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Parkinson & Eldon Join Crackanory Series 2

5 Jul

© Dave

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

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

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

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

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

The new series will air on Dave in the Autumn.

St Albans Welcomes The Baron & Philomena

1 May

The Baron, the short film directed by Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten and written by both of them, will be shown on Saturday (3rd May) as part of the St Albans Film Festival. The film also stars Steve Oram, Steven Evans and Barunka O’Shaghnessy, with music by Waen Shepherd and Nick Gillespie (Sightseers) as Director of Photography, so plenty of TVO connections there!

The film will be screened alongside 18 other films as part of the Programme of Main Shorts. This is divided into two parts – Beauty and Futility – and The Baron is in the ‘Futility’ section. Entry to see all the films, from 3pm to 7pm, is a tiny £8, so it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Philomena starring Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench will be shown at 7.30pm. The film has a special relationship with St Albans as the real Philomena lives there. Tickets for this are £6 – £8.

The Awards Ceremony and Closing Party takes place on Sunday 4th from 7.30pm until late. Tickets for this are £20 and include entry to the ceremony and party featuring Cassette Boy Vs DJ Rubbish, or for £10 you can attend just the party. Tom Meeten is nominated for the Best Actor award, so it might be worth going to both.

For information on times, tickets, venues and the rest of the extensive line-up for the Festival, take a look at the Programme.

If you can’t make it to St Albans and have not seen The Baron yet, you can watch it below.

Lucy & Rufus In Pond

12 Apr

Pond is a new Comedy Blap from Channel 4 starring Lucy Montgomery and Rufus Jones, written by Will Smith and directed by Gareth Tunley.

Described as “an alarmingly accurate insight into the TV industry”, it is a sitcom set in the treacherous world of modern television commissioning, a world filled with bullshitters and arse-kissers.

You can watch the full 10 minute show right here:

 

The Ghoul’s Cast Begins To Form

11 Mar

As filming continues apace on Gareth Tunley‘s directorial film debut, The Ghoul, a few more exciting cast details have emerged.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

The film, which is written and directed by Ealing Live veteran Tunley, features Tom Meeten alongside Alice Lowe, who was revealed to be part of the cast last month.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

Since filming began, it’s been revealed that they will be joined by a cavalcade of talented TVO regulars, with Rufus Jones, Rachel Stubbings, Waen Shepherd and Paul Kaye all shooting scenes for the picture in the last few days.

Also on board is comedy legend Geoffrey McGivern, who is perhaps best known as the original Ford Prefect in the radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but has also appeared in shows as prestigious as Blackadder The Third, 15 Stories High, Peep Show and A Bit Of Fry And Laurie.

© Andy Hollingworth

© Andy Hollingworth

His TVO connections are sound, too.  McGivern appeared alongside Waen Shepherd and Stephen Evans in Hypderdrive, as well as a regular role in Lab Rats alongside Dan Tetsell and Chris Addison.  Geoffrey was also involved in the first series of Big Train alongside Kevin Eldon, and more recently turned up as a useless lawyer in Sharon Horgan’s Dead Boss (alongside Aisling Bea), and cameoed in Holy Flying Circus alongside Rufus Jones. Wowsa.

So if you’re not excited about The Ghoul yet, you really, REALLY should be. We can’t wait to see the results, and of course, we’ll keep you updated as and when we can. Stay peeled…

Crackanother!

3 Mar

Anthology comedy Crackanory has been recommissioned for a second series, it has been revealed.

© Dave / UKTV

© Dave / UKTV

The show, which was made for and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, featured the cream of British comedy both involved with the short stories told across live action sequences or animation, and sat in a big ol’ Jackanory-esque chair telling the tales in the first place!

