Archive by Author

Barratt’s ABCs Of Death 2 Out Soon!

17 Sep

A long time ago, back in the mists of time (August 2013 to be precise), we told you that Julian Barratt had been invited to direct one of the short films which would make up a horror anthology about death. Now the release date of the film, ABCs of Death 2, has been confirmed as October 2nd – only weeks away!

Like its predecessor, the film is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet, beginning with the letter A and ending with the letter Z. They were given free rein in choosing a word to create a story involving death. Another TVO favourite, Ben Wheatley, directed one of the segments of the original film.

ABCs of Death 2 is available on demand and iTunes from 2nd October and in US theatres from 31st October. As yet a UK cinema release date hasn’t been confirmed. To watch it on demand and/or to book tickets to see the film in the US click here.

Julian also features in the film that he directed, and he makes a brief appearance in the trailer below. WARNING: it’s pretty gory, so if you’re at work, you hate horror or you’re reading this around young kids, maybe give it a miss?

Online Comedy Awards

14 Sep

© British Comedy Guide

The British Comedy Guide is running an awards programme to honour online comedy – and there are just 24 hours left to vote for which videos you think deserve to be on the shortlist!

There are a fair few TVO-connected entries, including Bob Pipe‘s awesome The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains, videos from Matt BerryReece Shearsmith, Rufus Jones and Lucy MontgomeryKing Dredge, plus the Brett Domino trio, a regular musical fixture at Rich Fulcher‘s epic comedy night Fulchfest, a couple of years ago.

To view the loooong (and often hilarious) list of entries and to vote for who you think should be shortlisted visit the Awards site. But be quick – voting closes soon!

New Film Role For Coogan

12 Sep

© imdb

Hot on the footsteps of Steve Coogan‘s appearance in Oscar-nominated Philomena is the news that he will play the lead role in the forthcoming movie Boswell For The Defence.

It was announced that he has signed on to play the title role in the film adaptation of the acclaimed West End play at the Toronto film festival this week.

Boswell For The Defence tells the true story of how the Scottish lawyer, diarist and Samuel Johnson biographer, James Boswell, takes on one last impossible case at the tail-end of his career – to save the life of the convict Mary Bryant from the gallows.

Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers, Ned Kelly) will direct, and production is set for 2015. Producers Mark Pennell and Steve Chasman have said of the film: “Whether it be ‘Lincoln’ or ‘Thatcher’, bringing a historical figure to life is always a challenge, but Steve’s extraordinary ability to blend humour and pathos make him the perfect artist to bring such a complex character like Boswell to the screen. We are excited to see him make this role his own.”

Oram’s Secret

11 Sep

© BBC

Hands up if, like us, you managed to miss Steve Oram‘s recent appearance on BBC1 drama The Secrets?

The Secrets is a 5-part series of stand-alone dramas. Each story explores the links, pressures and expectations that draw people together and tear them apart. Steve was part of the main cast in the first episode, The Dilemma, which aired at the weekend. The BBC describe it as “a story about love, mercy and the things people do to save the ones they love.”

Steve plays the part of tree surgeon, Shaun, who’s married to Pippa, a north London vet – played by the fabulous Olivia Coleman. The episode follows Pippa’s struggle to decide whether to help her terminally ill mother (played by Alison Steadman) to end her life.

Thankfully the episode is available to watch on iPlayer for a further 8 days here (along with episodes 2-4 – these don’t feature Steve, sadly!).

For more information about the series, pay a visit to the show’s website. Happy viewing!

New Ayoade TV Series for 2015

9 Sep

Source Unknown

Channel 4 have confirmed that Richard Ayoade will be fronting a new TV show which hits our screens in 2015.

Called Wish you Weren’t Here (working title) the show presents an alternative view of travel. In this new series, Richard will attempt to be convinced that holidays are in fact a good thing.

In each episode he will be joined by a famous holiday companion, and together they will embark on a voyage of discovery to some of the most aspirational destinations in Europe. From otter hotels to ice palaces, underwater bedrooms and guest houses on top of cranes, the series will feature some of the most bizarre yet wonderful places you can visit. As the travel lovers take it all in, Richard, the eternal pessimist, will simply ask why would you ever want to go there?

As yet, no air date has been confirmed, but as soon as we find out any more (including who his travel companions are!) we’ll let you know.

Burns In Breeders

6 Sep

© St James Theatre

Nathan Barley himself, actor Nicholas Burns, is starring in a new play called Breeders at St James’ Theatre in London.

