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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.

Unnatural Comedy Online

24 Mar

© Unnatural Acts

All decent proper fans of Boosh will be aware of Unnatural Acts, the late 90′s sketch show featuring a few Boosh members that was something of a precursor to the Mighty one.

What you may not be aware of, however, is the existence of a new Unnatural Acts youtube channel, which claims to be the “Home of some of the most subversive and innovative comedy acts in Britain…showcasing exclusive never-before-seen footage of comics and material considered too edgy for television.”

They premier a new sketch every Monday at 3pm that shows established acts (like members of The Mighty Boosh) as you’ve never seen them before.

Every Wednesday at 3pm they bring you extreme hidden camera stunts and experimental formats that push the limits of what television can show.

Although the content isn’t exclusively TVO-connected, a lot of it is. For instance, this afternoon’s sketch featured a youthful Noel Fielding snogging a deer (not a goat), and last week he could be found looking at Julian Barratt‘s balls:

There are also videos on there from Rich Fulcher (as Eleanor) and Kim Noble (doing fabulous things to Ikea furniture). To see more, visit Unnatural Acts’ youtube channel or follow them on twitter.

Onion Land Catch Up

11 Mar

The past week has seen a smattering of TVO regulars make appearances across television and radio we didn’t have chance to warn you about ahead of transmission, plus a couple of shows you should already be watching have been airing too.

As such, we thought it prudent to give you a quick catch-up, starting with the incredibly popular detective comedy drama Jonathan Creek. The show, starring Alan Davies as the titular sleuth, returned for it’s fifth series recently, with Davies now accompanied by his new co-star (and comedy legend) Sarah Alexander.

© BBC

Episode two, The Sinner And The Sandman, featured James Bachman as Rev Hugh Chater, whose vicarage is being plagued by tales of a strange hump-backed beast that has been seen prowling in the garden by night.  You can see the episode for yourselves via iPlayer now, and it’s also available to pre-order on dvd now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store for release next week!

Elsewhere, another veteran of Ealing Live cropped up on topical discussion show Loose Ends on Radio Four.  The show’s usual presenter, Clive Anderson, was absent, but in his place were Nikki Bedi and Emma Freud – who pronounced over a panel of very talented women.

© BBC

Film director Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham), actress Imelda Staunton (Pyschoville) and artist Victoria Melody joined our very own Katy Brand on the panel. Brand was discussing her long awaited crowd-sourced novel, Brenda Monk Is Funny, which can still be ordered over yonder. If you want to jump straight to Katy, you can find her 39 minutes, 40 seconds in on iPlayer now.

Sticking with the Beeb for a moment, let’s not forget that Inside No. 9 - the latest stroke of genius from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton – is almost at an end, with Episode Six airing this Wednesday (12th March).  Previous episodes – including appearances by Katherine Parkinson and Julia Davies amongst others, can be seen again via iPlayer now.

© BBC / Des Willie

© BBC / Des Willie

Inside No. 9 is also available on dvd as of next Monday, with pre-orders possible now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.  Shearsmith & Pemberton are also undertaking a dvd signing at HMV Oxford Street on March 20th, so if you want a chance to tell them how great the show is, and get a squiggle on your box, that’s as good a time as any.

That’s not the only BBC2 comedy of the moment to have TVO connections. The glorious Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle returned recently, and the inimitable comic genius is regularly grilled each week by Chris Morris in-between chunks of his stand-up routines.  Regular collaborators Kevin Eldon and Paul Putner are also involved, appearing in sketches at the end of every episode.

© BBC / Colin Hutton

© BBC / Colin Hutton

The first two – focusing on Shillbottle and a certain “political” party – are available to watch on iPlayer now, and we’ll keep you posted on an eventual dvd release.

Finally, for now, whilst we recently bid goodbye to House Of Fools, The Life Of Rock and The Midnight Beast, there are two other very fine shows featuring TVO regulars still underway on Sky channels.

© Baby Cow

© Baby Cow

Moone Boy is currently airing on Sky One, and features co-creator/writer Chris O’Dowd as the imaginary friend of a young boy in early 90s Ireland. A delightful little gem, this show has quite rightly won almost every award thrown at it, and if you can’t catch up via Sky Go, you can at least pre-order the dvd release, due out on March 31st.

Whilst it hasn’t yet won any awards, it would be criminal if the critically acclaimed Doll And Em doesn’t pick some up before the year is out.

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

Currently airing on Sky Atlantic, the show features Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer as hyper-exaggerated versions of themselves, and features cameo appearances from big name Hollywood stars as well as Tom Meeten, Laura Patch and Noel Fielding.

Again, the show is available on Sky Go, but there’s sadly no sign of a dvd release yet. It’s due to air on HBO shortly, so perhaps we’ll hear more then. Stay peeled… and if you see any shows with our regulars we miss, do get in touch so we can spread the word!

TVO Exclusive: Noel Fielding Ticket Pre-Sale!

4 Mar

The Velvet Onion is proud to offer you an exclusive ticket pre-sale for An Evening With Noel Fielding.