The likes of Harry Enfield, Charlie Higson, Sally Phillips, Rebecca Front, Jack Dee, Jessica Hynes, Hugh Dennis and Stephen Mangan were joined by TVO regulars Sharon HorganKevin EldonTom MeetenSteve OramAlex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

© John Willie Hopkins

Proving to be a huge ratings hit for the channel, with British Comedy Guide reporting that over half a million homes became regular views (up 82% on the channel’s average for the timeslot), it’s no surprise that the show is set to return in the Autumn.

The stars of series two have yet to be announced, but we’re holding out hope there’s still links back to Onion Land’s family of collaborators to make it a must-see.  In the meantime, Series One is being repeated from March 29th on Dave, so be ready!

The Ghoul Begins…

28 Feb

Pre-production is underway on Gareth Tunley‘s debut directorial feature film, which, naturally features TVO connections to whet your appetite.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

The Ghoul - described as a “dark, twisty, psychological thriller” is written and directed by Tunley, who needs no introduction for our regular readers, especially those who attended The Velvet Onion Live in 2012.

For the rest of you, however, he’s a gifted character comedian and veteran of Ealing Live who is equally adept behind the camera, with acting roles in the likes of The Wrong DoorDown Terrace and Kill List, and directing credits on CrackanoryThe Mainstage and The Cave Children to name but a few productions.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

He was also more recently responsible for the behind the scenes features around A Field In England, which can be viewed online, and can often be seen cropping up on the London comedy scene. All of which makes us very excited that he’s crafting his first feature film, especially considering last year’s stunning short film, The Baron.

Made with regular collaborator Tom MeetenThe Baron was a sensational re-imagining of an old live favourite, given a chilling yet hilarious twist, and The Ghoul sees Tunley & Meeten reunite, with Tom in the lead role.

The project is also set to feature another familiar face – the reigning Fairy Godmother of TVO, Alice Lowe, and camera tests, costume hunting and location scouting are well underway, with shooting due to start very soon.

For now, the project is shrouded in secrecy, and that’s as much as we’re allowed to tell you, but we’ll aim to bring you more news as soon as we’re able, so stay peeled. Until then, keep an eye on it’s official Twitter feed, and you can catch The Baron, co-starring Steve Oram, Stephen Evans and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, and with music by Waen Shepherd, below.

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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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

13 Nov
© uktv

© uktv

Tonight is the night that Crackanory makes its debut on  UKTV channel Dave – as we have mentioned before there are many TVO connections, including Kevin EldonTom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins.

As if that isn’t exciting enough we have also just found out that Waen Shepherd scored the whole series and Gareth Tunley directed a couple of episodes!

Described as ‘storytime for adults’ the series consists of six half-hour episodes split into two 15 minute tales, told by a guest story-teller sitting in a big comfy chair, a lot like Jackanory in the old days.

The stories are illustrated by live action sequences and animation, but will be dark, comedic, twisted tales written by well-known comedy writers including Kevin Eldon and Jeremy Dyson.

So don’t forget to tune in tonight at 10pm on Dave, and if you can’t make it, the show will be available on Dave on Demand. If you want to know more, pop over to the  Dave Website.

A Sneaky Peek At WarpFilms10

4 Nov

© Warp Films / Golden

A few months ago, we told you about the forthcoming WarpFilms10 boxset from seminal film production company Warp.  Made to celebrate the company’s tenth birthday, this deluxe presentation of some of their finest work over the past decade including a number of big movies from Onion Land.

The limited edition Book and DVD Set features exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs and unreleased archive materials, plus ten key productions from the Warp legacy.

To make it even more sweet, the book contains a foreword by Chris Hewitt of Film 2013 fame, and an exclusive interview with Warp Films creative bods Mark Herbert and Steve Beckett.

In chronological order, the set features: Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee, Bunny And The BullFour LionsSubmarine, Tyrannosaur, Kill List and Snowtown.

Mark Herbert, who also produced Four Lions and Submarine, will be signing and hand-numbering the first 1000 copies, to make the set even more collectible.  It will only be available on dvd, sadly (no blu-ray copies it seems for some reason!), and will retail at £95, but pre-orders can currently be placed for just £80.

