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Tales From Photographed Hawaii

28 Aug

Tonight sees the grand finale of Luxury Comedy 2: Tales From Painted Hawaii on E4 – and to celebrate, we’re bringing you exclusive behind the scenes photos taken during TVO’s on-set visit last summer.

© The Velvet Onion / Lauren Taylor

© The Velvet Onion / Lauren Taylor

TVO were on hand for four days of filming madness, right at the peak of a very packed out schedule, grabbing the cast for chinwags whenever we could.  The results will be seen in our behind the scenes featurette, which will be available very soon.

Something else that’s available soon is the dvd of Series Two – which you can ORDER NOW for just £14 via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store: it’s released next Monday, September 1st, so there’s no time to waste!

The final episode will air at 10pm tonight, and you can see it on 4OD now. Until then, savour our images below. Enjoy.

Inspector Richard (Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Bee-Boo!)

27 Aug
© North One Television / Channel 4

© North One Television / Channel 4

The third series of Gadget Man - Channel 4’s tech-fuelled funfest hosted by Richard Ayoade is now underway, and the next two episodes bring two familiar faces in to play with all the toys.

Following the appearance of Tim Vine and Marcus Brigstocke in the first episode (now viewable on 4oD if you missed it), the next two episodes will feature Good News star Russell Howard and Never Mind The Buzzcocks regular Phill Jupitus.

You can catch the next episode on Monday, 1st September at 8:30pm, and it, like all previous editions, including the first series hosted by Stephen Fry, will be available on 4oD shortly after transmission.

If that’s still not enough Ayoade for you, don’t forget you can pick up his forthcoming book, Ayoade on Ayoadeand his latest film The Double on dvd and blu-ray now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

Mini IT Tee

24 Aug
© quertee.com

© quertee.com

Quertee –  suppliers of limited edition t-shirts – have a new IT Crowd shirt for sale for the next 12 hours.
This one features our favourite IT professionals, Jen, Moss, and Roy in Lego form, unfortunately there’s no Douglas or Richmond, but you can’t have everything!

The shirts cost £8 (plus postage) and can be ordered via this link.

Gadget Man Returns

22 Aug

© Channel 4

Richard Ayoade is back with Gadget Man on Monday at 8.30pm on Channel 4.

The third series of the technology show has Richard testing gadgets from the everyday to the extraordinary, with special guests to help him with his tasks.

In the first show he tackles weather with the help of Marcus Brigstocke and Tim Vine. Phil Jupitus makes an appearance later on in the series, you can see him in the short trailer on the C4 website.

If you missed the last series or just want to see it again, series 1 (with Stephen Fry) and 2, including a guest appearance by Noel Fielding, can be seen on 4OD.

Dead Funny

20 Aug
© amazon.co.uk

© amazon.co.uk

News has just reached us via the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog, that a new horror anthology, featuring stories from todays top comedians, will be published on 1st October.

The book – Dead Funny – has a few TVO connections, with contributions from Matt Holness, Reece Shearsmith, Katy Brand and Noel Fielding‘s Buzzcocks companion – Phil Jupitus.

The book is edited by Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage) and Johnny Mains (horror writer and editor), and is published by Salt Publishing.

This “unique exploration into the relationship between comedy and terror” also features contributions from Mitch Benn, Bridget Christie, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, Charlie Higson, Rufus Hound, Robin Ince, Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Al Murray, Danielle Wheeler, Tim Key, Neil Edmond and Michael Legge.

You can find out more about the book and the story behind it here at Ginger Nuts of Horror.

Dead Funny is available to pre-order now from TVO Store.

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

Sights and Sounds from Painted Hawaii

9 Aug

We’re now two episodes into Series 2 of Luxury Comedy on E4, and as part of our ongoing celebration around the show’s return, we’re digging into the magical land created by Noel Fielding and Nigel Coan for the series.

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

Whilst we’re all quite understandably excited about the huge number of TVO regulars who are involved in the show in front of the camera, it’s rewarding to know there are a number of familiar faces behind it too.

One such face is the legendary James Dillon, who Boosh fans will know as the designer for all three series of The Mighty Boosh, and the subsequent national tours. He was also responsible for the set design of shows as eclectic as Not Going Out, Live at the Electric, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Bill Hicks Live and The Crystal Maze, to name but a few: check out his website to see more from this truly incredible man.

