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The British Comedy Awards – Tonight!

16 Dec

Tonight sees the 2014 British Comedy Awards take place in Wembley, with broadcast taking place on Channel 4 tomorrow evening – and as ever, there’s a huge chunk of TVO nominees.

© Kuba Wieczorek

© Kuba Wieczorek

As we’ve mentioned previously, Matt Berry is up for a bevvy of awards – with a whopping six direct nominations for him, Toast of London and his one-off BBC sketch Lone Wolf. His Toast co-star, Harry Peacock, is also nominated for his role in the show, as is House of Fools in which he co-stars alongside Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Dan Skinner. We’re expecting big wins for Matt tonight!

Also up for nominations are Aisling BeaSpencer Millman (via The Inbetweeners 2 and Man Down), Katherine ParkinsonHarry and Paul’s Story of the Two’s (which featured Justin Edwards), Inside No. 9 (from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton), Cardinal Burns (featuring Rufus Jones and Fergus Craig), Moone BoyThe Trip to ItalyHorrible Histories - we could go on!

© BBC

© BBC

In fact, every nomination for Best Sitcom, and three out of four nominations for Best Sketch Show have direct links back to our regulars, so we’re almost certainly in for a celebratory night!

TVO will be cramming ourselves into the press pit to talk to the talent on camera, for a video report we hope to bring you very soon. Good luck to all the nominees, especially those we feature and that we – and you, dear readers – love.

For the full list of nominees, see below. Anyone with a direct TVO connection is highlighted, so you know who to cheer for most!

Moone Boy S2

Best Sitcom

House of FoolsMoone Boy The Trip to Italy | Toast of London

Best Comedy Panel Programme

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Have I Got News For You QI | Would I Lie To You

© Channel 4 / Jules Heath

 Best Sketch Show

Cardinal Burns | Harry & Paul Story of the Two’s | Horrible Histories Monty Python Live (mostly) – One Down Five to Go
 

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe | Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle The Graham Norton Show | The Last Leg
© BBC

© BBC

Best Comedy Drama

Inside No. 9 Rev | The Wrong MansUncle

Best New Comedy Programme

Inside No. 9 | Man Down The Wrong Mans | Toast of London

Best International Comedy Programme

Girls Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Modern Family | Veep

© BBC

Best Internet Comedy Short

Brand New Morph | Carpark | How To Make A Hit Pop Song | Matt Berry: Lone Wolf

Best Comedy Film

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues | Pride | The Inbetweeners 2 | The Lego Movie

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality

Adam Hills Alan Carr Ant & Dec  Graham Norton
© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

Best TV Comedy Actor

Harry Enfield Matt Berry Matthew Baynton Paul Whitehouse

Best TV Comedy Actress

Doon Mackichan Jessica Hynes Katherine Parkinson Zawe Ashton
©  Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

© Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

Best Male Television Comic

David Mitchell Lee Mack Sean Lock Stewart Lee

Best Female Television Comic

Aisling Bea Bridget Christie Isy Suttie Nina Conti
©  Objective / Channel 4

© Objective / Channel 4

 Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist

Harry Peacock | Joe Wilkinson Matt Berry Nick Helm

Best Comedy Moment of 2014

8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown | Harry & Paul’s Story Of The Two’s | Monty Python Live | Toast of London | Would I Lie To You

The British Comedy Awards 2014 take place tonight in Wembley, and will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Wednesday, 17th December from 9pm.

So Hot Right Now #9

8 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

THE RETURN OF BRIAN PERN

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

This week sees the long awaited return of Brian Pern to our screens, in the brand new series Brian Pern: A Life in Rock.  As always, the show is the brainchild of Fast Show veterans Rhys Thomas and Simon Day, the latter of whom plays the titular prog-rock legend turned hapless world music pioneer and obscure charity fundraiser.