The comedy, by Ben Ockrent and directed by Tamara Harvey, offers a fresh take on family, tradition and procreation.

It follows the story of Andrea and her wife Caroline, who long to have a baby. Amidst the drink-sodden traditions of a family Christmas, they have an idea: if nature can’t give them a child that shares both their genes, perhaps Andrea’s under-achieving brother Jimmy (Burns) can? When he and his girlfriend Sharon agree, the four are forced closer than any family should be.

The performances of Breeders take place from 5th September to 4th October, and tickets are available from £15 up to £49.50 (for premium seats).

For more information about performance times, prices and to book tickets click here.

Pub Chat With Horgan & Bea

4 Sep

© The Sun/Hoxton Radio

A couple of weeks ago a hole in the fabric of TVO time was nearly created when one of the artists who we we cover interviewed another of the artists that we write about. Crikey.

The people in question were Sharon Horgan, who was being interviewed by Ailsing Bea – in a pub of all places, as part of the BBC Radio 4 Extra Comedy Club interviews series.

There are two 5-minute interviews; in the first one Sharon talks about the Bailey’s-based cocktail that she’s invented and how she got into comedy, and in the second interview the duo chat about Horgan’s forthcoming new TV shows: a second series of Psychobitches (out soon!), and a new Ch4 comedy called Catastrophe, which will be out in 2015.

You can listen to interview 1 here and interview 2 there.  So raise a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy!

Kirk On The Box

4 Sep

Another TV advert featuring a TVO face is back on our TV screens – this time it’s Alex Kirk in a VW commercial.

The ad, which sees Kirk in fine form as a parachute salesman, first broke in February this year – however, it’s enjoying a repeat screening at the moment. You can see the ad in all its glory  below. Just don’t forget to appreciate the deeply philosophical message behind it:

Fans of Kirk may be interested to know that you can still watch him in the second series of the Channel 5 series Suspects, which is now available to view on demand. Shot in the style of a fly on-the-wall documentary, Suspects is an unscripted crime show, in which the cast devise their own dialogue based on a detailed plot description.

Kirk can be seen in Episode 3, playing the character of Edward Shaffer. The full episode can be seen here and you can watch a preview clip there.

 

Sandling Does His Fitness Thing

1 Sep

Scandinavian advertising is famous for not taking itself too seriously, and this new TV commercial from Norway, starring Richard Sandling, is no exception.

The ad is for a local gym chain and features Sandling’s unique take on using the running machine – basically doing exactly what the end line suggests when it says, “Do your thing”. Damn weird and pretty funny – sadly, we can’t imagine the likes of Fitness First adopting the same approach in the UK:

Smiley On Who

31 Aug

© BBC

Dr Who fans out there will be aware that another TVO face, Michael Smiley, featured in yesterday’s episode Into the Dalek. What you may not be aware of is that Smiley recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his role in the iconic show.

In the short interview he discusses how director Ben Wheatley contacted him to invite him to be in it: “It was just a call out of the blue,” says Smiley.

“Ben was asked to do the first two episodes and he gave me a ring and he said, ‘What’s your view on Doctor Who? If a part came up that would be right for you, would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ It’s part of your life, Doctor Who. I remember Patrick Troughton!”

To read the interview in full click here. You can catch a glimpse of Smile as Colonel Morgan Blue in the trailer below, and the full episode is available to watch on iPlayer for a further 2 months.

 

She’s A Rainbow: TVO Interviews Ameena Kara Callender

14 Aug

© Greg Sick

At The Velvet Onion we try to bring you a different, deeper view of the comedy you love. It was with this mission in mind that we hunted down the Stylist and Costume Designer responsible for the fantastical costumes in Luxury Comedy, to find out how the improbable from Noel Fielding‘s imagination is brought to life with a sewing machine. Mog reports. 

One of the things that strikes you about the cast and crew of Luxury Comedy is their dedication to the cause. When you listen to them talk about their involvement in the two series, it’s clear that this was no mere job. The loyalty and commitment that Noel has inspired amongst the team has created a tightly-knit family of can-do’s, happy to go to the ends of the earth to make everything perfect. And Ameena Kara Callender is no exception.

© Ameena

I meet Ameena at her Hoxton studio, surrounded by the colourful chaos of what she does. She looks exactly as you’d hope a stylist would: an unselfconscious  mish-mash of clashing colours and patterns, sparkly sandals and powder pink socks; an unexpected balance point between the fabulously exotic and the genuine girl next door.

