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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.

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!

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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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.

Crackanory Countdown

24 Oct

We’ve been talking about Crackanory for a few months now, ever since we found out about Kevin Eldon’s involvement in the project.

Recent information about the series – made by UKTV channel Dave – has revealed even more TVO connections, including Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins.

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.

Crackanory starts on Dave on Wednesday, 13th November at 10pm.

Click here to see a clip of Jack Dee reading Bitter Tweet, starring Steve Oram, and the trailer, containing glimpses of more TVO faces can be seen below.

More For Crackanory

25 Sep

Crackanory, a new comedy and storytelling show currently being filmed for Dave, has had a couple more TVO names added to its already impressive cast.

© John Willie Hopkins

As we previously posted, the show promises to put a contemporary, adult spin on the children’s  storytelling shows of the past and will star Kevin Eldon, among others.

Now, John ‘Willie’ Hopkins has tweeted photos of his and Steve Oram’s involvement in the programme. They will be appearing in a story written by Nico Tatarowicz, who has written for many comedy shows, including The Armstrong and Miller Show. The photo above shows the pair during filming, apparently “recruiting new band members.” We’ll have to watch the programme to see how that turns out!

Dolphin Porn

10 Sep

Through our work on The Velvet Onion we’ve had the pleasure of finding out that the artists and performers that we write about are amongst some of the loveliest people out there. One such individual is John Hopkins, comedy writer, director and performer (and the only man to have survived Old Gregg).

Hoppo was behind the recent BBC3 pilot For the Win, which provided the double comedy-whammy of including both Rich Fulcher and a sketch about tiny smiles, which still makes us laugh. A lot.

We’ve recently uncovered another sketch from Hoppo, which is as daft and unhinged as you would hope for, and indeed expect, from him. It offers an unusual slant on the traditional nature show, and features a couple of ladies hot under the collar for dolphins:

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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2012: A Year In Interviews

2 Jan

In 2012 we were lucky enough to get the chance to chat to a few of the artists that we write about on these pages. So here’s a look back at some of the year’s interviews – and the fascinating, colourful and revealing comments that were shared. A big thank you to everyone who gave us their time and permitted us to poke cameras and dictaphones in their faces – we couldn’t do this without you! 

© Dave Brown

“You kind of get sick of photographers going: ‘What about this? Let’s try a look. Gimme a look! thumbs up, relax that jaw, big smile, oooh, Cheeky! Whuhey!’ All that kind of crap. Whereas with this, it was the opposite and I think they enjoyed the novelty. I think there’s a certain power to looking moody.”
Dave Brown talks about the un-comedy portraits in his photography exhibition ‘Tough Crowd’

“You do sort of wonder how many more good dresses you can pull out of your wardrobe. I might just turn up to the next one looking like Tina and go: ‘Hi, everyone. I’m not actually a film star. I don’t have the wardrobe for this.’”
Alice Lowe discusses dressing for the multiple Sightseers premiers

“They keep going on! The London Film Festival was the gala screening, and I went to Cannes for the premiere there, which was very exciting. They had one last Thursday, which I couldn’t go to, and then this one tonight, which is being called the UK Premiere. I’m not sure what the difference is anymore, but it will be fun. I get to wear my suit again.”
Richard Glover’s take on dressing for the multiple Sightseers premiers

© Examiner

“That is completely Noel’s fault. I kept saying ‘Can’t I be called something like Jana or another German name?’ and he said ‘No, Dolly is better’ and he and Nigel Coan were absolutely certain that I was going to be called Dolly. I got really self-conscious about it, and in the early days of filming Tom Meeten enjoyed putting my name in every single sentence because I was so embarrassed about it.”
Dolly Wells squirms about playing a character called ‘Dolly’ on Luxury Comedy

“Before Boosh, I was the shyest person in the world. I was scared of my own shadow, I wouldn’t talk to anyone that I didn’t know. Boosh has made me who I am now. It’s given me an animated, childish confidence. People say that when you’re thirty, you can’t be stupid like that anymore, but who says? There’s no rules!”
Mike Fielding in introspective mood

“We thought we knew what we were doing – we didn’t – and suddenly we found ourselves on stage with all these people like Simon Farnaby. They assumed we must be good, so we had to come up with something. It was all an accident, no actual decisions were made.”
John ‘Willie’ Hopkins talks about his appearances at Ealing Live with Richard Glover.