Whilst the first series, The Life of Rock with Brian Pern focused more on telling the story of rock across the generations in documentary format, the second shifts its tone to be more of a candid look at the life of Brian, and those around him.  This includes his luxury yacht loving manager John Farrow (brilliantly brought to life by Michael Kitchen), world music goddess Pepita (TVO regular Lucy Montgomery), Brian’s former bandmates in Thotch (including Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Havers as Pat Quid and Tony Pebble) and his driver Ned (Tony Way).

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Also along for the ride this series are big name guest stars Martin Freeman, Jack Whitehall, Kathy Burke, Roger Allum, Kevin Eldon, Chrissie Hynde, Mel C, Roger Taylor, Roy Wood, Rick Parfitt and more. TVO devoured all three episodes in one sitting, and can confirm this is a joyous continuation of a much loved character, with a wonderful set of supporting characters filling out his world, and once more – some glorious tunes (courtesy of Steve Burge) in the mix.

You’d be mad to miss it. And if you tune in to BBC Two on Tuesday evening at 10pm, you won’t.  Stay peeled this week for an exclusive interview with creators Simon Day & Rhys Thomas, and maybe a word or two from Brian Pern himself…

COMEDY COLLAB

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

If you haven’t caught up with Colin Hoult‘s unique blend of dark humour and outright silliness yet, you’ve probably not been reading TVO properly. First coming to our attention via his work with Julian Barratt & Dave McNeill on Zimbani, the character comedian has crafted numerous sell out live shows and appeared on our screens in shows as varied as House of RoomsDerekLife’s Too Short and Being Human.

Now he’s back with some of his most beloved live favourites, preparing for an onslaught of sheer characterness on his own YouTube channel.  Five days a week, Colin will be posting a new vlog from one of the strange people in his mindtank, starting today!

Mondays will bring us a new video from the delightful (if failed) actress Anna Mann, whilst Tuesdays are a chance to get some expert tips on survival, scriptwriting and what movies you must all watch on pain of a poke in the eye, from Ninja Turtle fan Andy Parker.

On Wednesdays, everything will be coming up Saint Germain, as we get a little jazzy with our favourite beret wearer, Eddie Cartizian. And on Thursdays, its time for care in the community, as the Mighty God Thwor weilds his powerful hammer in our direction. Bang, bang.

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

Finally, each Friday will bring us a surprise guest from Colin’s oeuvre, including new characters and old favourites – some of whom you may remember from his excellent radio series Carnival of Monsters, which is due back on Radio 4 soon. You can see the first episode, featuring Anna Mann discussing her old actress friend Miriam Crotch below, and don’t forget to subscribe to see more!

ONIONS AIRING

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

As we’re keen to keep reminding you, there’s a large bevvy of shows currently airing with TVO connections.  Monday nights see not one, not two, but three new shows to savour beaming into your homes: Trollied on Sky One at 8:30pm featuring Aisling BeaNever Mind the Buzzcocks on BBC Two at 10pm, featuring Noel Fielding alongside Phill Jupitus and Rhod Gilbert; and Toast of London on Channel 4 at 10:35pm, featuring Matt Berry.

©  Sky

© Sky

But wait – there’s more on telly this week! Psychobitches continues on Sky Arts every Tuesday evening, featuring Sharon Horgan, Katy BrandReece Shearsmith and many many more, whilst Not Going Out featuring Katy Wix returns to BBC One on Friday evening. It’s a good time to be an Onioner, eh?

HOOKED TO THE SILVER SCREEN

Don’t forget that Paddington - directed by Paul King and featuring a host of TVO cameos amongst is big-name cast – is currently wowing the crowds in UK cinemas, having taken a whopping £5.1 million in its opening weekend alone!

© Studio Canal

Alongside Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman et al, are little sneaky guest appearances by Alice LoweSteve OramTom MeetenJames BachmanSimon Farnaby and Justin Edwards – so you’d be mad to miss it.

