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Ayoade Goes Viral

23 Oct

Richard Ayoade has been on the publicity trail for his new book, Ayoade on Ayoade this week, with delightful results.

One stop off was at the Channel 4 News studios, where he discussed the book with Kirshnan Guru-Murthy.  Or, rather, he didn’t, because the rules of the news broadcast meant they couldn’t plug the book… and things got rather silly indeed. If you haven’t seen it yet – and it’s gone viral fast so you probably have – enjoy.

If you don’t have the book yet, you can pick it up now from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, and help keep this here website afloat. Cheers!

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.

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.

Gold After Dark

7 Sep
© gold.uktv.co.uk

© gold.uktv.co.uk

UKTV Gold are running a new late night strand at the weekends. Starting on Friday (5th), they are “celebrating the very best in dark humour and cult comedy classics every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11pm”.

There are a lot of TVO related people and shows, starting with the reason most of you are here: The Mighty Boosh will be shown on Friday nights at 11:40pm. It’s been a while since the show has been on TV, and I’m sure, like us, even though you have worn out your DVD’s, you’ll be tuning in!

Of course there’s nothing dark about our favourite show, but that can’t be said for the next TVO related offering – Nighty Night starts it’s run at 11:40pm tonight. The show, written by and starring Julia Davis, is described as “a West Country Fatal Attraction”, and also stars Kevin Eldon, Mark Gatiss, Ruth Jones, Angus Deaton and Rebecca Front among others. If you like watching your comedy from behind the sofa then this one is for you. It’s not for those of a nervous disposition, but is very funny once you get over how nasty Jill is.

Gold are also showing another Julia Davis dark comedy. Human Remains is written by and stars Julia and Rob Bryden as six different dysfunctional couples. The first episode follows Nighty Night at 12:35 tonight.

Today at 11pm sees the first episode of The League of Gentlemen (maybe the picture gave you a clue!). As you probably already know, this was the work of writer/performers Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and writer Jeremy Dyson. This one is definitely in the ‘dark’ category, but also very funny.

Saturday at 11.40pm is The Thick of It, starring Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Justin Edwards, Jo Scanlan, James Smith, Roger Allam and Alex McQueen. This is a dark political satire, with some laugh out loud moments.

Also on Saturdays at 1am is  The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Best just watch it and see what happens.

Also scheduled is 15 Storeys High, a flat-share comedy written by and starring Sean Lock and Benedict Wong (The IT Crowd), straight after The Mighty Boosh on Fridays.

To see the full schedule and more information about the programmes, see the Gold Website.

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.

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!

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!…

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.

Ayoade On Ayoade

7 Jul

© Larry Busacca / Getty Images North America

Richard Ayoade has confirmed he is to release a book… about himself.

Ayoade on Ayoade is part autobiography, part self-depreciating, self-aggrandising satire.  As the man himself puts it:  Would it be too much to say that my somewhat-wry prose has changed the way the film community thinks about itself (and indeed how it thinks about the concept of community)?

No. It wouldn’t. In fact, it’s actually pretty insulting that this so-called ‘Community’ hasn’t done more to acknowledge (or even begin to repay) its undoubted debt to me.”

Captures the director, writer and comedian in his own words: pompous, vain, angry and very, very funny – Ayoade on Ayoade will be released in October, and is available to pre-order via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now.

As per usual, buying from the TVO store helps keep the site afloat, so get your pre-orders in pronto! We’ll bring you more details as soon as we can, so stay peeled.

Ayoade Returns As Gadget Man

8 Jun

© Channel 4

He may have become one of the premiere indie film directors since the first series of Gadget Man, but that hasn’t stopped Richard Ayoade stepping up for a second series!

Last month a section for the show was recorded in a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Chingford, where Richard tried out a rather clever-sounding lambent shopping handle (you can read all about that here).

The new series is likely to air this Autumn; as soon as we can find out an actual transmission date, we’ll let you know. It remains to be see whether he’ll be inviting his TVO-connected buddies to accompany him in this series. We hope so!

In the meantime, you can feed your Gadget Man hunger by visiting Channel 4 here, where you can watch clips galore. There’s even an entire episode on youtube if watching short clips makes your brain dizzy.

And finally, while we’re talking about Mr Ayoade’s audiovisual output, why not take a look at this recent interview with him and Jesse Eisenberg (published last week), in which they discuss working together on The Double with Jian Ghomeshi. Admittedly it’s got nothing to do with Gadget Man, but we like to mix things up around here occasionally:

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

Regular readers of TVO might remember Paper People – cut out and keep paper models of your favourite TVO folk. We’ve just revisited the site and there are many, many more characters for you to cut out and keep. How many do you recognise from the pictures below?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on your own Wee Paper People, all you have to do is click on the website, download your favourites then print and assemble. Assembly instructions are on the site.

If you want something more personal, the creator of all these fantastic models, Sally Grosart, can make personalised little people of your friends and family, or personalised cards or banners. To contact Sally and see the rest of her creations click here.