We were able to break the news before anyone else, so it seems only right that we should be able to offer tickets before anyone else too! In fact, we’re pretty certain you’re not even reading this sentence, so we’ll leave all the important info below the jump – just click on the picture below to buy your tickets, and come back afterwards for some more info!

THE PRESALE IS NOW OVER. THANKS FOR TAKING PART & SEE YOU AT THE SHOWS!

Due to various technical reasons, Wolverhampton is not included in this presale. TVO would like to apologise for this issue, as we were unaware of the issues surrounding this date until shortly before publication. There appear to have similar problems with Dublin and Cambridge, which are unfortunately outside of our control. For more info on the pre-sale’s finer points, check out the T&C at the bottom of this post.

Our announcement of Noel Fielding‘s tour at the weekend caused something of a furore, so we’re sure that link above will not be available for very long. Please also take a look at the T&Cs at the bottom of this post!

If you’re coming to us after the event, don’t fret – there’s still a chance to buy tickets for the show.  General release for all the shows currently announced is at 9am on Friday 7th March.

Some of you may also have spotted that Ents24 are offering a pre-sale 48 hours before that, at 9am on Wednesday 5th March. And if you miss all of these, there’s a strong possibility more dates will be added, so keep your eyes peeled and come back here on a regular basis to find out more… first!

And if you’re one of the 0.02% of people reading this who have no idea what we’re going on about, check out our earlier post about Noel’s tour, which will also feature the marvelous Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten as support. 

Both Fieldings, alongside Meeten and Dolly Wells, will be returning to our screens in the second series of Luxury Comedy in late-Spring, and you can see a sneaky, spoiler-free picture below.

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

That image comes from TVO’s time on set, filming exclusive interviews, taking tons of behind the scenes photos, and planning more surprises along the way – all of which will be revealed when the show returns, so stay peeled.

For the current full list of tour dates, see below.

* With the exception of Wolverhampton tickets should be available for all venues, though Ticketmaster’s system does have a tendency to miss a few out so try hitting refresh if your chosen date is not there.  The best estimate we can give for Wolverhampton is that the pre-sale will be online before midday tomorrow. Apologies to anyone who was hoping to purchase tickets for this venue in the pre-sale this evening.
* Please note that this pre-sale is being handled by Ticketmaster on behalf of The Velvet Onion. Ticketmaster are liable for all purchases and their standard terms and conditions apply (click on link to view). The Velvet Onion cannot be held accountable for any issues with ticket purchases.
* All seats will be numbered so you will be able to see where they are located before you buy. The pre-sale guarantees earlier access to the seating available through Ticketmaster’s allocation, but this is not necessarily the best seats in the venue. You will be able to see what seating you are being offered for sale before you buy and make a choice.

Tour News: An Evening With Noel Fielding

2 Mar

© Noel Fielding

You’ve been very patient. The odd date has leaked out, you’ve bombarded us with questions about it – and now, before anyone else (just!), we can exclusively reveal the details of Noel Fielding‘s live UK tour!

The new show, An Evening With Noel Fielding, promises a magical mix of Noel’s unique stand-up comedy, live animation, music, and some of his best-known TV characters, including The Moon and Fantasy Man. Support will come from the very capable hands of Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten (who boggled a few eyes and minds when he supported the Boosh at one of their London warm-ups last Autumn).

London folk have been lucky enough to see a handful of ad hoc live performances from Noel in recent years, but this will be the first time in many years that fans from further afield in Britain and Ireland will have had the chance to see his solo stand up. We’re expecting a fair amount of nationwide excitement from you Fieldmice!

The 20+ date tour kicks off in Guildford on Monday 20th October and  culminates in Dublin on 11th December. According to Noel “fancy dress is optional”. Go on, you know you want to.

Tickets go on general sale at 9am on Friday 7th March for £25, and are available through Ticketmaster and SeeTickets. We’ll let you know if there are any pre-sales before then.

The full list of dates and venues is below. So which one/s are you going to??

Clowns On Film

22 Feb

Exactly 1 week ago, Noel Fielding wowed the crowd at London Fashion Week with his modelling stint at Bas Kosters show. Today a short film of what went on has been released, so that we can witness Noel’s transformation into a Catwalk Clown.

You can view the film, by Joe Lynn, below. Enjoy!

 

Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Doll & Em

18 Feb
© Gina R Snape

© Gina R Snape

Today sees the UK launch of Doll & Em, the new dramedy from Dolly Wells & Emily Mortimer for Sky Living HD and HBO.

The show features its titular stars playing exaggerated versions of themselves, as well as showbiz cameos from Hollywood A-Listers and a few TVO regulars for good measure.

With Dolly Wells now residing in New York City, TVO’s East Coast correspondent Gina R Snape went in search of the Luxury Comedy star to talk about all things Doll & Em…

Dolly Wells doesn’t know it, but she’s on the verge of becoming a real New Yorker. Battling the subway, dealing with the horrific cold fronts and wave after wave of skin-scourging cold and snowstorms, it’s a far cry from the warmth of Los Angeles or the hot bright lights of the Luxury Comedy studio.