It’s money well spent, we feel, and you can join the elite club of owners of this gorgeous bit of kit over yonder.  But just in case you needed any further persuasion, the good folk at Warp have very kindly sent us this exclusive preview of one of the book’s spreads on Bunny And The Bull - featuring previously unseen production stills featuring Edward HoggSimon FarnabyJulian Barratt and director Paul King.  Just click on the preview below to see a bigger version… enjoy.

© Warp Films / Golden

© Warp Films / Golden

Vote For The Baron!

11 Oct
© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

Last month we told you about the digital release of a new short film featuring Tom Meeten, called The Baron.

If you were at the Mighty Boosh’s recent gig at The Pleasance, you’ll have seen Tom in character as The Baron (clue; he was the one who kept himself tucked in).

A long-standing live favourite (also appearing in short-lived Channel 4 show Blunder), the character has been reimagined as a gothic comic drama via Tom Meeten and director Gareth Tunley.

Co-starring Steve OramBarunka O’Shaughnessy and Stephen Evans, it also features music from Waen Shepherd and photography from Sightseers cinematographer Nick Gillespie. Quite a stellar cast and crew, then, so it’s no surprise the film is a delight.

Now The Baron has been entered into the’ Driven Creativity Competition 2013, a UK scheme that rewards inspiring and driven creativity (various media). It recognises not only the aesthetic qualities of entries, but also the innovation and drive that went into creating each of them.

To vote for The Baron, click here (you simply rate the film via the simple star rating system).  On this page you can also see Tunley’s explanation for why he believes that the film would be a worthy winner. As he says: “With a budget of just £500 we faced many obstacles: an arduous night shoot without HMI lights meant we had to innovate every shot to make it work.” We think you’ll agree that the end result is pretty impressive!

If you’ve yet to see it, you can watch The Baron in full below.

The Baron Is Unleashed

24 Sep

The Baron - a short film by Tom Meeten and Gareth Tunley - is now available to view online.

© Gareth Tunley & Tom Meeten

Inspired by the character Tom used to frequently bring to life on stage (and in C4 sketch show Blunder), the short co-stars Steve OramBarunka O’Shaughnessy and Stephen Evans.  It also features music from Waen Shepherd and photography from Sightseers cinematographer Nick Gillespie.  

All in all, it’s an impressive lineage for a delightful short film that we’ve been itching to share with you since we caught a preview many moons ago.

Now you can download the tale of a downtrodden office worker dreaming of wreaking revenge in SD, HD or even a mobile variant via Gareth Tunley’s vimeo page, so get on over there and savour its delights, which you can also see below.

TVO Live Videos Part 9: David McNeill with Stephen Evans & Gareth Tunley

9 Sep

After a Summer break, it’s time once again to bring you more videos from The Velvet Onion Live!!

That star studded event in May 2012 featured the likes of Dave Brown, James Cook, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn Hall, Mike Fielding, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Laura Patch, Richard Sandling, Holly Jane Shears, Rachel Stubbings, Will Summers, Dan Tetsell, Gareth Tunley, Dolly Wells and the disembodied voice of Rich Fulcher.

We’re inching slowly but surely towards putting on more events in the future, and began showcasing footage from that glorious night of madcap fun earlier this year.  Then we got a little distracted on filming a documentary on the set of a certain forthcoming second series, and the videos had to go on hiatus.  Hell, if Doctor Who can do it, so can we!

So, enjoy the latest slice of lo-fi posterity, which just so happens to be one of the strangest parts of the evening.  Here, David McNeill explains the danger of David Chang, with help from Stephen Evans and Gareth Tunley.  It’s completely bonkers, but we loved it on the night, and we love it now…

If you missed our previous videos in the series, you can check them out via this handy playlist over yonder. There’s still plenty more to come, including the sets from Dan Tetsell, Waen Shepherd (as Gary Le Strange), Rachel Stubbings, Richard Sandling and James Cook, so stay peeled!