During TVO’s exclusive visit to the film studios which housed Luxury Comedy last summer, James very kindly allowed us to photograph the main standing set: the interior of Noel’s Luxury Cafe.  A selection of these images can be seen below, and show the sheer level of detail that James put into the set in collaboration with Noel & Nigel.

This set, used as a focal point for the whole series, was a labour of love for Dillon, and it shows in the impressive range of vintage props, paintings by Noel, the authentic cafe menu (as featured in our competition over yonder), and our favourite part of the set: the jukebox!

What makes this lovely model so special is the attention to detail on the choice of records chosen. This beauty houses 100 discs, which are all carefully chosen to represent either the Hawaiian feel of the cafe, or a general Summery 60’s/70’s vibe, in line with the rest of the set design.

Wherever possible, given rights issues prevent some of those records being added, we’ve rounded up the selection into a Luxury Jukebox playlist on Spotify, which you can listen to at your leisure. Full details of the tracks listed (and not listed) can be found after the ‘Read More’ button below, so if you fancy recreating the 100% accurate jukebox vibe for your next Luxury themed party, get scouring ebay for these classics now!

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

There are two records which, for some reason, appear twice on the jukebox, but even with those duplicates and the rights-restricted tracks absent from the playlist, that still leaves 157 tracks for you to savour.  Enjoy.

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The Finch Tapes

8 Aug
© Celluloid Apocalypse

© Celluloid Apocalypse

A long time ago, you may remember Matthew Holness‘ brilliant short film, A Gun For George was released to the short film circuit.  It was later followed by airings on Film4, and a UK DVD release as part of The Joy of Six collection.

The film sees Holness as Terry Finch, forgotten author of The Reprisalizer, Britain’s toughest pulp paperback vigilante. Treading a thin line between reality and fantasy in his isolated caravan, his compulsive and cathartic visions of violent retribution refuse to die with his writing career, and a dark new chapter unfolds…

Now, Australian company Celluloid Apocalypse is to release the 70s homage on an extremely limited edition VHS.  Each of the 50 (yes, FIFTY) copies comes complete with a miniature Australian daybill poster, a copy of FINCHLAND #19 fanzine, and comes in a custom made VHS book box.

At $40.00, it’s somewhat of a deluxe item for diehard fans, but it’s also a must-have item for many of you out there… will you be one of the lucky ones? Pre-order it whilst you can!

Rich Talking Turtle

6 Aug

To celebrate the release of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films in the USA, our favourite American Rich Fulcher interviewed one of the stars of the film – Will Arnett. But as you might expect from Rich, it was not the usual type of interview, I don’t know what Will was expecting but I don’t think he was prepared for it!

You can decide for yourself by watching below:

The TMNT film will be released in the UK on 17th October 2014.

8-Track-Berry

3 Aug
© Sundae Club

© Sundae Club

Fans of Vinyl and other physical music formats will be excited to read that TVO have just discovered  Matt Berry features on a micro-album by Sundae Club.

The 8-Track-Stereo-Record is available as a 5 (or 7) track micro-album to download or on various 2 track physical formats. The 8 track in the album title refers to the stereo tracks not the number of ‘songs’.

The micro album features Matt Berry, Diana Yukawa and Bill Hunt (ELO/Wizzard).
The 5 digital tracks are:

Into This Space
Everything Is Fine (10″ edit)
Everything Is Fine (7″ edit)
Almeria (Drunken Gentlemen Remix)
110 Volts of Joy

There are also 2 bonus tracks to download for pre-orders:

Matt Berry’s Music For Insomniacs (The ffs Sound Studio Recording) and Music For Insomniacs Part VI (Matt Berry Sundae Club Remix).

The first two tracks, Into This Space and Everything Is Fine are also available on physical formats:

There were five limited edition 8-track Stereo Cartridge editions with New/Old-stock player included – these have sold out but further un-limited copies will be available without player in case you already have a suitable player.

In addition there are fifteen hand-made 78rpm 10″ records (only 3 left) and 250 ice-cream white 7″ 45rpm records.

For more information please click here, where I’m sure everything will be made clearer!

The album was actually released on 30th July but I ordered a 7″ record on Friday evening and it arrived on Saturday morning. I also got the two Matt Berry bonus tracks to download even though I hadn’t pre-ordered, so it might be worth ordering soon to get the bonus tracks.

The tracks are mostly instrumental with some Berry (or as it says on the vinyl label – Jeffrey Porksmith) vocals, and will be a great addition to your Matt Berry music collection.

Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Luxury Comedy 2

2 Aug

A few months ago, TVO reporter, Gina R Snape, met up with Dolly Wells to talk all things Doll and Em. They also spent a little time discussing Luxury Comedy series 2. Here are the excerpts from that interview:

© Channel 4

How was it working on Luxury Comedy this time round?

It was really really fun. It was boiling hot. We’d have competitions over who was hotter! Because I was wearing a nylon wig with a stocking, that was definitely quite hot.

But then Noel would be wearing (not going to give things away!) a rubber outfit and a wig – and was running sweat like a tap, while talking to you! So I couldn’t really complain about being hot. And also that feeling that the crew are thinking that you’re wimps. But when you put on the lights, the heat is just so hot. It was ludicrous.

How was it shooting series 2 of Luxury Comedy compared to the last series?

Shooting was similar in that it was really fun, really easy. Me and Mike getting giggles a lot of the time; Tom being very sensible; Noel being really silly.

I mean there will be things in his series, and I can’t really give the story away, but…there was one particular thing Noel did, and I can’t remember which episode it was, where it was sooooo hard not to laugh. Like a school play or something. And no one is really in the mood for you laughing because you haven’t got that long.

And also, what’s really nice is that feeling which you don’t get on everything you do: it’s like when you do a dance together, you’re sort of willing everybody to get it right, so you really want it to be good. There’s a lot of trust that you feel, and you sort of owe it to each other slightly. Especially Noel, who is carrying 99.9% of the show, and it’s hot and you’re doing it again and again. Everyone feels like they’re part of it, which is really very lovely. And you also feel real admiration for him. He’s got a serious amount of energy and he’s constantly saying and trying new things. There’s so much improvising, which is really fun.

© Channel 4

How much input did you get to have yourself through improvisation?

Well, because Noel and Tom are really good…I can do it in my own show, but I’d get shy sometimes to be doing it myself. You’re definitely free to do whatever you wanted. And we had really long rehearsals, so you could try things out – which was really fun. We rehearsed in Camden and ran around like the Ramones. We all had on black jackets, and tried to look like the Ramones. So yeah, it was brilliant. It was very, very hot. And it was the last thing I did before I came to NY and then I flew to NY the next day. So it was a real culture shock. I really missed them all for ages. But yeah, it was brilliant.

The last time TVO interviewed you about Luxury Comedyith you said that the energy was very frenetic w Noel was doing a million things at once, and then he would then stop and fall asleep in the corner for 20 minutes. Was the same true this time?

Yes! Yes! He did. But no, you know what? He was always absolutely firing on all cylinders because he would either be getting painted blue, or making up a painting or something. But this time most of the things he was making or drawing (like the sets) were done before. But there were lots of conversations with the art department or with costumes or with make-up, because every aspect of it is him and Nigel’s vision, so they were always working. So of course he was always very, very busy. But actually, it felt a bit less like that this time, I think. I don’t know why that is, but it definitely felt less like that.

Maybe it’s because the second series? 

Yeah, everyone knows what they’re doing. Although the main difference for the second series is that there’s a serious narrative. So once it’s been written and you know the exact story, then you’re just left to try and get it right.

You’ve said previously that Tom Meeten is the straight man? But in Doll and Em he’s insane!

He’s not the straight man – on camera he’s absolutely hilarious. But behind the scenes, especially when me and Mike are getting the giggles, and he was hot under his wig or something, yes, he’d be serious. He’d be like a school teacher. We’d all have our roles, if you know what I mean.

© Channel 4

In Doll & Em you’re called Doll and in Luxury you’re Dolly. Why do you think you can’t get away from your name?

I know! I was thinking that. I was thinking, “My god this is a bit confusing and massively egotistical.” Well, BOTH TIMES it’s men being annoying! (laughs). Noel did it to sort of piss me off almost. I was going “Couldn’t I be called Jana or, just any name would be just fine” and Noel was like “Yeah, not really, I was just thinking Dolly.” “Yeah, but what about like Ivanna or… “No, that’s Nigel’s wife.” So there was just never gonna be anything but Dolly. He definitely knew I was going to be Dolly.

Many thanks to Dolly Wells for taking the time to chat to us. And don’t forget to tune into the second episode of Luxury Comedy on 4th August at 10pm on E4 (or catch it now on 4oD) to see Dolly & co in action!

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.

Luxury Gallery, Ooh-Yeah!