We meet to chat about Doll & Em, an extraordinary, complex six-part series written by and co-staring Dolly, with overtones of independent cinema: “my baby” is how she describes it. Sitting down over tea and chocolate, the conversation meanders from the making of this new TV show to the filming of Luxury Comedy and back again. Delightful and chatty, introspective and considerate, a conversation with Dolly takes many turns.

Discussing the inspiration behind Doll & Em, Dolly explains: “Basically, we wanted an excuse to hang out because Emily was living here and I was living in London and we’d both started having children and things. If we were going to be hanging out we had to be doing something to justify it to our families.  So we began sort of tepidly, if that’s the word. By the time we thought of this idea we’d been doing it for a long time.”

Inspired by the Harold Pinter play The Servant, and the film All About Eve, Emily began adapting the central concept from a variety of sources.  “We got really fascinated by people having assistants,” reveals Dolly.  “We’d hear stories about other actors, very successful actors, who’d have assistants and there’s just something innately funny about it. Of course, it’s a totally serious job, but there’s something funny about your job being somebody else. Because the person who is the ‘star’ is at some point going to behave like a child, or do something weird, the person working for them in that capacity is going to feel slightly resentful. So if you make it two best friends, who are completely equal…it felt like it was a massive canvass to put silly ideas on.”

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

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He’s A Model

15 Feb

Noel Fielding hit the catwalk today as part of London Fashion Week, modelling for the Amsterdam-based designer, Bas Kosters.

© minnaattala on intstagram

Noel famously wore one of the his colourful creations at 2013′s British Comedy Awards, so it made perfect sense that he should be part of the procession of psychedelic psychotic clowns which graced the runway this afternoon.

Noel’s had this to say about his modelling stint: “Felt like an Ewok today but fuck what a great show. Glitter red penis a highlight…show was fucking amazing. So proud to be involved.”

Why not beat this grey winter into submission by checking out the crazy colourful world of Bas Kosters via his website or twitter?

Preview Peeling: Doll & Em

11 Feb
© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

Next week sees the launch of Doll & Emon Sky Living HD.  Written by and starring Dolly Wells & Emily Mortimer, the show also features appearances by Dolly’s fellow TVO regulars Tom Meeten, Laura Patch and Noel Fielding, as well as a number of Hollywood stars.  

The first episode airs on Thursday 18th February at 10pm, and will be available on SkyGo from 10pm tonight (11th Feb).

TVO has been given exclusive access to the full series, and our spoiler free preview is below…

The great pantheon of work created by those we write about at The Velvet Onion quite often focuses on collaborations between friends and frequent associates.  Talent finds talent, and connecting the dots between the legends of alternative comedy is something which can span generations.  There’s a wibbly line right through the work featured on these pages which can, if you so wished to do so, be traced right back to the pioneers of silly: the Pythons, Goodies and Goons of yesteryear, even if our focus is on the last two decades or so.

Yet for all the talk of family: of Ealing Live, The Mighty Boosh and friendships forged in blood and sweat and late night petrol stations when a gig in the middle of nowhere’s gone awry, there’s one friendship which has remained untapped until now… and that’s that of Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer.

Though an actress for some time, we first came across Dolly as the stunning Methusula – wife of Head Shaman Dennis in Series Three of The Mighty Boosh.  From there came multiple roles in Star Stories and The IT Crowd, plus recurring roles in Free Agents and Campus and more recently Some Girls and Spy.

© Dave Brown / Secret Peter / Channel 4

© Dave Brown / Secret Peter / Channel 4

To many, though, she is simply Dolly – the German socialite friend of Noel in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.  Ahead of the second series of this candy-cane slice of liquid nonsense, comes a very different project which sees her first work with lifelong friend, Emily Mortimer.

Mortimer, of course, also started out as an actress in English television, before a series of film roles became increasingly high profile.  The 51st State catapulted her to stardom in America, which was followed up by roles in Match PointThe Pink PantherCity Island, Cars 2 and mega-smash Shutter Island.  Recently, she’s been appearing in the hugely successful HBO drama serial The Newsroom.

© HBO

© HBO

Through Doll & Em, which the two titular stars co-wrote with director Azazel Jacobs, the pair play hyper-exaggerated versions of themselves.  Emily is the movie megastar, currently filming a motion picture in LA with John Cusack and a hot-shot director who is adamant his film is not a female version of The Godfather.

Dolly, on the other hand, is not an actress, but a lifelong drifter whose nasty break-up with her slimy ex (played by her Luxury co-star Tom Meeten in a series of increasingly cringe-inducing cameos), gives Em the perfect idea.  In need of a break, Doll becomes Emily’s assistant, and whilst at first all seems cozy, it’s not long before the cracks in this set-up begin to show.

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

What begins almost as the pitch for a romantic comedy, complete with Doll and Em both falling for the same man, turns in a surprisingly different direction.  There’s a sense of British awkwardness abroad, and some scenes do perhaps play as broader than others – a seemingly disastrous encounter with a legendary actress, or Dolly getting locked out of the house springing instantly to mind – but the naturalistic tone soon takes hold and allows the flowing narrative room to breathe.

