Archive by Author

An Early Look At Luxury 2

24 Jul

© Channel 4

Last week we were lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at the new series of Luxury Comedy. So without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect when it finally hits our screens on 31st July?

In interviews about the new series, Noel Fielding has been pretty open about his decision to move away from the sketch show format of series 1, towards a more narrative programme structure with a beginning, middle and an end to each episode. He says it’s because he’s a story-teller at heart, and it’s what he does best. This change of structure is certainly one of the most noticeable differences between the two series. So does it work?

Luxury Comedy is Noel’s stand up in visual form. That’s not to do it down; the fact that anyone has managed to capture the fantastical mayhem that goes on inside Fielding’s mind is impressive enough. Noel’s stand up material is at its best when allowed to slowly weave its shapes, layer upon layer, over a period of time. Stories unfold, characters evolve and concepts crystallise through repetition. By contrast, on the occasions I’ve seen him perform short slots on crowded comedy bills, his ideas don’t always have time to develop. This is not a man for the rat-tat-tat of machine-gun punchlines.

In the same way, expanding his TV ideas into 30-minute stories gives them proper form, allowing the viewer to step inside, appreciate their complexities and get carried along with the narrative. These are ideas rich enough for full episodes; and to reduce each of them to a sketch of a few minutes would underplay them. For me, then, the new format isn’t just about telling stories – it’s about telling strange stories much better.

© Channel 4

The different characters whom we encounter across the series are now part of each week’s story, which gives them purpose and makes the interaction between them feel genuine. The relationships between the characters are one of the aspects of the new series that gives the show its heart. This is no longer a disjointed collection of strange misfits; they’re friends, neighbours, and occasional enemies – as the story requires.

The friendship between the main four – Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth, allows for a solid dynamic at the centre of the action. The series 2 versions of the core team feel more ‘human’ and rounded, and as a result more sympathetic than before. Noel, in particular, presents a very different on-screen persona to anything we’ve seen from him previously: awkward, eager to please and uncool, he’s the Howard to Dolly’s preening Vince. Devoid of Howard Moon’s pomposity, however, this Noel is a character with whom we empathise, not just the one we laugh at.

Noel has said that he and Nigel spent longer writing the second series, and this comes across. I loved the first series, but there are more funnier moments in series 2 (based on the two episodes we saw). The writing’s sharp, the physical comedy is hilarious, and the characters are beautifully honed and gloriously wonky at the same time. Look out for star turns throughout from a whole host of TVO faces, including Richard Ayoade, Steve Oram, Dave Brown, Rich Fulcher, Arnab Chanda, Tania Wade, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Stuart Silver, Simon Farnaby and others.

© Channel 4

This series is arguably the most self-aware output that we’ve ever seen from Fielding, with a number of knowing references to the public reaction that series 1 generated. He’s said that it’s a natural reaction to criticism – you try to get in there first before anyone else does. And it works well in this context, tethering the strange Luxury world to our own experience from time to time (thereby making it more relateable), and imbuing the series with a large helping of humility which, one hopes, the cynics out there will respond positively to.

Added to all of that, Luxury Comedy is still a fabulous feast for the eyes: the distinctive day-glo sets, wardrobe, make-up and animation all combine to create a uniquely visual world. Huge credit to Nigel Coan and his production team for putting it all together; you can see that it’s a labour of love in every single scene.

So will the rest of the world like it? I hope so. If people enjoyed the Boosh and the naysayers can get over their disproportionately extreme reaction to series 1, they would like this. Genuinely funny, beautifully magical and full of heart – what’s not to love?

Don’t forget to tune in: Luxury Comedy series 2 airs at 10pm on E4 on 31st July. For the less patient amongst you, episode 1 is available to view from TODAY -  a whole week early, on 4oD here.

Join The Carnival Of Monsters

23 Jul

© Colin Hoult

Colin Hoult is recording a second radio series of Carnival of Monsters for BBC Radio 4, and you could be in the audience!

Colin will be recreating his unhinged netherworld of oddball characters at the iconic BBC Radio Theatre in London on 6th September and 4th October. To apply for audience tickets for both dates click here. Tickets are free but are limited to 2 per application. Attendees must be over 14.

Having been lucky enough to watch Colin rehearsing and recording some of the episodes from his first series last year, this comes thoroughly recommended. Watching Colin leap from character to character without a moment’s hesitation is a spectacle itself. Plus it’s as funny as it is clever.