Peeder Jigson – Wrap Party

23 Aug

© Peeder Jigson

Peeder Jigson, the famous director of The Hubbard, has posted a video of the wrap party for the film, showing some lovely comments from the cast members.

While you’re watching, look out for some familiar faces, who might not be who they are supposed to be!

Also appearing are Simon Kane and Yonderland writer Toby Davies.

To see the wrap party in full swing, click here.

Geek Week Onion Leak!

10 Aug

The realm of Onion Land has sneaked into YouTube’s Geek Week virals.  The website’s latest themed collection is somewhat vague, but it has at least provided us with a couple of TVO nuggets.

First up is good ol’ Bob Pipe, with a chance for budding film-makers to look under the bonnet of short film-making and see the mechanics at work, in How NOT To Make A Short Film. The clip features the likes of Richard GloverGareth Tunley and Alex Kirk, and the score is provided by Waen Shepherd.  It’s typically very funny stuff, which you can see below…

Elsewhere, cult web show  Knighthood And Decoy (another great show from The Multiverse), has bagged itself an impressive guest star in the form of Chris O’Dowd, who appears as Knighthood’s long dead father.  You can see the madness below.

WarpFilms10

24 Jul

Seminal film production company Warp are celebrating their tenth birthday this year, and film buffs and collectors can savour a very special presentation of some of their finest work over the past decade, including a number of big movies from Onion Land.

© Warp Films / Golden

WarpFilms10 is a deluxe limited edition Book and DVD Set, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs and unreleased archive materials, plus ten key productions.  To make it even more sweet, the book contains a foreword by Chris Hewitt of Film 2013 fame, and an exclusive interview with Warp Films creative bods Mark Herbert and Steve Beckett.

The ten films included, in chronological order, are: Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee, Bunny And The BullFour LionsSubmarine, Tyrannosaur, Kill List and Snowtown.

Mark Herbert, who also produced Four Lions and Submarine, will sign and hand-number the first 1000 copies, to make the set even more collectible.  It will only be available on dvd, sadly (no blu-ray copies it seems for some reason!), and will retail at £95, but pre-orders can currently be placed for just £80.  Money well spent, we feel, and you can join the elite club of owners of this gorgeous bit of kit over yonder.

What Lies Behind A Field In England

13 Jul

We’ve tweeted about it previously, but reckoned that the set of masterclass videos for A Field in England are worthy of a post in their own right.

In keeping with the film’s unique multi-channel release exactly one week ago today, many of the ‘extras’ that one would typically associate with the on sale DVD have been shared, for free, via the movie’s website. Below, you can see a 20 minute ‘making of’ which includes interviews with the cast (inc. Julian Barratt and Richard Glover) and key members of the production crew. If you’ve already experienced the monochromatic tapestry of A Field In England, simply seeing  the locations and characters in colour is enough to blow your mind!

There are also dedicated in-depth sections of the Masterclass for each of the key parts of the filmmaking prices: Development, Pre-production, Shooting and Post-production. Just click on the words in the previous sentence to access each section, or click here to see everything in the Masterclass. It makes for fascinating viewing for fans of Ben Wheatley’s work in general – and this film in particular – but is also a must for anyone with an interest in the film production process.

If you can cope with any more excitement after that little lot, please allow us to amaze you further with the fact that the Masterclass content was directed by Gareth Tunley, a man with many other TVO strings to his bow. Impressive stuff, eh?

Soho Fantastico

5 Jul

© Mog

Wednesday night saw the hotly anticipated Club Fantastico, Steve Oram and Tom Meeten‘s wildly demented comedy show, take place at the Soho Theatre.

The TVO contingent were out in force, with a star-studded and appreciative audience that included Alice Lowe, Tony Way, John Hopkins, Noel Fielding, Dolly Wells, Nigel Coan, Kim Noble, Dan Clark, Arnab Chanda, Gareth Tunley, Waen Shepherd, Barunka O’Shaughnessy and Bob Pipe. Phew!