Those celebrity cameos never seem to get in the way, perhaps because they’re not handled the way a show like Extras did it.  Andy Garcia, Susan Sarandon and John Cusack are there because they’re acquaintances in Hollywood, not to bag ratings or give the actors a ‘wacky’ moment to play on.  Similarly, the appearance of Noel Fielding in the final, London-based episode doesn’t feel shoehorned in, even if his surreal suggestions for a great night in are so typically Noel!

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

It’s this naturalism that makes the show stand on its own legs, as the slow burning dissection of a lifelong friendship takes hold of Dolly and Emily.  As Doll starts to find her feet both on set and as a mature woman, Em’s own insecurity begins to take its toll.  A string of bad luck moments bring out her selfish side, which in turn causes a similar reaction in Dolly, and the two actors rise to the challenge of portraying this on screen beautifully.  When they finally confront one another in the penultimate episode, you feel for them both equally, and their mutual despair is heartbreaking.

If there’s one complaint, it’s with the show’s format.  With each episode only twenty-two minutes long,the piecemeal mini-plots do seem to be over so very quickly.  Where this show will shine, perhaps, is in its lifespan after broadcast: the digital age actively encourages marathon gorging sessions, and at just over two hours, it’s very easy to just sit back and let the whole series run through.

Indeed, TVO watched the series pretty much back-to-back, and the end result was reminiscent of an independent feature: you could re-cast this with Laura Linney and Catherine Keener, put it out in arthouses as a two-hour feature and it would still work, even though we’d be missing those glorious central performances.  Doll & Em just has that amount of class. As such, it will be interesting to see how it takes hold of an audience tuning in each week, as the nuances of the story may be clearer without the weekly gaps in broadcasts. We’re definitely hoping for a blu-ray release so we can revisit this world in one go once again.  

Throw in a cheeky little appearance from Dolly’s other long-standing collaborator Laura Patch, and perhaps this is a show to set your DVR for, and swallow whole, but if you’d rather not do that, then stick with this it to find something you’ll treasure for a long, long time.

Doll & Em airs on Thursday 18th February at 10:00pm on Sky Living HD.  It will be available exclusively to Sky Go customers from Tuesday 11th February at 10:00pm.

Fielding’s Fabulous Feline

29 Jan
cat art show sign © Trixie

cat art show sign © Trixie

Lucky Angelinos have another opportunity to get an up close and personal look at an original work by the talented Noel Fielding. The painting, Bubblegum Cat At The Cinema, is part of The Cat Art Show in trendy West Hollywood.

The exhibition is at 101/exhibit gallery located at 6025 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles,  90038.  Admission is free and opening times for this last weekend are from 12-5 on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 2.  There is plenty of available street parking in the surrounding area.

Susan Michals © Trixie

The Cat Art Show is the creation of Susan Michals, a New York art journalist.  The art show celebrates the fabulous feline, and demonstrates the impact that these mysterious creatures have on our everyday lives, thoughts, and emotions.  The cat is viewed, and venerated, from the perspective of world-known artists, and takes shape and form in paint, print, textile, and a variety of other interesting and thought-provoking mediums.

 The gallery is light and airy, and the art is well placed and hung so it is easy to see and appreciate from all angles.  The experience is light-hearted and enjoyable, and you’ll leave with a different and fuller understanding of our often inscrutable friend, the cat

© Trixie

© Trixie

Ailurophiles will be glad to know that a portion of the show’s proceeds will benefit Stray Cat Alliance of Los Angeles.  The art is available for purchase;  you can also buy souvenir posters to hang in your own gallery at home, and if you’re interested in owning an original Fielding painting for yourself, visit Tania Wade at Hooligan Art Dealer

Fielding fans, and feline fanciers, don’t miss your chance to see this incredible exhibit this coming weekend!

Breezing To Inner Joy With Barratt

29 Jan

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

On Monday night Julian Barratt played his first ‘solo’ live show in a considerable number of years. Tickets for the gig sold out fast, but we made it our duty to be there and report back. Of course we did. Here then is our review:

It’s only a few short months since we were lucky enough to witness The Mighty Boosh‘s reformation downstairs at the Soho Theatre. In the same location on Monday night we had the privilege of experiencing another return to live performance involving Julian Barratt.  Generally viewed as  ‘the one who’s less keen on gigging’, it was a rare and real pleasure to see him on stage.

He performed under the guise of Jon Breeze, a flakey new age lifestyle guru, resplendent with blond flowing (nylon) locks, box fresh slacks and linen slip-ons. Bowls of pine nuts and water refills were provided for the audience by his earnest brigade of white-clad helpers, or “Wellness Companions” (Oly Ralfe, Stephen Evans, Will Adamsdale and Matt Steer).

Over the course of the evening Breeze guided us through a series of modules, designed to relax our inner selves and re-connect us to “now”. Occasionally this took on the form of song, with deadpan musical accompaniment from Ralfe and Evans – a particular highlight.  Evans’ hissy fit and off stage strop was a delight.