Enter if you dare…

Farnaby On The Buses

21 Jul

© Comedy.co.uk

Simon Farnaby has lent his voice to a new Channel 5 series ‘On the Yorkshire Buses’.

The programme follows the men and women of East Yorkshire Motor Services as they try to keep Yorkshire moving. We see the firm face driver shortages, constant road works, a union dispute, a heat wave, stiff competition along its tourist routes and an air conditioning malfunction that causes meltdown in the control room. Dramatic stuff!

The series started in 11th July, and the first 2 episodes are available to view here (for episode 1, ‘Summer Holiday’) and there (for episode 2, ‘The Heat is On’).

You can catch this week’s programme, titled ‘Back to School’ at 8pm this Friday on Channel 5.

The previous factual TV show that carried Simon Farnaby’s narration (‘Richard III: The King in the Car Park’) picked up a top TV awards, so who knows – perhaps this one will be next?

Tony Law Laughs With Mary Beard

20 Jul

© The Poly & The Guardian

That’s not a headline we ever thought we’d write!  This Wednesday comedian Tony Law will be in conversation with the Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, Mary Beard, at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London.

It’s an event that sounds so gloriously bizarre, we’ve gone so far as to break with TVO tradition to publish two Tony Law articles in succession!

The pair will be discussing her latest book, Laughter in Ancient Rome, which explores one the intriguing subject of humour in history. Drawing on a wide range of Roman writing, it tracks down the humour of the ancient Romans themselves, from the hilarious, to the momentous, to the surprising.

The talk takes place at 7pm and is FREE. However, you need to register before arrival (for which you’ll require an Apple ID), and arrive early, because seating is limited. For more information about the venue, the talk and how to register, visit the Apple Store site.

From Pingu to Paddington

19 Jul

© Heyday Films/Studio Canal

No, not the cute plasticene penguin, but the one from Nathan Barley. Yes, Ben Whishaw has been confirmed to play the voice of Paddington Bear in Boosh director, Paul King’s new film about the bear from darkest Peru.

Wishaw has replaced Colin Firth in the main role, who left the film in June after saying he did not have the right voice for the character. Producer David Heyman said at the time that Paddington needed “a slightly more open, and younger, voice”.

Heyman said Firth had sensed early on in the production his voice did not suit the bear. “He was saying, ‘Are you sure I’m right?’ He was way ahead of us – Colin was brilliant, but his voice was, ultimately, too mature.”

After hearing Whishaw audition for the role, Paul King said he, “Slowly found myself hearing his voice when I was thinking about Paddington…he breathes and he speaks and he sounds like Paddington.”

Wishaw joins an all start cast that includes Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman. The film is set for release on 28th November.

For more information about the film check out the movie’s Facebook page.

 

Hoult Joins Nurse

16 Jul

© Broadwaybaby

Colin Hoult has been confirmed as an addition to Nurse, a new BBC2 comedy co-written by and starring Paul Whitehouse.

The series, which has just started filming, focuses a community psychiatric nurse as she does her daily rounds visiting the homes of her patients.

Paul Whitehouse takes on the roles of many of her patients and relatives, and he’s joined by a cast which includes Colin, along with Esther Coles Simon Day, Cecilia Noble, Rosie Cavaliero, Jason Maza, Vilma Hollingbery and Ben Bailey Smith.

Previously a successful series on Radio 4, the BBC’s Shane Allen has said of the show: “Nurse has gone down very successfully on radio and we are very excited about the TV version. Nurse gives a sympathetic insight into the world of some of society’s marginalised people. Paul is the leading character comedian of his generation and he has the ability to make you cry with laughter one minute and cry with empathy the next with the characters that he brings to life.”

Four 30 minute episodes are being filmed, with the show due to be broadcast on BBC Two later this year.

This marks another welcome return to our screens for Colin, who has most recently been seen on Derek, with Ricky Gervais.

Time For A Serving Of Luxury

16 Jul

© Channel4

We’ve seen the trailer, we’ve wondered at its vague promise of “coming soon” – and you’ve been asking us in droves: WHEN WILL SERIES 2 OF LUXURY COMEDY BE HITTING OUR SCREENS?? Well wonder no more..

We can confirm that the new series kicks off on E4 on 31st July!

We’ve got all sorts of exclusive goodies up our sleeves to mark the occasion, so stay peeling to make sure you stay on top of everything.

In the meantime, here’s an interview with Noel Fielding that Channel 4 have released ahead of the new series.

