Archive by Author

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.

New Dates Added To Noel Fielding’s UK Tour

27 Oct

© Noel Fielding / Dave Brown

The hard-to-please critics have been overwhelmingly positive and the fans have been loving it! Just one week into Noel Fielding’s UK tour and it’s been announced that it’s been extended into 2015!

An Evening With Noel Fielding, which features Noel, Tom Meeten and Mike Fielding in a kaleidoscopic stage show of mind-bending stand up, sketches and animation, will be seen in nineteen new towns and cities including Milton Keynes, Margate, Croydon, Bromley, Northampton, Scunthorpe, Salford, Scarborough, Carlisle, Wimbledon, Swansea, Woking, Aylesbury, Oxford, Tunbridge Wells and Basingstoke, as well as three new dates in Scotland in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The full list of extra venues is shown below:

29/01/2015 MILTON KEYNES Milton Keynes Theatre 8.00pm 0844 871 7652
30/01/2015 MARGATE Winter Gardens 8.00pm 01843 292 795
31/01/2015 CROYDON Fairfield Halls 8.00pm 0208 688 9291
01/02/2015 BROMLEY Churchill Theatre 7.30pm 0844 871 7620
03/02/2015 NORTHAMPTON Derngate 8.00pm 01604 624 811
04/02/2015 SCUNTHORPE Bath Halls 8.00pm 0844 854 2776
05/02/2015 SALFORD Lowry 7.30pm 0843 208 6000
06/02/2015 SCARBROUGH Spa 8.00pm 01723 821 888
08/02/2015 GLASGOW Kings Theatre 7.30pm 0844 871 7627
09/02/2015 ABERDEEN Music Hall 8.00pm 01224 641 122
10/02/2015 EDINBURGH  EICC 8.00pm 0131 300 3000
13/02/2015 CARLISLE The Sands Centre 8.00pm 01228 633 766
15/02/2015 WIMBLEDON Wimbledon Theatre 7.30pm 0844 871 7646
16/02/2015 SWANSEA Grand 8.00pm 01792 475 715
17/02/2015 WOKING New Victoria Theatre 8.00pm 0844 871 7645
18/02/2015 AYLESBURY Waterside theatre 8.00pm 0844 871 7607
22/02/2015 OXFORD Apollo 7.30pm 0844 871 3020
23/02/2015 TUNBRIDGE WELLS Assembly Rooms 8.00pm 01892 530 613
24/02/2015 BASINGSTOKE Anvil 8.00pm

01256 844 244

Tickets for the new dates will cost £25 and go on general sale at 9am on Friday 31st October 2014. You can buy them from Ticketmaster and Seetickets.

Don’t forget that there are still a few tickets available for the shows which are taking place before the end of the year.

We suspect that a few of our overseas readers will be hoping that Noel’s tour will be heading further afield soon. Unfortunately we don’t know anything concrete about his future touring plans; earlier this year Noel mentioned that he’d like to bring the show to Australia, but nothing has been confirmed since then. If we hear anything, rest assured you’ll be the first to know.

Steve Oram Tells Us How

26 Oct

© aceshowbiz

Steve Oram will be one of the speakers at this week’s Cofilmic Festival, which takes place in Manchester on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th October 2014.

A number of reasonably priced workshops and panels have been organised over the two days of the Festival, which are likely to be of interest to comedy writers, performers, producers and directors.

Steve will be speaking at the session ‘Script to Screen: Feature Films’, which takes place at the Comedy Store in Manchester on Wednesday 29th at 17:30. Tickets are £5/£3 and can be procured here. He will be talking about the making of Sightseers, which he co-write and starred with Alice Lowe.

Other guests at the talk include Celine Coulson from Film 4 and Kristian Brodie from Agile Films who will explain how they work with new and emerging comedy feature film makers.

To see the full programme of events across the two days visit the Festival website.

Smiley And The Black Sea

23 Oct

A new film, Black Sea, featuring Michael Smiley amongst its cast, will be hitting cinema screens on 5th December.

The film stars Jude Law (with suspect Scottish accent) as a rogue submarine captain who pulls together a misfit crew to go after a sunken treasure, rumoured to be lost in the depths of the Black Sea. Soon greed and desperation take control on board the claustrophobic vessel, and the increasing uncertainty of the mission causes the men to turn on each other to fight for their own survival. Smilie plays the part of crew member Reynolds.

The screenplay was written by Dennis Kelly, creator of the cult Channel 4 series Utopia, which also included Smilie in its cast, as well as TVO chaps Dan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby (briefly).

Early reviews of Black Sea have been pretty positive; you can watch the first official trailer below:

21st Century Boy

16 Oct

© Noel Fielding

With his UK tour a mere 4 days away (getting excited yet?), Noel Fielding has been busy embracing social media by setting up an Instagram.

Noel’s shiny new Instagram will be used to document the tour, giving fans an opportunity to see what really goes on, both off and on stage. Noel will be updating it himself, along with a handful of people on the team. The intention is for it to be updated daily – it’s almost as good as being on the tour bus yourself! Follow @paulpanfergrams to keep on top of what’s going down.