At the start of the evening one did wonder whether the premise could be stretched across an entire show; but the perfect attention to detail, Barratt’s ability to continuously delight our minds with surprising strings of words (“The distant scream of saffron” was a particular favourite of ours), and the on-stage chemistry that he radiates simply by being there meant that the giggles built and the joke crystallised over the course of the evening.

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

The nonsense that Jon Breeze spouted was ridiculous enough to be entirely credible, which was part of its joy. People’s handwritten troubles were pulped in a blender to create a “worry smoothie” and “now cloaks” were offered to anyone who felt themselves to be at risk of “overflowing”. You get the gist. By the final module, which involved a fretless bass (allegedly the instrument that vibrates at the same frequency as the vulva…), the audience was putty in Breeze’s hands.

What binds this character to Barratt’s other creations is his pomposity. From Howard Moon to the Mayor in Government Inspector and various others in-between, Julian has a real skill for portraying characters who can’t hide that they believe themselves to be above the rest of us. Exactly the kind of people we enjoy laughing at, though not necessarily with; and that’s not a complaint.

The other fascinating aspect to watching Julian perform solo for the first time in many years is being able to better appreciate what he and Noel Fielding bring to the Boosh as individuals. It felt a bit like suddenly being able to understand how red and blue combine to make purple. That’s not to say that their independent creative output should only be assessed against the Boosh, of course – but it was interesting to observe nonetheless.

Jon Breeze’s modules were punctuated by short set pieces by Adamsdale and Steer (as unsuccessful jobbing actors), TVO favourite Steve Oram (as borderline headcase and cleaner at Millets HQ, Jeanette) and Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan (as a couple of Mark Morrison-singing priests).  Although it took a moment for the audience to adjust into and out of these breaks, the changes of pace that it offered worked well.

The show ended with a joyous singalong to ‘Come With Me’ (a little strange to begin with, given its provenance as a Boosh song), with the audience being invited to follow the performance up into the theatre bar – and then out onto the streets of Soho, to the bemusement of passers’ by. A gloriously silly finale for a gloriously silly evening.

Whether Jon Breeze has the same lifespan as some of Barratt’s other creations remains to be seen, but if he chooses to extend this show beyond a one-off in the West End, definitely try to see it!

Cat Art Opens Today!

25 Jan

© Noel Fielding/Hooligan Art Dealer

A wee while go we mentioned that a pop up art show about cats would be opening in LA in January. And today’s the day!

The reason that we’re writing about it is that the exhibition features one of Noel Fielding’s paintings: Bubblegum Cat at the Cinema. Noel’s painting will be jostling for wall space with the creative output of a whole bunch of art world A-listers, so his inclusion in the show is a testament to his profile as an artist.

In due course, we hope to bring you a review – and if we can get away with it, a few photos of the exhibition, but in the meantime we thought we’d offer up a round up of some of the coverage the show has received (click on each link to read in full): The Daily Beast provides an overview of some of the featured paintings and describes how this gallery wont be your typical, clinical white space; Fast Company speaks to the exhibition curator, Susan Michals; There’s also  longer interview with Michals about the show on Catster.

You can indulge your love of feline artworks at the Cat Art Show today (25th) 7-10pm and tomorrow (12-5pm), then again next weekend (1st and 2nd February), 12-5pm. It’s taking place at 101/exhibit gallery, 6025 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, and the show is free of charge (a portion of net proceeds will be going to benefit the Stray Cat Alliance of Los Angeles). You can also follow the show on twitter.

If you’re interested in owning an original Fielding painting for yourself, visit Tania Wade at Hooligan Art Dealer.

Reverse Angle Approaches

22 Jan

A new exhibition of the work of Andy Hollingworth will be on display in Chester next month.

© The Andy Hollingworth Archive

© The Andy Hollingworth Archive

Here at The Velvet Onion, we have a great love for the work of the photographer. And indeed, for Andy himself – one of the nicest men in the business.

We’re not alone, either – as his work and general personage have been embraced by the comedy fraternity up and down the country.  The Chester based artist has been responsible for some of the most memorable shots of comedic greats over the last decade or so, including a number of our regulars – from The Mighty Boosh to Gary Le Strange and back again.

Now there’s a chance to see some of his finest work in one place.  Reverse Angle:  Andy Hollingworth Portraits 2005-2014 will be on display at The Grosvenor Museum, Chester from 1st February through to 11th May 2014, and features just about everyone who is anyone from Eric Idle to Noel Fielding.

For more info, keep an eye on Andy’s website over yonder, and you can see him in conversation with Justin Moorhouse below.

The Bleedin-Great-White Polar-Bear In The Room

5 Jan

No, we don’t do elephants. Too cliché.  We’re here to talk about The Mighty Boosh, and we’re sure most of you know why.

© Baby Cow Productions

© Baby Cow Productions

It all started on Sunday morning, when at the bottom of a pile of showbiz drivel on their website, The Daily Mail ran a short piece, that didn’t even warrant a photograph: too busy touting shots of pop-stars no-one cares about.