Also out at the moment are Bill Murray vehicle Saint Vincent, featuring Chris O’Dowd, and a film which almost sneaked past our radar – submarine-based action thriller Black Sea starring Jude Law, Tobias Menzies, David Threlfall and Michael Smiley. US readers can see the film, alongside Paddington in January. Check out the US trailer below.

THE BRAIN SUCKING CONTINUES

Finally this week, the campaign to get a movie version of The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains off the ground needs your help to reach its goal, and we’ll leave you with this clip of TVO regular Stephen Evans to explain why.

DONATE HERE!

Keep on peeling, and we’ll see you back here soon!

TWEETS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Gold After Dark

7 Sep
© gold.uktv.co.uk

© gold.uktv.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Between The Inbetweeners

10 Aug

© Bwark Productions

It’s hard to miss the current PR onslaught for the new Inbetweeners movie. But did you know that there are a few TVO connection with the film and its cast? Please allow us to enlighten you…

First up is a connection which we’d probably categorize as ‘Type A': the Second Unit director of the Inbetweeners 2 movie, Spencer Millman, was also the producer of The Mighty Boosh.

(We assume that Spencer’s experience of  keeping the Boosh gang under control may have come in useful on this latest project too!)

Next is a TVO connection with Channel 4 show Friday Night Dinner, which stars actor Simon Bird (Will from The Inbetweeners). We spotted that Laurie Rose is the Director of Photography on the latest series. Rose is director Ben Wheatley‘s ‘go to’ DOP for most of his productions, many of which feature a bevy of TVO folk.  What’s more, series 3 of Friday Night Dinner also included two further TVO faces, in the shape of Paul Kaye and Dan Skinner. If you missed them, you can still watch all of the series 3 episodes on 4oD.

And finally, a connection from a year ago, in the shape of a short film called Straw Donkey. We covered it at the time, but for those of you with a short memory, the film features TVO people  Tony WayLaura Patch and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, alongside Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas (Simon from the show). It also includes a cameo from Justin Edwards too, just for good measure. If you missed it, take a look below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5ewBP1SOI

The Fringe Is Upon Us!

31 Jul

This Friday sees the launch of the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and as always, a number of TVO regulars are joining the thousands of shows on offer throughout August.

With new shows from the likes of Dan ClarkRachel Stubbings, Kim NoblePaul FootJoey PageSarah Kendall and Tony Law on offer, plus plays featuring Stubbings and Justin Edwards, it’s a pretty packed schedule for Onion fans, and there’s a whole host of other great shows to look out for too.

As such, we felt it was a good time to summarise some of this year’s juiciest offerings, for those of you unsure of what to see from a stuffed to the gills festival.

The TVO Regulars

© Feature Spot Productions

© Feature Spot Productions

DAN CLARK: Me, My Selfie and I

The star of How Not To Live Your Life reinvented himself last year as a fully fledged comedy rock star, with a critically acclaimed album under his belt containing such classics as Pippa and Tranny With Amnesia.  Now he’s back to what he does best: upbeat, slightly filthy but downright heart-warming stand-up. His new show focuses on “love, death and crushing loneliness”, but in typical Dan style, you’ll leave feeling good about life.

Pleasance Dome – 8:20pm, Aug 1-12, 14-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Avalon Promotions Ltd.

© Avalon Promotions Ltd.

I KILLED RASPUTIN

Written by comedy legend Richard Herring, this new play focuses on Felix Yusupov, conspirator in the murder of Rasputin, being interviewed by American journalist EM Halliday over fifty years later in 1967.  The former richest man in Russia is now reduced to making money from his tall tale, and Halliday is determined to finally reveal the truth.  The Thick of It star (and Ealing Live veteran) Justin Edwards stars alongside Nichola McAuliffe.

Assembly George Square Theatre – 3:35pm, Aug 1-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© IMWP

© IMWP

PAUL FOOT: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major

It’s often hard to quantify the components of a Paul Foot show, so we’ll let the magic mind of Mr Foot do the work for us here:

“Glistening in the wake of last night’s pearl saga, premium line – caught Sally’s clam fist choir socks it to the salt babes big time baybayyyy. Cutlery cage enquiries? First come, first preserved.”  Well, quite.