She tells me that she has always enjoyed dressing up; when she was younger she used to make outfits for nights out with her Mum and Gran from the fabrics they kept in their sewing cupboard. However, she didn’t train as a stylist – the origins of her creative education were fine art, sculpture and painting.

One of her specialisms at college was 3D craft and design, which gave her a useful grounding in working with plastic-based materials. “It’s why I’m able to make these more bizarre sculptural costumes for Noel. All of the random things I’ve learned over the years came together in this one job, which harnessed all of it all at once.”

© Ameena

© Ameena

Originally connected via a mutual friend, Ameena has known Noel for years, but it was at his art exhibition at Maison Bertaux in 2010 that he asked her if she wanted to work on the show. Ameena was particularly drawn to an installation at the exhibition which turned out to be a precursor to the Jellyfox sketch from series 1.

“I really vibed off the animations that he’d done with Nige,” she says. “Noel asked ‘Do you want to make some Leigh Bowery type costumes for me?’ and I was like ‘Hell yeah – that’s right up my street!” she laughs.

Given that Noel has such clear ideas of his own about the look of the characters in the show, I ask her how the creative development process plays out between them. “Working with Noel is amazing. He’s a visual artist, and that goes across the spectrum of everything he does.”

“He draws constantly, and a big part of him coming up with a character is drawing it and figuring out what it looks like. Sometimes they pretty much have the outfit on that they’ll have on when the character comes into the real world, but sometimes he’ll leave it open for me,” she explains.

Taking on that level of responsibility can sometimes be a little daunting; trying to second-guess what Noel wants for a character or working out what would surprise him (in a good way!) can be a challenge, particularly when most of the characters are unlike anything that’s gone before. “You don’t know what really works until you go through the magical process; you can’t get out a reference from Dazed & Confused and say ‘I want him to be like that’, because it’s a whole weird, insane new concept.” she explains. “I’ve spent nights with matchsticks to keep my eyes open doing designs to show Nige and Noel the next day!”

© Ameena. Illustration on jumpsuit by David Shillinglaw

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Luxury Cafe Competition: A Massive Thank you

13 Aug

© Channel 4

A week and a half ago we announced a competition which would give 5 readers the chance to win a Luxury Comedy mug and pack of coffee. To enter, we asked you to create something from the Luxury Comedy cafe menu.

We didn’t think it was fair to award the prizes on the basis of cooking ability, so to give everyone an equal chance we decided to select the winners randomly from all of the entries. We secretly hoped that some of you would make a bit of effort, but we had no idea how inventive, hilarious and downright incredible so many of your entries were going to be!

Here are a small selection of those which knocked us sideways with their creativity and put a smile on our faces – and we had many, many more besides! Just click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

It just goes to prove how much you’re loving the new series of Luxury Comedy and how much the show inspires you; we hope Noel Fielding is justifiably chuffed! It also suggests that you’re pretty desperate for a mug of coffee, but perhaps that’s not really the point ;-)

The 5 winners have been selected at random from all of the entries received and have now been notified. They are: Cali Rivlin, Chaas, Imaginary Nadya, Spaceboy and The Dream Tiger (twitter names).  A rather splendid Luxury mug and pack of coffee will be winging its way to you.

Huge congratulations to the winners and a massive thank you to everyone who took part!

Luxury cookery shown above thanks to Afrika D, Alleshia Cook, Anita, Arthur M, Azzy, Becca Moody, Becky Price, Bluey, Cali, Cali Rivlin, Catie, Chaas, Faye Loretta Lee, Gothic Bob, Imaginary Nadya, Jadie Rae, Jodie Kozo Konatsubara, Mol, Nikki Burns, Sean Feehan, Terry, The Dream Tiger, The Plasticine Punk, Spaceboy and  . (yes, that’s their name). You’re all awesome!

In Between The Inbetweeners

10 Aug

© Bwark Productions

It’s hard to miss the current PR onslaught for the new Inbetweeners movie. But did you know that there are a few TVO connection with the film and its cast? Please allow us to enlighten you…

First up is a connection which we’d probably categorize as ‘Type A': the Second Unit director of the Inbetweeners 2 movie, Spencer Millman, was also the producer of The Mighty Boosh.

(We assume that Spencer’s experience of  keeping the Boosh gang under control may have come in useful on this latest project too!)

Next is a TVO connection with Channel 4 show Friday Night Dinner, which stars actor Simon Bird (Will from The Inbetweeners). We spotted that Laurie Rose is the Director of Photography on the latest series. Rose is director Ben Wheatley‘s ‘go to’ DOP for most of his productions, many of which feature a bevy of TVO folk.  What’s more, series 3 of Friday Night Dinner also included two further TVO faces, in the shape of Paul Kaye and Dan Skinner. If you missed them, you can still watch all of the series 3 episodes on 4oD.