© Amelia’s Magazine

“I’m not sure I have much of an opinion on mainstream music – I just don’t really listen to it! I imagine if I did listen too much I might not be too complimentary about it, so best not to get involved! Or maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. I think I’ll go and check out the charts RIGHT NOW!”
Sue Denim’s views on mainstream music

“You do get to see why it’s a bad idea to go and kill people, in a really cathartic way.”
Alice Lowe notes that Sightseers has a strong moral code 

“Maybe he doesn’t like the idea of being moody for me…the offer’s there, Paul, whenever you’re ready, stop body swerving me and get on your frown for Brown!”
Dave Brown courting Paul Foot for ‘Tough Crowd’

“Yeah. It’s not like I’m gonna go: ‘Well, actually, it’s funny you should say that. I’ve got a little pot of spunk in my pocket.‘”
Mike Fielding’s reaction to fans screaming at him that they want to have his babies

“My brother never stops talking. Usually about sweets.”
Noel Fielding’s analysis of bother Mike

“I’ve secretly always wanted to be in the S.A.S. A friend of mine used to say I could have been in the S.A.S. but on reception.”
Richard Glover talks about his alternative career path

“I’ve got my balls out on telly, they’re horrible things…I’ve got really dangly balls.”
Tom Meeten discusses his award-winning appendages

“Keep the faith! And let’s get The Boosh to make a film before they get too old and grey!”
Oly Ralfe’s message from NY to TVO readers

“Writing with Alice is like writing with your wife. It really is just like being with your wife, and arguing on holiday, whilst sightseeing, then writing it down.
Steve Oram’s take on writing Sightseers with Alice Lowe

© Big Talk Pictures

“I tend to write the first draft of stuff, then Amy totally rewrites it! She changes everything, and I’ve learnt over our twenty-odd year relationship to understand how that works for the greater good.”
Director Ben Wheatley’s approach to working with his long-term partner, Amy Jump

“We’ve got the power to take people on a journey – if we want to go to the moon, then let’s go to the moon for 10 minutes!”
Joey Page on the power of stand-up

© Marjorie Keak

“If a drama show goes out on TV and it’s not that good no one kicks up a fuss, no one goes ‘Whoever commissioned this should be shot. I want my license fee back!’ I could easily say that a drama that doesn’t engage me in the first five minutes is the same as a comedy that doesn’t make me laugh, but people just don’t mind as much – they just accept that it’s not their cup of tea. But rarely do people accept that about comedy!”
Dan Clark takes on the harsh critics of comedy

“There’s no limits with him, whereas when you meet an actor for the first time it can be a bit awkward to pull their trousers down or something. With Richard, you can punch him in the face, rape him, and he’ll still come back for more.”
Steve Oram shows his love for working with Richard Glover on Sightseers

“I’ve been looking at Noel’s face constantly for three years, and even I watch him and say ‘There’s NY Cop’. I don’t say ’There’s Noel doing NY Cop’. You’re not looking at Noel, you’re looking at the character. It’s pretty incredible because he’s got such a pointy, distinctive face.”
Nigel Coan, director of Luxury Comedy, talks about Noel’s character performances

“I can’t believe they didn’t have Minstrels!”
Mike Fielding

© Secret Peter / Channel 4

Hunted House

30 Oct

BBC Comedy have uploaded a scary Halloween treat in the form of comedy short Hunted House.

In reality, this clip was one of a number of sketches recorded by John Willie Hopkins for inclusion in an aborted Charlie Baker led comedy show, Funny Plus One, which taped a non-broadcast pilot at MediaCityUK last Autumn – which TVO were coincidentally present at!

Amongst its ensemble cast was none other than Colin Hoult - who you can see in the clip above sporting one heck of a bald cap.  He was joined by Will Andrews, Izzy Suttie, Mona Yousefi, Kerry Howard, Jason Lewis and Hannah Job.