Noel Talks Glasto To NME

12 Jul

Noel Fielding is featured in this week’s NME, along with his Loose Tapestries band mate, Sergio Pizzorno, talking about their Glastonbury appearance a couple of weekends ago.

© NME

For anyone who’s been in hibernation for the past month and is wondering what it’s all about, Noel appeared on stage as Vlad the Impaler during Kasabian’s victorious set on the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday night.

In the NME interview Noel talks about his friendship with Serge, his attempts to make his costume historically accurate, and how much fun kicking severed heads into the audience was.

If you copy the image on the right and squint a bit, you should be able to read it in full.

The NME also saw fit to confirm this week that Serge will be providing the music for series 2 of Luxury Comedy. However, if you’re reading this chances are you knew that already ;-)

Finally, Noel has been busy this week filming with Alan Carr in Bournemouth. A myriad of photos of the pair in various wigs and fake beards have been circulating on twitter and instragram, although it’s not yet clear what shoot was for.  When we find out, we’ll let you know…

Source Unknown

 

Be Alternative This Tuesday

11 Jul

© Comedy Central

The second series of The Alternative Comedy Experience, curated by Stewart Lee, will be hitting our screens this Tuesday – and it will be featuring a few TVO faces.

The new 13-part series will reflect the format of series one, having also been filmed at The Stand in Edinburgh. Once again, Lee has selected some of his favourite stand-ups on the circuit, including our very own Kevin Eldon, Tony Law and Paul Foot, alongside the likes of Bridget Christie, David O’Doherty, Nish Kumar, Michael Legge, Susan Calman, David Kay, Ginger & Black and Josie Long. These are people whom Lee feels represent “the stand-ups other comedians slouch at the back of the room and cry with laughter at”.

Episode 1 of the new series airs at 11pm on 15th July on Comedy Central and features Tony Law and Kevin Eldon; Paul Foot appears in episode 2. To see the full list of episodes and line ups until the fourth show in the series visit The British Comedy Guide.

For more information about the show and to view clips take a look at The Alternative Comedy’s page on Comedy Central.

And if you fancy procuring series 1 on DVD (you definitely should – it’s been rated as a 5-star extravaganza!) visit our amazon store now.

Stubbings And The Milkman

9 Jul

Rachel Stubbings will be appearing in a new short film from director Dan Berg – The Milkman.

The 9-minute movie is described as “comedy drama” and follows the story of milkman Lee, as he struggles to retain his customers, while pursuing romance with one of the few who remain. Stubbings co-stars with fellow comedians Joe Bor and Nick Helm.

As yet, there’s no information about the planned release of the film, but you can watch the trailer below. We’ll let you know more as soon as we do:

Rich On A Bus

8 Jul

Rich Fulcher has lent his acting talents to a new US TV commercial for Greyhound buses.

In the ad Rich plays the part of a bespectacled tour manager, who has swapped his band’s usual tour bus for a Greyhound bus, in recognition of its cheap prices and fantastic facilities. If only Rich had had more of a hand in writing the spot…

Anyway, you can see the ad below:

And while we’re at, we figured that this Fulcher news provided us with the perfect excuse to share this recent photo of Rich from Funny or Die, with fellow comedians Steve Agree and Moshe Kasher. We have no idea what was going on, but we love it! Here’s hoping it cheers up your Tuesday too:

© Funny or Die

 

 

Dan Clark: Growing Up For Edinburgh

8 Jul

© comedy.co.uk

Last week Dan Clark performed a couple of warm up gigs in preparation for the run of his new show, Me, My Selfie and I, at the Edinburgh Fringe. We were lucky enough to grab a chat with Dan after his sold out show at The Pleasance in Islington. Velveteer Mog reports:

In the past, Dan Clark’s on-stage persona has felt like an extension of his best-known on screen creation, Don Danbury. Although a tad more charismatic and a lot more musical than the feckless anti-hero from How Not To Live Your Life, the distinction between Dan and Don wasn’t always clear. Dan’s new show, on the other hand, sees him in more contemplative, grown up mood. Like most men in their thirties, Dan hasn’t abandoned his laddish youthfulness completely – you’ll be relieved to know that the wank gags are still there – but now they’re framed with moments of mature introspection.