It read, and we quote:  “Fans of cult TV series The Mighty Boosh will be thrilled to hear that its stars are at last putting together a script for a big screen version.  Almost two years after Noel Fielding, 40, who plays Vince Noir in the quirky comedy, announced plans to turn the show into a film, he and co-star Julian Barratt are finally putting pen to paper.  ‘We’re going on tour early in the New Year and we’ll be working on material that hopefully could make a movie,’ says Julian, 45.  ‘We want to make something great for the fans.’”

Now, quite understandly, this vexed us something chronic.  Was this, perhaps, Julian Barratt being assailed on the red carpet at the première of The Harry Hill Movie last month, chronically misunderstood?  Or was there more to it?

Naturally, we went digging.  And whilst other comedy sites picked up on the story – both Chortle and British Comedy Guide (merely doing their job of course) publishing pieces based on this seemingly random quote – we spoke directly to Boosh management, who very kindly confirmed this was a no-go story.

And then, as if by magic, the boys themselves got in on the act.

First off the block, came Dave Brown, and Bollo himself had some heartwarming words of wisdom for us all…

Then before we could say a word, in waded Noel Fielding himself, who was by now being named as the person who spoke to the Mail by other publications, with a succinct denial…

So that’s that, then.

As much as we ourselves look forward to whatever the Boosh have got planned in da foocha, we nevertheless must confirm that, at present, any talk of future plans is just that: talk.

The Boosh will be loose, and a little bit raw at some point in our future.  The movie is always an ongoing concern, the album is in the can and waiting for the right moment to be released, and the success of their live dates in September and October proved there’s life in the Sunshine Kid and Captain Corduroy yet.

BaP0gDaCQAELQGx

© Paul Holmes / The Velvet Onion

But for now, we must be patient.  Series two of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy nears completion, and though a challenging first series polarised opinions, we’re confident the show is bigger, bolder and above all else, better than before – and we can’t wait for you to see the results.

Indeed, we visited the set last summer for another of our stonking video exclusives, which we’ll be bringing you in due course, along with a whole host of other Luxury related goodies as soon as we can.  The moment is being prepared for, and when the time comes, we’ll do the same for the Boosh return too.

When it happens, you’ll be ready… and that’s because we’ll still be here, keeping you abreast of everything else the boys, and the numerous fine and wonderful comics who encircle them are up to on stage, television, film, radio, online and in print.

There’s so much to savour, it’s hard to believe there’s been so little Boosh activity since TVO started four years ago.  We think all these other projects keep things ticking over rather well, don’t you?

But here’s the thing…

As of today, there are no confirmed live dates.  There’s no confirmed movie details.  There’s no plans for the television series to return.  The album release remains in limbo.  
The only reason we’re posting this now is to make that absolutely clear, so no more fans get caught up in the false excitement that the original article, and subsequent recycling online has created.
The Mighty Boosh are back on hiatus, but this could change at any time.   And as Dave suggests up above, with any luck we’ll be amongst the very first to know.  
And therefore… so will you.
Stay peeled.

Festive TV Catch-Up

5 Jan
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

There were some great TV programmes on over the Festive period, many featuring TVO favourites. We’ve posted about most of them, but there’s still the opportunity to catch up on many of the delights:

Most recently, Kevin Eldon took part in Celebrity Mastermind, if you didn’t see it on Thursday, you can catch up here.

Kevin popped up again during the festivities as Doctor McFee in Death Comes to Pemberley, which is still available on BBC iPlayer.

The Christmas edition of Lee Mack’s Not Going Out featured Katy Wix and can be viewed here.

Charlie Brooker reviewed 2013 in 2013 Wipe, although not featuring any TVO related people, Mr Brooker has written many great shows featuring TVO artists.

There was also a re-run of Ambassadors, starring Robert Webb and David Mitchell, with a scene stealing guest appearance by Mr Michael Smiley. You can catch this episode – and the others – on BBC iPlayer.

Matt Berry fans had plenty of opportunities to see and hear the man himself on New Year’s Eve, first Matt was in the final episode of The IT Crowd – also available on 4OD along with every other episode of The IT Crowd and the special documentary, The IT Crowd Manual, which was broadcast on Christmas Eve.

This was followed by Matt narrating The 50 Funniest Moments of 2013, which is now available on 4OD. Then to round off the New Year celebrations, Channel 4 showed every episode of Toast of London, also available on 4OD.

Rich Fulcher popped up as a commentator on The 50 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians on Channel 5. This featured clips from a wide variety of comedians spanning the years up to the present. You can catch up with this on Demand5.

Rich also presented 2013 Mashed on Channel 4, which also featured a sketch by Hayden Black. Again you can still see this on 4OD.

And of course there was the Big Fat Quiz of The Year featuring Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade – on the same team! If by any chance you missed it, there’s still time to catch up on 4OD

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Four

4 Jan

Hello and a warm welcome to the final part of our Review of 2013. Although October to December may feel like it only just happened, prepare to be amazed by how much you’ve forgotten. We were, but then we’re getting on a  bit.