Reviewing Club Fantastico presents something of a challenge; it’s difficult to do justice to a performance that features the techno dancing antics of Shaun the Prawn, an apparatus for feeding peanuts to ladies from a distance, an mind-melting version of Paper/Scissors/Rock, a phonecall with a pet lizard and “..but I won’t go South of the River” as what could possibly be one of the best comedy catch phrases ever. It also features Mary, who we will continue to find hilarious until the end of time. For their charm, energy and downright silliness Oram & Meeten are hard to beat.

So instead of a written review, we thought we’d share a few photos from the night. We think they tell their own story!

© Mog

© Mog

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Brains Redux

1 Jul

Just as we had started to miss The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains - there’s a brand new version of it to savour!

The sitcom-sketch-hybrid from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans arrived on YouTube channel The Multiverse earlier this year, and featured a whole bevvy of TVO regulars in the cast.

Now some of the best bits from the short episodes have been put together into a 30-minute version, which demonstrates how wonderfully the concept would work on television.  Revisit the magic below…

If you missed it earlier this year, you can read our interview with Bob, James & Phil about all things Brains right here

Fielding England

28 Jun

© Rook Films / Channel 4 DVD

We’re officially a week away from the release of A Field In England - and the promotional junket is in full swing.

The film stars an ensemble cast in a tale of desertion, witchcraft and magic mushrooms.  Amongst that cast are TVO regulars Julian Barratt and Richard Glover, and we’re itching to see your reaction to the finished film.

Writer/director Ben Wheatley has been doing the rounds, talking to The Guardian last weekend, alongside Edith Bowman on 6Music with star Michael Smiley.  This week’s stop-off for Ben is with independent film website Director’s Notes.

We’re sure there will be many more interviews and reviews in the coming days than we can possibly keep track of, so do keep an eye on our Twitter page, where we’ll try and RT any we find!

In the meantime, console yourselves with our preview of the film from last week, alongside its gallery of images – and savour the delights of this deliciously wacked out alternate trailer.

Fans of Wheatley’s earlier work can catch Down Terrace - featuring Tony Way – and Kill List - featuring Gareth Tunley – on Film4 on Wednesday and Thursday night respectively, ahead of A Field In England‘s multi-platform premiere.

The film is, of course, released in cinemas on Friday, 5th July, and will be broadcast on Film4 that evening at 10:45pm.   It will also be available on VoD services, and dvd and blu-ray the same day.

Die-hard fans can pre-order the dvd and blu-ray, and a selection of Ben’s previous work including Sightseers, from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now.

PRE ORDER EITHER FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE COVERS BELOW.

© Rook Films / Channel 4 DVD

© Rook Films / Channel 4 DVD

TVO Live Videos Part 3: Gareth Tunley & Alex Kirk

14 Jun

Last month marked the first anniversary of The Velvet Onion Live – our inaugural live event, which will hopefully be followed by many more in the future.

That star studded event featured the likes of Dave Brown, James Cook, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn Hall, Mike Fielding, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Laura Patch, Richard Sandling, Holly Jane Shears, Rachel Stubbings, Will Summers, Dan Tetsell, Gareth Tunley, Dolly Wells and the disembodied voice of Rich Fulcher.

Over the coming weeks, as we inch slowly towards putting on more events in the future, we’re showcasing footage from that glorious night of madcap fun.

This week’s slice of lo-fi posterity features Gareth Tunley and Alex Kirk as painter/decorators turned film directors Ridley & Tony Scott.  Their tales of accidental Hollywood success had us all in stitches, and you can see why below.

This installment is dedicated to the memory of the real Tony Scott.

Come back each Friday for a brand new installment, and stay peeled for further developments of TVO Live: The Sequel, coming soon…

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