Dan acknowledges that the shift in tone could challenge some of his fan base: “It’s my most personal and honest show,” he says, “For an audience who have come to see Don Danbury, and you talk about death and mortality when they’re expecting knob gags, they might get confused.” So why the change? He explains: “I fell out of love with it (comedy), and I didn’t like what I was watching on TV, so I thought if I’m going to do this again, I’m going to write a bit more from the heart. There are plenty of 30-something comedians just doing jokes; we don’t need another one.”

© The Evening Standard

This is Dan’s first entirely-solo show for seven years, having previously gigged with guest musicians (in the shape of regular collaborator, Ben Parker), or in the case of his most recent stage show, These Songs May Contain Jokes, an entire backing band. He says that he misses the camaraderie of being part of a gang  (“You feel safer when you’re on stage with other people”) and the buzz of rocking out with his musical mates every night – they regularly ended their set to standing ovations: “They were the most fun shows to play; nothing beats that…but I can’t afford to take those fuckers to Edinburgh!” He laughs.

Music still played a part in his warm up shows last week, however – even if it’s now one man and his guitar. Dan’s cleverness in weaving together strange comedy and genuinely tuneful melodies is something that distinguishes him from his peers. He acknowledges that ‘comedy + music’ is a magical mixture which audiences lap up: “Even if the material isn’t that funny, it’s the combination of it being quite amusing, with music – the room just loves it.” Dan notes that the comedy community is still figuring out whether it’s a cheap trick to get easy laughs or a sophisticated comedic ploy that cleverly works an audience.

© Dave Brown

The Edinburgh Fringe can be something of an endurance test for artists – nearly 4 weeks of tough audiences, late nights and – sometimes – bitter critics. Dan recalls a particularly biting review of his 2005 Edinburgh show, in which he was awarded 1 star. The following year the same critic gave him 2 stars, perhaps in recognition that she had been immortalised, none too positively, in one of his songs. So does a poor review hurt?

“Bad reviews are no longer yesterday’s newspaper,” Dan explains. “They stick around on the Internet. Someone googles your name and that 1 star review is the third thing that comes up!”  He compares the power that the critics wield to that of Simon Cowell on X-Factor, “Except in print you don’t get the humour or charm you get on TV. It just comes across as vicious.” He sighs and smiles, “Aaah, I can’t wait!”

The Velvet Onion would like to thank Dan for taking the time to chat to us last week, and we wish him all the best for Edinburgh. Don’t forget that you can see show Me, My Selfie & I at The Pleasance Dome from 30th July to 24th August. For more information and to buy tickets take a look at this.

Besides his own show, Dan’s other recommendation for TVO readers heading to the Fringe is Every Loser Wins, a cabaret-based comedy featuring the lovely Kelly Wenham and Simon Salmon. Dan describes it as: “A character comedy show with silly and weird characters” and reckons fans of Boosh/Paul Foot humour will love it. To check it out for yourself, head on over here.

Parkinson & Eldon Join Crackanory Series 2

5 Jul

© Dave

Earlier this year we reported that anthology comedy Crackanory would be returning for a second series.

Series 1 included TVO regulars Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

Like its predecessor, series 2 will be made and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, and will feature top drawer British comedians telling Jackanory style stories for grown ups.

So far, those confirmed for the new series include Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax – and Katherine Parkinson. Emilia Fox and Simon Callow will lend their voices to the series too, and it’s hoped that a performance by the legend that is Rik Mayall will also be shown.

Writers for the new series include Yonderland and Mitchell and Webb scriptwriter Toby Davies, Holly Walsh and Kevin Eldon, who will be authoring his second story for the show and will also make an appearance in another tale.

The new series will air on Dave in the Autumn.

Yonderland Returns!

3 Jul

© Sky

Yonderland, the fantasy comedy series featuring people and puppets (including Simon Farnaby in brilliantly evil form), is to return for a second series.

The first series from the makers of Horrible Histories ran in November 2013, generating critical acclaim and strong viewing figures. The new series will see the lead character and housewife/heroine, Debbie, battling to keep her family life and her role as savour of the world separate.

In case you missed it the first time round, it offers the perfect introduction to the world of silly surreal comedy for younger family members, whilst entertaining us adult folk too. This writer’s 9 year old is beside himself with joy about its return to our screens.

Lucy Lumsden, Sky’s Head of Comedy, has said of the recommission: “We’re delighted to be able to reunite the multi-talented Yonderland team for another series. Many more magical treats of silliness await”.

To find out more about the show, including clips and cast interviews, take a look at this on Sky’s website.

On Yer Bike, Tony!

3 Jul

Tony Law has become the new face of Halfords in a series of online films for the chain of bike shops.