Underbelly, Cowgate – 7:30pm, Aug 1-10, 12-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Mick Perrin Worldwide / PBJ Management

© Mick Perrin Worldwide / PBJ Management

SARAH KENDALL: Touchdown

She came. She saw. She conquered the Newcastle and District Under-14s Touch Rugby Competition.  The former Beehive regular and stand-up veteran is back with a look back to 1992, when she was forced to play Women’s Touch Rugby and accidentally made minor history.

Another unmissable hour with one of Australia’s finest exports.

Pleasant Courtyard – 9:30pm, Aug 1-10, 12-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Tony Law / Show and Tell

© Tony Law / Show and Tell

TONY LAW: Enter the Tonezone

Ah, Tony. The Tonester. The Tonezone. Ealing Live veteran turned surrealist stand-up comedy demigod, the truth about the ToneZone is you either enter it willingly or you stand at the entrance, looking confused and miming indicators that you’ve lost your wallet and will have to give it a miss.  His latest show offers life affirming, changing comedy, and a promise of ‘Testicle Ankle’. Don’t ask, just savour it.

The Stand Comedy Club III & IV – 12:10pm, Aug 1-10, 12-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Soho Theatre

© Soho Theatre

KIM NOBLE You’re Not Alone

Kim Noble is a comedic law unto himself, and never one to rest on his laurels, he’s propelled his work into multi-media performance and film in recent years.  You’re Not Alone continues down this path, taking audiences on a journey throw tower blocks, supermarkets and Facebook as the star of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Luxury Comedy chronicles his attempts at connection, friendship and employment at B&Q.

Traverse Theatre – 11:15pm, Aug 19-24

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© PBJ Management

© PBJ Management

JOEY PAGE: This is Not a Circus

Self-proclaimed as “everybody’s 18th favourite absurd comedian”, Joey Page has been grafting a solid reputation for himself since his early appearances as a protégé of a certain luxurious comedian.  Appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and a few seconds as a burnt sausage here have only served to increase the fanbase built up by steady gigging nationwide, and his latest technicoloured extravaganza is as silly and irreverent as ever.

Underbelly, Bristo Square – 10:45pm, Aug 1-11, 13-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Live Nation / Mike Leigh Associates

© Live Nation / Mike Leigh Associates

RACHEL STUBBINGS: Doing It for Himself

First coming to our attention via her work with Alice Lowe on Jackal Films, Rachel Stubbings became a cult icon for her Stubbing Out Problems web shorts and Edinburgh show, before branching out as an actress and film-maker in her own right. This year she returns to Edinburgh with a show about her trial by error existence, as she tries to become a cool independent woman, all by himself.

Underbelly, Bristo Square – 3:00pm, Aug 1-11, 13-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Pure Theatre LLP

© Pure Theatre LLP

THE 3RD SECTOR

As well as her own standup show and the first five performance of Knightmare LiveRachel Stubbings will also be appearing in satirical play The 3rd Sector during the festival, which is inspired by real-life experiences and brought to life by Pure Theatre Productions.  It tells the story of Marlin and Josh who discover their role in a corrupt corporate charity, and examines the ethics of giving when we donate first and ask questions later.

Pleasance Courtyard – 12:15pm, Aug 1-10, 12-25

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

Other Recommendations

TVO is designed to focus on a family of frequent collaborators, but that’s not to say we don’t enjoy a number of other comedy acts on the circuit.  The Edinburgh festival gives us a rare chance to shout out about some names we don’t normally get to feature, including several who often share the bill with ‘our lot’.  If you’re still looking for shows to see beyond the main bunch above, you could do a lot worse than following some of our suggestions below.