One other sketch from the night – a brilliant parody of N-Dubz – was uploaded to the BBC Comedy YouTube page last December, but you can see the rest over at production company BigFaceTV’s website now, and we’ve included the other Colin featured clip below.

Big Face Strikes Again: An Introduction to John ‘Willie’ Hopkins

9 Sep

The world of comedy is an ever-changing, shape-shifting beastie. New talent pops up, develops, and is clasped to our Velvet Onion bosom – if it’s any good. But we get just as excited about discovering existing hidden talent in the nooks and crannies of the wider Booshniverse. Velveteers Paulyne and Mog bring one such hidden gem to today’s show and tell:

© Big Face Productions

John ‘Willie’ Hopkins (recently of For The Win fame) was first introduced to us as “The only man to have survived Old Gregg”. Once we’d finished our range of over-enthusiastic impersonations, we discovered that not only is Mr Hopkins one of those rare, genuinely lovely and naturally funny men, but his contribution to comedy and his linkage with other TVO artists is far, far greater than we ever imagined. What’s more, he was also the assistant director of Spiceworld…but that’s a whole different story!

John was part of the Ealing Live Alumni, a group of cutting-edge comedians who helped to light the performance touch paper for many of the artists who grace our pages, and who, still to this day, work closely together. To see for yourself the extensive reach of the Ealing Alumni, just take a look at the sub-category in our tags column!

During the Ealing Live days John partnered with (and indeed lived with) Richard Glover, and together they performed some brilliantly fun, quirky sketches: “We thought we knew what we were doing – we didn’t – and suddenly we found ourselves on stage with all these people like [Simon] Farnaby.” Laughs John. “They assumed we must be good, so we had to come up with something. It was all an accident, no actual decisions were made.”

We’re very excited to be able to show you an original Hopkins & Glover sketch from back in the day, featuring a fresh-faced duo!


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Splendid Specimens

6 Sep

© Magician Pictures Limited

Fresh excerpts from Splendid - the non-broadcast pilot made by Richard Glover and Stephen Evans – have emerged online.

Devised by Glover and director Dan Turner (Stormhouse, The Man Inside), back in 2009, with a writing staff including Jason Arnopp, Piers Beckley and the cast.

Sadly, it seems as many pilots often do in those fallow periods for alternative comedy, the show was not commissioned – though clips appeared on Funny Or Die some time ago… just click here to see Glover jollier than you may ever have before or will again!

Now, as interest in the pilot grows again – presumably part of the great new wave comedic resurgence spearheaded by Sky’s recent investments, which other broadcasters seem suddenly keen to investigate once more – more clips have emerged online via Stephen Evans.

The first three of these, including an appearance by John Hopkins, are below.  Enjoy.

For The Win Is A Winner!

30 Aug

© Big Face Productions

A wee while ago a very funny and fabulously silly pilot called For The Win graced BBC Three’s website. Now we’re delighted to be able to reveal that it’s going to be on the tellybox!

For The Win features several TVO favourites amongst its cast, including Rich Fulcher, Richard Glover and John Hopkins (who also co-created and directed/wrote the show)

John has said that he wanted to give For The Win the same attention and detail that goes into a live show: “Oddly, TV productions are often so much more rushed, due to money and other stuff, than a show on the live circuit would be. To me this is strange because TV shows are there forever,”  he said.

The pilot will be broadcast during the coveted late prime time slot on a Friday evening. Tune in to BBC Three on Friday 7th September at 22:00 to watch the show (and then, assuming you enjoy it as much as we did, bombard the Beeb with demands for a full series).

Thanks to the very lovely John, we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on one of the original sketches which was used to secure the pilot, and it includes some never-seen-before cameos from a whole host of well-knownTVO-related names… let’s just say you might be surprised who you see!

Take a look below, and we promise that you’ll be doing your own tiny smiles before the day is out…

If that tickled your funny bone, don’t forget to tune into For The Win on BBC Three on Friday 7th September.

Look out for more about John’s work on TVO soon; in the meantime, why not check out some of his other stuff here?

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