1 Aug

Suck my beans! Luxury Comedy officially launched last night, and with Episode Two now on 4oD, there’s still lots we have to share with you as the series progresses.

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

For starters, there’s our making of featurette: a rough-n-ready rumble-tumble through the madness of filming Luxury Comedy.  TVO hung around for four very different days on set and highlights from the organised chaos will be seen very soon.

There’s also a competition coming later today, and a few more surprises to come – including our own behind the scenes photo galleries.  But it’s only right and proper that we begin such proceedings with the official photography, lovingly crafted by the incredible Dave Brown and the genius that is Nigel Coan. Enjoy, and keep coming back for more!

Obviously, we’re aware that, given TVO is read in 161 different countries at last count, that a large number of you have no access to Channel 4.  In that case, we heartily recommend you order Series 1 and Series 2 on dvd from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now!

Listen In To Luxury Q&A

31 Jul

A couple of weeks ago a gaggle of assorted friends, family, cast, crew and press gathered to watch the glorious culmination of Noel Fielding‘s inspiration and hard graft – in the shape of two preview episodes of the news series of Luxury Comedy.

Afterwards there was a Q&A session with Noel, who was in relaxed and candid form thanks to the presence of an audience largely made up of people he knew. And the reason that we’re telling you this? It’s because we’ve managed to get our hands on an audio recording of the Q&A!

So if you want to know who Noel thinks Julian Barratt should play in a biopic…or you fancy finding out why he thinks Twitter is like a shouty shopping centre…or why watching Luxury Comedy can be a bit like drinking a pint of toothpaste – then this is for you.

So strap on your headphones, sit back with a brew, and click on our photo from the Q&A below…

Luxury Archives

29 Jul

As we excitedly skip towards the official launch of the new series of Luxury Comedy, we’ve come over all nostalgic at TVO and  we thought it might be nice to have a look back at some of the exclusive interviews, reviews and content that we created for your delectation for series 1. Here then is a trawl through our Luxury archives from back in the day:

First off, a biggie! Noel Fielding and Channel 4 were kind enough to invite us along to the filming of  the first series. Here’s what went on when we were there (and there are a few teasers that you can watch while you’re in a viewing mood too – just click on the links in this sentence):

Next up, we got all intellectual as our in-house art expert, Lozzy Taylor, wrote this article about the myriad of artistic inspirations contained within the show. On the subject of art, some of you will remember our call for you to send us your Luxury-inspired artistic output. We were deluged with an incredible range of colour and creativity, which we collated into a gallery of fan-generated awesomeness. Take a look at it here; did you make it into the gallery?

© Lozzy Taylor

We were lucky enough to get the chance to talk to the very lovely Dolly Wells and Mike Fielding (in what is, by his own admission, Mike’s most honest and revealing interview) about their role in Luxury series 1. Plus we managed to persuade the interview-shy co-creater and director of the show, Nigel Coan, to talk to us about working with Noel.

We also ran profiles on Nigel and Tom Meeten, in case they and their work needed a proper introduction to their new army of fans.

Finally, we’ll leave you with this interview with Noel from Spring 2013, which we filmed while he was writing series 2. He talks about the reaction to the first series and his plans for the new one. It’s interesting to see just how much of what he said developed into the new shows:

Stay peeling, as we hope to bring you more exclusives for series 2!…

Coogan’s Run On Gold

28 Jul

© Sky Atlantic

Some of you may have seen Steve Coogan – The Inside Story on UKTV GOLD last Saturday evening – a look back at Steve Coogan‘s comedy career, with contributions from Reeves and Mortimer, Ben Miller, Kevin Eldon, John Thomson, Mark Williams, Matt Horne,  Julia Davis and many others.

Following on from this, UKTV GOLD is hosting Summer Nights of Coogan – every weekend from 9pm during August they will be showing a variety of shows from Steve Coogan, including I’m Alan Partridge, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible, The Trip, Paul Calf Video Diary, Coogan’s Run, Saxondale and Live Shows, so it really is a variety pack of Steve Coogan TV.

UKTV GOLD can be found on Sky channel 110 or Virgin 126.

Steve was a guest on Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Thursday to talk about the UKTV GOLD shows – the same day Noel Fielding was on talking about Luxury Comedy 2. Catch up here, Noel is on at – 01:38:05 and Steve is on at – 02:13:20.

Don’t forget you can stock up on all your favourite Steve Coogan titles at TVO Store.

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.

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.

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