He stars as a ‘bike whisperer’ in a campaign which went live on Halfords’ YouTube channel this week. The ads are shot in a documentary style and show Law interacting with real Halfords customers and staff while in character as The Bike Whisperer, a man who believes he can communicate with bikes.

The first film in the series is out and you can see it here:

Peacock Season: Edinburgh From the Comfort Of Your Sofa

3 Jul

© FMW Films

A wee while ago we mentioned that Peacock Season, the movie by and featuring James Wren, alongside a bevy of TVO-related comedians, would soon be available to view via Distrify, a site which allows you to buy films via social media. Well now it’s on there!

The film follows the story of advertising executive Keith Graham (Wren). When he’s fired from his job a chain of events leads to him taking a stand-up comedy show to the Edinburgh Festival.

This comedy about comedy was shot on location at the Festival and features a cast of festival veterans, including:

Dan Antopolski, Scott Capurro, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Justin Edwards, Felicity Wren, Pete Firman, Paul Foot, Richard Glover, Joy Gohring, Richard Herring, Adam Hills, Sammy J, Fergus March, Phil Nichol, Lucy Porter, Millie Reeves, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and James Wren himself.

To buy or rent the film and/or view the trailer visit this place.

Cook Gets Indie Minded

30 Jun

James Cook has been interviewed about his new album Adventures in Ausland by indie music website Indie Minded.

© Hudebniknihovna

In the interview, he talks about how he has evolved as a musician since becoming a solo artist, which are his favourite tracks on the new album, and what music he like to listen to when he’s not creating it himself.

Of his latest musical direction he says: “I think I have managed to completely distance myself from my previous work in NEMO now. ‘Arts & Sciences’ was somehow a hybrid of the electronics and pop sensibilities of my old band, NEMO, and the work i did with Anne Marie Kirby on ‘The Dollhouse’. This new album a step away from that into a new, hitherto uncharted, musical universe for me. They are still basically pop songs, but the tone, arrangements and concepts definitely come from a more lyrical approach.”

To read the interview in full visit Indie Minded here.

Adventures in Ausland is released on 31st July. For regular updates and Cook-flavoured news follow James on twitter.

MPs Say No To Father Ted’s Lovely Horse

28 Jun

The Irish parliament has rejected a petition to make ‘My Lovely Horse’ from Father Ted Ireland’s official entry into next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The petition entitled “legislate to make ‘My Lovely Horse’ Ireland’s entry for Eurovision 2015” was formally submitted to the government last month by the intriguingly-named Mr Finn McCool. You can see the petition here.

The Oireachtas petitions committee considered the request this week but Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, the chairman, said the committee “didn’t have the musical expertise” it needed to consider the issue. Brilliant stuff!

Lovely Horse was part of the “A Song for Europe” episode of Father Ted – and we reckon it would be a dead cert for Eurovision success, given half a chance. For now, however, you can simply relive the video below:

Rose D’Or Awards Nominations

22 Jun

© Kuba Wieczorek

The nominees for the television, online and radio 2014 Rose d’Or were announced this week, and there are two TVO shows in the shortlist for Best Sitcom!

Toast of London (featuring Matt Berry) and Yonderland (from the Horrible Histories Team) are two of just three nominees in the Best Sitcom category.

Nearly 400 programmes from more than 100 broadcasters and production companies from all over the world were submitted for this year’s Rose d’Or awards, so to be shortlisted for an award is an achievement in itself!

The winners will be decided at the 53rd Rose d’Or Awards ceremony which will be held in Berlin on 17 September. For the full list of nominees, take a look at the Rose D’Or website.

Congratulations to all the nominees, and best of luck to ‘our lot’!

 

Better Than Rather Good Comedy

21 Jun

© ARGComFest

The line up for ARGcomFest 2014 has been announced, and as the festival name promises – it’s Actually Rather Good.

The festival, now in its third year, aims to provide a taster of the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe with a host of Edinburgh Preview shows. It will be taking place at The Garage, Highbury, London, on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July

For a single ridiculously low ticket price, you get access to an entire weekend of 32 previews of top shows which are headed to Edinburgh this summer.

There’s currently one directly-connected TVO name on the list, in the form of the very wonderful Sarah Kendall, but check out the full line-up for the complete list of performers, then try telling us it doesn’t sound amazing.

You can buy tickets for the day (from £19) or the weekend (from £33); for all the details click here.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,404 other followers