BAFTA Wins For Ayoade & Parkinson

19 May

This weekend saw Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson pick up BAFTA TV Awards for their roles in The IT Crowd.

The duo were nominated for Best Performance In A Comedy Programme, in the Male/Female categories respectively.  Parkinson faced off stiff competition from Doon Mackichan (Plebs), Kerry Howard (Him & Her) and Frances De La Tour (Vicious) to collect her gong, which you can see below.

Things were even more heated in Ayoade’s category – especially as he was up against his co-star Chris O’Dowd, no less, as well as comedy heavyweights James Corden and Matthew Baynton for their roles in The Wrong Mans. You can see his typically self-dismissive speech filled with gags and praise for his collaborators below.

Sadly, The IT Crowd itself lost out on the title of Best Situation Comedy, as did Graham Linehan‘s more recent Count Arthur Strong and Matt Berry‘s star vehicle Toast of London - with all three being snubbed in favour of Him & Her: The WeddingNo, we didn’t see that coming, either… but well done to the team behind the BBC Three smash, and to all the winners on the night – which you can see in full here.

Hidden Comedy Gems

12 May

© BBC2

BBC2’s 50th anniversary celebrations have been bringing us moments of unexpected delight for the past couple of weeks.

It’s been an opportunity to look back on classic BBC2 comedy shows, some of which provided a launch pad for the artists that we write about – and last night was no exception, with BBC2’s Hidden Treasures.

The hour-long show featured early turns from Steve Coogan, Julia Davis, Matthew Holness, Richard Ayoade, Paul Kaye and Kevin Eldon. Just as excitingly, however, it gave us 60 glorious minutes of (mostly) the best surreal/bonkers/off-kilter comedy from the past 50 years. Milligan, Pete & Dud and early Fry & Laurie – wonderful stuff!

The programne is available to watch for 6 more days on iPlayer. If you like the type of comedy we write about (and if you’re reading this, let’s assume you do), it’s well worth a watch.

Ayoade Asked

9 May

This week Richard Ayoade guested on Reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything’.

The questions asked and answered via the online forum meandered from the sensible to the silly, with queries that encompassed everything from his TV work to whether he hides objects in his hair. To read about his “erotic, intense, salty” relationship with Chris O’Dowd and why he believes that a film of his life would be “more like a screensaver” – with lots more in between, click on this.

However, if you’re the kind of person that prefers their interviews in video form rather than typed, why not check out this interview from Late Night With Seth Meyers with Mr Ayoade, which aired earlier in the week?

© NBC

The Double – Rave Reviews

10 Apr

© Studio Canal

Since The Double was released last week there have been plenty of rave reviews and interviews with Richard Ayoade. Here are a few for you to enjoy:

Digital Spy say “If Richard Ayoade continues in this vein, we could be looking at a director to rival David Cronenberg and David Lynch during their prime”!

The Metro describe the film as “downbeat and tricksy”.

The Radio Times call it “visually arresting and utterly compelling”.

The Independent says “Richard Ayoade’s surreal film makes for twice the fun”.

And of course, not forgetting Mog’s interview with Richard from last week.

The Double is out in the UK now and will be released in the USA on 9th May.

You can now get a copy of the screenplay by Richard Ayoade and Avi Korine from TVO Store, where you can also pick up a film tie-in version of the original story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Bafta Bonanza

8 Apr

© Channel 4

The Bafta nominations are out, and there are many TVO connections to be found.

To begin with; The IT Crowd has 4 nominations, with Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson nominated for Best Male/Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, and Best Situation Comedy, where it shares the nomination with Toast of London and The Count Arthur Strong Television Programme.

Richard III: The King in the Car Park, featuring Simon Farnaby, is nominated for Best Factual Programme.

There are also nominations for Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong), and Doon Mackichan (Toast of London), for other roles.

In the Single Drama category, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Be Right Back, featuring Claire Keelan (Nathan Barley) and Mark Gatiss’s An Adventure in Space and Time, featuring Reece Shearsmith,  are both nominated.

A full list of nominations is here, where you can also vote for the Radio Times Audience Award.

Darkplace Live!

4 Apr
© Grimmfest

© Grimmfest

The lovely people over at Den of Geek have compiled a ‘where are they now’ about the cast of Darkplace to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show. You can catch up here.
Of course if you are a regular TVO reader, none of it will come as a surprise to you, as we give you regular updates on what the cast are up to these days.

Fans of Darkplace (and who isn’t?), who can get to Manchester, can treat themselves to a live screening of all 6 episodes followed by a Q&A session with Matt Holness and Alice Lowe! The event is on Sunday May 18th from 3pm to 10pm at Gorilla, Manchester.

Tickets are on sale NOW from Grimmfest, where you can also get more details of the event.

A Gentle Man: Interview With Richard Ayoade

31 Mar

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

© Michael Leckie

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

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

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

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

© Studio Canal

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

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