There are also plans for an official Facebook – coming soon. And there’s now an official Luxury Comedy website, which features links to Luxury merch (Remember how that merch site disappeared a while ago and made us all sad? Well, it’s back!).

The website (which you can see a screen cap of below) currently features a bunch of Luxury-related videos, with new content still to be created and added. Film maker Joe Lynn will be creating short teaser videos on the tour, which will be uploaded as they go along. Who knows, if you spot Joe with his camera, and behave nicely, you might end up in one yourself! Click here to visit the website and admire the pretty view.

Exciting times, eh? We’ll update you as and when there’s more to report!

P.S. Fans of the Fielding may be interested to know that he was on Absolute Radio this evening. You can listen to it here.

Dolly Does It Again (With Em)

15 Oct

© Sky Living

We LOVED Doll & Em at TVO; and we’re particularly excited that a second series has been confirmed!

The highly personal comedy drama, penned by and starring Dolly Wells and her real-life friend Emily Mortimer, originally aired on Sky Living in February.

In the show, Emily plays a successful, if insecure, Hollywood star, with Dolly as her somewhat naive friend…and assistant.  It provided an uncomfortably honest, but hilarious perspective on female friendship. It also included some brilliant A-lister cameos, including Bradley Cooper and Susan Sarandon!

Sky Living Channel Director Antonia Hurford-Jones said: “I am extremely pleased to be able to confirm that Doll & Em will be returning to Sky Living next year. I’m so proud to have such an outstanding series on the channel. The extraordinarily smart, brilliantly funny way Dolly and Emily bring the universal theme of female friendship alive makes it the perfect series for Living. I hope our customers are as excited as I am about series 2.”

Whether series 2 passes the Bechdel Test as effectively as the first series remains to be seen (but we suspect it will!).

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat to Dolly about the show and how the first series came about; to read our interview click here.

Of Mice And Men Screenings

14 Oct

The Broadway performance of  Of Mice and Men, starring Chris O’Dowd and James Franco, is going to be broadcast onto cinema screens around the world.

This recent revival of Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck’s play received rave reviews, and unless you managed to bag yourself a ticket for the theatrical performances in NY, this is the closest most of us will get to experiencing it ourselves.

International cinema screenings will start taking place from 6th November. For information of where they are happening click on this (you can also read a bunch of reviews on the same page, in case you were in any doubt about how good it is). UK screenings of the production won’t take place at the same time as international screenings, and will be confirmed in the coming months. Sign up for email updates to be the first to hear about screening dates.

Moss & Roy Reunite In The Name Of Technology

11 Oct

© Channel 4

We can only apologise that something this interesting managed to pass us by – until one of our eagle-eared team recognised a couple of familiar voices in an ad break last night.

The UK version of new iPhone 6 TV advert features the voices of none other than IT Crowd‘s Moss and Roy (sometimes known as Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd). Although the ad itself isn’t anything to write home about, the fact that these two are together again – for something tech-related – is making us rather excited!

A big thank you to Amanda Robertson for helping us track it down online. The US version is everywhere, but the UK adaptation has been keeping a low profile. Thanks to Amanda, you can click here to watch it.

Wear Your Favourite Film

11 Oct

© Last Exit to Nowhere

Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of seeing a few of the people that we write about appearing in some pretty awesome films. But what’s been missing until now is the ability to wear creative interpretations of those films emblazoned across our chests. Not any more…

Last Exit to Nowhere is a small collective of film enthusiasts and creative designers. They  collaborate to create unique hand screen printed T-shirts that pay homage to memorable places and characters in cinema history. And we’ve uncovered some great designs with a TVO flavour:

A personal favourite is this design on above (awesomely titled “Death has a ginger beard”), which pays homage to Ben Wheatley‘s Sightseers (written by and featuring Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, just in case it’s managed to pass you by). It’s available in regular and slim fit for £20 by clicking here.

You can also have the pleasure of wearing another Wheatley-directed film on your body, in the guise of this A Field In England t-shirt, also £20. Or a Hot Fuzz-inspired design like this ‘Neighbourhood Watch Alliance’ design.

If you needed any further TV-connected reason to pay the site a visit, Chris O’Dowd fans can also express their love of Cuban Fury by donning this El Corazon Cuban Salsa Dance Club tee for the princely sum of £20.

 There are a ton of other cool designs too – including mugs and posters…so get in!

Me, My Selfie & I In LA

10 Oct

© Dave Brown

Dan Clark is bringing his recent Edinburgh show, Me My Selfie & I to the US. He will be perfuming a one-off gig at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in LA.

For those of you who are more familiar with Dan through the TV show How Not To Live Your Life, be warned – at 38 years old he’s finally growing up (sort of). Expect a little more introspection and few less knob gags than before, but lots of wit, charm and a bit of edge.

Here’s what a couple of reviewers had to say about the show, and here’s what Dan told us about it when we spoke to him.

The gig takes place at 8pm PDT on Thursday 16th October, and tickets are an incredibly reasonable $5.

To find out more and to book your tickets click here.

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