And finally, a connection from a year ago, in the shape of a short film called Straw Donkey. We covered it at the time, but for those of you with a short memory, the film features TVO people  Tony WayLaura Patch and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, alongside Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas (Simon from the show). It also includes a cameo from Justin Edwards too, just for good measure. If you missed it, take a look below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5ewBP1SOI

A Bellyfull Of Parkinson This Week

7 Aug

Katherine Parkinson features in two TV shows which aired this week, both of which pitch her a long way from IT Crowd‘s Jen.

© BBC

On Tuesday she appeared as part of the main cast in In the Club, a BBC 1 drama that follows the lives of six pregnant women and their partners, who meet at a local parent craft class. Parkinson plays the part of Kim, who is expecting her first baby with partner Susie (Tara Fitzgerald) and sperm donor Neil (Jonathan Kerrigan).

Parkinson, who is pregnant in real life with her second child, said of her role in the series: “I was very surprised to get pregnant and I knew I was doing this job, but I did think there couldn’t be a nicer set to be pregnant on. With my first pregnancy I was in the West End having a nervous breakdown on stage every night, which wasn’t the most comfortable experience. I remember worrying my baby would come out traumatised because I was screaming so much.”

She said that the programme had even helped her prepare for the birth: “Mine was a water birth, and that’s what I’d like to have this time, so it was like a kind of extended birthing workshop for me.”

The first episode of In the Club is available to watch on iPlayer for another month, and the Beeb has helpfully set up a few web pages for the new series, which provides the lowdown on the characters and the remaining episodes. Episode 2 airs next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC1.

Parkinson is also appearing in The Honourable Woman at the moment, a dramatic tale of conspiracy and espionage starring uber-actress, Maggie Gylenhaaal. In this series, Parkinson plays the part of Rachel Stein.

You can watch 6 whole episodes of The Honourable Woman on iPlayer, starting with episode 1 ‘The Empty Chair’. Once again, there are comprehensive web pages for the series where you can learn more about  the show. Thanks, BBC folk!

Aisling Bea At The Phoenix Fringe

4 Aug

© Phoenix Fringe

Aisling Bea will be performing on the bill at The Pheonix Fringe on Thursday night.

The Phoenix Fringe is a festival/showcase that takes place during August in the intimate basement of The Phoenix Cavendish Square, London.

Bea will be taking to the stage at 10pm this Thursday, 7th August, and you can purchase tickets for her show for £8 (+80p booking fee) at Seetickets.

To take a look at the full line up for the event, visit the Phoenix Fringe website or follow them on twitter.

 

Horrible Histories Honours WW1 Centenary

4 Aug

© BBC

Horrible Histories today released a special episode to mark the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War 1.

The 40-minute ‘Frightful First World War’ special presents the unique Horrible Histories take on life in the trenches and tries to shed light on the complex reasons for Britain joining the war. It also covers the infamous Christmas day football match between England and German troops and explains how women’s roles were changed by the war.

The episode features TVO face Simon Farnaby, and is available to watch for 6 further days on iPlayer.  It will be broadcast on CBBC tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5pm and on Saturday 9th August at 11am.

See Sandling Podcast Live!

4 Aug

© Richard Sandling

Richard Sandling will be hosting one of his Secret Movie podcast shows next week, on 13th August, in East London.

He will be appearing on the bill with writer and comedian Steve Hall (who’s 1/3 of We Are Klang, a Russell Howard support act & a writer and regular on the Frank Skinner Show) and the multi-talented Nadia Kamil (who The Guardian has described as“The most exciting new comedians around, full stop” ).

The gig will be taking place at the Betsey Trotwood on Farringdon Road on Wednesday. Doors open at 7.30pm for a 8pm start and tickets cost just £5 (+ 50p booking fee). If you like your comedy with a good sprinkling of movie-based seasoning, grab one here.

For more information about the show visit the event’s Facebook page.

A Fine Adventure With James Cook

3 Aug

© James Cook

James Cook‘s second solo album, Adventures in Ausland was officially released this week. And in case you’re pondering whether or not to invest, please allow us to draw your attention to a recent review…

The Ringmaster Review has described the album in the superlative, opening their review with the following words: “There has always been an inescapable magnetism to the creativity and songs of UK singer/songwriter/producer James Cook, and the release of second solo album Adventures In Ausland certainly does not lose any of that imagination sparking prowess. In fact it takes it to new levels with tracks which are bred from even greater maturity and inventive expression in sound and lyrical enterprise.”