So here are the best bits from the fourth quarter of the year – cherry-picked from news stories about both our regulars and a few new faces too. Enjoy.

OCTOBER

October was the month that Booshmania returned.  Just as the fantastic Behind the Boosh exhibition started its run at Proud Camden, showcasing the history of that most Mighty of comedic troops via the majesty of Dave Brown‘s photography, the boys were back in town.  Or rather, on the pier, as The Mighty Boosh went from the Soho Theatre to Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme in LA. A final (chaotic) UK warm-up show and a further run through at The Comedy Store, almost halted by a Visa saga, paved the way for a live performance that turned out to be one of the Festival’s highlights. Fan forums and social media platforms were buzzing with photos, footage and reviews of the show.

Another announcement that got us more than a bit over-excited in October was the news that Ben Wheatley is to direct the first 2 episodes of the next series of Doctor Who, starring the new Time Lord, Peter Capaldi. How good is that!?  We’re itching to see what happens when you combine one of the UK’s finest directors with its biggest export, now in the capable hands of an Oscar-winning acting legend to boot.  You can see the moment Capaldi became the Doctor in the 2013 Xmas special below…

More telly stuff, with the launch of Matt Berry’s new series, Toast Of London.  We’d been itching to see it since the pilot back in 2012, and it did not disappoint…

Elsewhere, Richard Ayoade established himself as a permanent fixture on prime time panel shows with a stint as team captain on Was It Something I Said? on Channel 4. Ayoade’s intellectual sparring with host David Mitchell certainly made our Sunday evenings feel a bit more highbrow!

What else?  Well, in movie news, there was an update on the cast for Paul King‘s long-awaited Paddington Bear feature film, which included mention of Rufus Jones and James Bachman. To end the month, TVO artists offered us a veritable smorgasbord of comedy options for Halloween night’s out, with special spooky performances from Colin Hoult and Richard Sandling.  And we were sad to lose the talented comedy actor Felix Dexter, who died at the too-young age of 52. He left behind an incredible legacy of great TV performances on shows like Bellamy’s PeopleAbsolutely Fabulous, The Fast ShowKnowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge, Mongrels and Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round to name but a few. He will be much misse, and would typically hate all this fuss about him, so let’s remember him with one of his silliest moments – dancing for Sport Relief alongside Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery.  What a dude.

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Three

3 Jan

If you’ve previously taken a mosey through Part One and Part Two of our Review of 2013, you’ll already be aware that it’s been a busy old year in Onion Land. July to September was no exception, with news, reviews, new shows and live performances from both our regulars and the new names on our roster.

So here are the best bits from the third quarter of the year – hand-picked from over 700 news stories across 2013, and jam-packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike. Enjoy.

JULY

The month began with the release of Dan Clark‘s debut album, Dan Clark & The Difficult Three, which had been funded via a successful Pledge Music campaign. Combining genuinely funny lyrics with proper tunes played by a bona fide band, the record offered fans of Clark’s musical comedy an opportunity to re-live some of his live show classics and enjoy some newer compositions. For a wee taster, here below is a live recording of ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ (and if you fancy buying a copy of the album, head on over here):

We also featured a series of introductions to the TVO-recommended artists you could see at 2013′s Edinburgh Fringe. We intentionally mixed up the folk who we already write about with the people who we define as “beyond the Onion”; those featured included Colin Hoult, Tony Law,  Paul FootSpank, Joey PageAisling Bea, Late Night Gimp Fight, Tim Fitzhigham, Jonny & The Baptists (+ Jonny Donahoe), Pete Heat and Glen Wool.

On 19th July the world of comedy sadly lost one of its pioneers, in the shape of Mel Smith. Whilst Smith’s contribution to modern comedy is undeniable, we can also claim a link between him and the TVO family, with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew’s first TV sketches being written for Alas, Smith And Jones. You can watch one of them below:

In terms of new TV and film projects, this month saw the release of Ben Wheatley‘s hotly-anticipated follow-up to Sightseers, the psychedelically historical A Field In England, which launched simultaneously in cinemas, on TV and on DVD on 5th July.

Filming also began on the second series of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and the Marmite-like TV adaptation of Graham Linehan’s Count Arthur Strong also hit our screens. Chris O’Dowd continued with his world domination of the airwaves with a role in the part-improvised US sitcom Family Tree:

Finally, fans of The Mighty Boosh got all hot and bothered over Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt‘s first live performance together since 2010 when the pair performed at The Barbican at a concert to honour the musician, Beck. Expect a bit more of the Boosh boys down below (honestly not as rude as it sounds)…

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

Yesterday we brought you a round-up of the first quarter of 2013, as we’d probably forgotten half of it ourselves, let alone you lovely lot out there.  The second quarter provided loads more great things to celebrate, so we’ve been ploughing through TVO’s archives to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This second instalment of our round-up covers April-June, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

