Dr. Wasabi, ruler of Wasabi World and  the main antagonist of the show. Longworth plays the part of Chick P, the leader of the good guys. Dr. Wasabi destroyed her home to build Wasabi World, so she’s not his biggest fan.

Take a look at the episodes below to see the characters in action – and rediscover your inner (pretty tripped out) child:


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