While clearly a fan of Cook’s music, the reviewer explains in rich detail why the tracks on the album are worthy of such praise. This isn’t simply hollow hyperbole.

To read the review in full wander over here. And then head on over there to buy the album. You can even go old skool and buy a signed CD. We defy you not to, after reading that!

Glover In The Woods

2 Aug

A while ago we mentioned that perennial TVO favourite, Richard Glover, was appearing in the new Disney blockbuster Into the Woods with Hollywood A-listers, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. Now the trailer for the film has been released!

Based on the Stephen Sodenheim musical of the same name, the movie presents a modern twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few of the famous stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests.

Sadly Rich hasn’t made it into this trailer (presumably the production team didn’t want him pulling focus from the rest of the cast), but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any further content in which he appears – and keeping you updated, of course.

The film is released worldwide in January 2015.

COMPETITION: Show Us Your Cafe Skills & Win A Mug Of Luxury

1 Aug

© Channel 4

So now we all know that the new series of Luxury Comedy is set in a cafe, and Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth work there. But have you got any idea what food is served in the Luxury cafe? Well, wonder no more – because not only are we going to reveal the actual Luxury Cafe menu to you, we’re also going to use the menu to create a rather fabulous reader competition!

Printed below are the two pages of the Luxury Cafe menu, captured by our eagle-eyed photographer during the filming of series 2. Listed beneath the pictures are a series of links; these link to recipes for each of the items on the Luxury Cafe menu. We’ve included absolutely everything that they serve there (except for teas, coffees, or anything that doesn’t warrant a full on recipe).

And here’s what we’re asking you to do:

We’d like you to cook one of the items on the menu. You can use the recipe links provided below or your own preferred recipe, as long as your creation is reasonably close to what’s on offer in the Luxury Cafe. Then, we’d like you to take a photo of your cookery creation (with you in the photo if you like) and tweet it to us using the hashtag #luxurycoffee. If it’s not obvious from the picture, you might need to tell us what it is that you’ve made!

Five winners will then be randomly selected from the entries, and each winner will be sent a Luxury mug and a pack of Luxury coffee. The only people who have received these are a small handful of fancy journalist types, so they’re seriously exclusive!

The closing date is 12th August and only entries received via our twitter feed with the hashtag #luxurycoffee will be accepted. You can submit more than one entry, although each entry must be a different menu item, and there’s a maximum of one prize per person. For the full Terms & Conditions of the competition, please see the small print at the bottom of this post. Happy cooking!

Luxury Sandwiches
Luxury Roast Chicken, Tuna Special, BLT Bomb, Eggy MayoFelafel and Houmous

Additions
Chips, Onion rings

Drinks
Hot Chocolate

Luxury Baked Potatoes
Baked Potato. Toppings: Coleslaw, Chicken Tikka, 3 Bean Salad, Veggie Chilli

Luxury Salads
Luxury Greek Salad, Salad Nicoise

Luxury Ice Creams
Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Caramel, Mint choc, banana, butterscotch, peanut, coffee, rum ‘n’ raisin, praline, pistacho, white choc, ginger, bubble gum

Luxury Coke Float

Special Sundaes
Banana Split, S’mores, Hot Cookie/Brownie

This competition offers 1 Luxury mug and 1 pack of Luxury coffee to 5 winners. The winning entry will be selected at random, from all who provide a photograph of an item that they have created themselves from the Luxury Cafe menu printed in this article. The winners will be contacted via the twitter account that they use to enter. Details will not be shared with any additional third parties beyond The Velvet Onion and E4.
Only entries made to https://twitter.com/thevelvetonion will be accepted. The Velvet Onion will not accept entries as comments to this post, replies to our Facebook page, comments to any other posts in error or emails to any other email address in our domain, nor any entries received after 11.59pm on Tuesday 12th August 2014. This competition is being run entirely by The Velvet Onion, with prizes provided by E4. E4 isn’t involved in the administration of this competition. More than one entry per person is permitted, but each entry must be a different menu item. No more than one prize may be awarded to each person. The judge’s decision is final. There is no monetary value to this competition and no cash alternative will be offered. Prizes will be sent via second class post and will be carefully packaged, but The Velvet Onion cannot be held responsible for any breakages that occur in transit. The Velvet Onion reserves the right to withdraw this competition if any overriding issues arise.
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