APRIL

April, or Ape-ril as it was renamed by the Sumatran Orangutan Society, began with a plea from TVO regulars Dave Brown and Tony Law to grow your beard as large as possible.  This was, of course, in aid of ape conservation: we are all 96.4% Orangutan after all…

The facial hair theme continued apace, with some of Onion Land’s most mighty beard-wearers being active this month.  First up, Paul Kaye hosted a short exhibition of his art, with TVO attended the star-studded press night to admire his work and have a quick chat to the man himself, though sadly his hectic schedule postponed our latest catch-up… we’re gonna get ya in the new year, mate! Kaye also became the latest big name to join the cast of hugely acclaimed fantasy show Game Of Thrones, as warrior Thoros of Myr.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Whilst the world got increasingly excited about his (then) forthcoming film A Field In EnglandBen Wheatley did the last thing critics expected, and made a string of commercials for Go Compare, further proving he works on his own terms ahead of one of the oddest films of 2013…

Another beardy Onion layer up to good things this month was Matt Berry, who was quietly preparing to unleash his new album, Kill The Wolf. May and June would see an awful lot of Berry activity, but April was no push-over, either.  First off, his radio series I, Regress… returned to the airwaves, and he went on to release the first snippet of his new album with a track called The Devil Inside Me

He wasn’t the only one returning, either. Rhys Thomas brought back his incredibly popular Radio 4 show Down The Line for a fifth run – the sixth if you include short-lived tv spin-off Bellamy’s People. Once again it featured Thomas’ fellow Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and the late, great Felix Dexter. Also along for the ride were Look Around You star Robert Popper, Big Train(and It’s Kevin) actress Amelia Bullmore, Citizen Khanwriter Adil Ray, and another TVO regular (and Rhys’ wife), Lucy Montgomery.

Also back this month were Boosh veterans and indie-folk legends The Ralfe Band, who released the single Come On Go Wild from their new album, Son Be Wise, and toured as support to Manchester’s finest ever band, I Am Kloot.  A video for the single followed on 1st May, which can be seen below.

This month also saw us bid farewell to Life’s Too Short, which returned for a one-off special at Easter. Sadly lacking in Matt Holness magic (Matt was a regular in the show’s first and only series), it nevertheless found the time to bring back Colin Hoult as Warwick Davis‘ useless psychic, Brian. Also along for the ride were telly veterans, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson, as well as former Batman star Val Kilmer. A fine send-off, then, for a show that ended way too soon.

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

2013 has been a funny old year in Onion Land. We’ve seen our regulars scoop bucketloads of awards, from Best British Film at the Empire Awards to International Emmy Awards and everything in-between. Some names on our roster have reached new heights of success, becoming household names to people who have no idea of their cult origins. Others have just continued being quietly amazing, but all of them have been worthy of your attention.

As a result, we’ve been ploughing through the 12 months of TVO, to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This first instalment of our round-up covers January-March, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

JANUARY

The year began quietly, with the only key new show on the box being, on the surface, designed for kids. FIT was a sports-based sketch show on CBBC from the team behind Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, and featured TVO regulars Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast. For the most part, however, it was the involvement of Peter Serafinowicz - reprising his beloved cult character Brian Butterfield – which got everyone’s attention…

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael SmileyDan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby turned up in the very-much-for-grown-ups cyber-thiller Utopia on Channel 4. The show concerned itself with attempts to trace the only known copy of a graphic novel which left a trail of bloody carnage in its wake. With Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar part of its ensemble cast, as well as Kill List actor Neil Maskell as a creepy hitman, and The Thick Of It‘s Paul Higgins as a blackmailed civil servant, the show became an instant cult hit, and will be returning for a second series in 2014.

Closer to home, and the good folk of Onion Land seemed keen to dish out advice. Comedic agony aunt Rachel Stubbings was offering specially crafted miniature versions of herself for sale to anyone in need of a friendly ear. Or, to be more exact, a bit of unemotional plastic which happened to look a bit like her, in a variety of costumes. The Stubby Buddy was a quick sell out, though something tells me we won’t be seeing them in the shops next year…

Elsewhere, conceptual artist and Luxury Comedy star Kim Noble was offering handy tips on how to buy an oven

And as Bowie-fever gripped the world, James Cook released his own, haunting interpretation of Mr Jones’ classic track, Ashes To Ashes

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Toast The New Year!

31 Dec
© Kuba Wieczorek

© Kuba Wieczorek

If you are staying in for New Year and like Matt Berry then you are in for a treat tonight!

Channel 4 are hosting The 50 Funniest Moments of 2013, where celebrities and others choose their funniest moments of the year. The whole show is narrated by Matt and runs from 11.05pm until 1.05am, so will see you into the New Year.

Following this is the complete series of Toast of London, Mr Berry’s surreal, fantastic sitcom about an eccentric actor and those around him.

For even more Berry goodness, tune into 4seven from 9pm, when you can watch the last ever episode of The IT Crowd – The Internet is Coming, followed by the people’s choice episode – The Work Outing and Graham Linehan‘s favourite episode – The Final Countdown.

This takes you nicely to 11.05pm and The 50 Funniest Moments ….

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