© The Pleasance / PBJ Management

© The Pleasance / PBJ Management

CARDINAL BURNS

Following on from their smash hit second series for Channel 4, which featured TVO veteran Rufus Jones, no less, the cult favourites return to Edinburgh for a limited eight night run towards the end of the festival.

Expect a smattering of old favourites and potentially some new material ahead of a third telly run.

Pleasance Courtyard – 22:00pm, Aug 15-17, 19-23

For tickets, CLICK HERE!

 

© Anil Desai

© Anil Desai

ANIL DESAI’S Last Night at the Movies / Not Indian Enough

The globe-trotting impressionist returns to the Free Fringe circuit this year, with over 50 movie star impressions mixed into stand-up stories of comedy, action, adventure and romance in Last Night at the Movies, plus a second show, Not Indian Enough featuring all new stand-up material from the gifted mimic, comic talent and all round charming gent.

Formerly of sketch troupe The Giant Pineapple Boys, and presenter of James Wren’s Spank! at previous festivals, Anil was also a supporting cast member on Goodness Gracious Me, so be in no doubt of his prestige due to his commitment to the free fringe.  Getting one free show from Anil was impressive, getting two is phenomenal!

Not Indian Enough: Cowgatehead – 5:00pm, Aug 1-24
Last Night at the Movies: Laughing Horse @ City Cafe – 8:00pm, Aug 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-24

Free show, for details CLICK HERE!

 

© The Grandees

© The Grandees

THE GRANDEES: A Creepshow / BaBoom!

Not one, but two new shows from the rapid fire sketch trio described by Hen & Chickens head honcho (and TVO regular) James Wren as “The most inventive, creative, bonkers group I’ve seen since we had the Boosh.”

The trio all appeared in TVO classic The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains, and Marny Godden was also in Kill Phil earlier this year, so the TVO connections are strong, marking them as one to watch.

A Creepshow lets the team go dark with creeps, crawlers and chaos, whilst BaBoom! is the latest installment in their sketch comedy madness. See both.

A Creepshow: Heroes @ The Hive – 8:45pm, Aug 1-11, 13-24
BaBoom!: Underbelly, Cowgate – 4:00pm, Aug 1-11, 13-24

For A Creepshow tickets, CLICK HERE! For BaBoom! tickets, CLICK HERE!

 

© Lee Griffith

© Lee Griffiths

LEE GRIFFITHS: Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder / LATE NIGHT GIMP FIGHT: The Worst Of

The biggest crime against comedy nature this year is the lack of a fully fledged show from Fringe veterans Late Night Gimp Fight – TVO favourites and smashing blokes one and all.  But whilst we have to contend with a humble three-night best of from the team, one Gimp is bringing his own unique brand of stand-up to life in his own right.

Lee Griffiths (aka the ‘Head Gimp’) promises a messy, dark and (he hopes) funny show which will unclog the nonsense from his head, and explain in detail why his family is more messed up than yours.

Lee Griffiths: Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder: Pleasance Courtyard – 7:15pm, Aug 1-24
The Worst of Late Night Gimp Fight: Pleasance Courtard – 11:00pm, Aug 21-23

For Lee Griffiths tickets, CLICK HERE! For Late Night Gimp Fight tickets, CLICK HERE!

© Supporting Wall

© Supporting Wall

JONNY & THE BAPTISTS: The Satiric Verses / JONNY DONAHOE: Class Whore

Earlier this year, musical satirists and generally lovely chaps Jonny & The Baptists got into an awful lot of hot water, by pissing off a ‘political’ party with a camptastic disco number.  The duo’s brilliant UK tour subsequently had to be manned by heavy security, and they stoked the fires a little further by collaborating with Mark Thomas to campaign to get ‘farage’ entered into the dictionary as another word for ‘bin juice’. Use it – it’s fun.

Now they’re back in Edinburgh with their latest concoctions. Expect musical treats galore – and if you can’t get enough Jonny, you can see his 2013 solo show ‘Class Whore’ for free towards the end of the month.  Their show will also be transmitted to cinemas nationwide, so stay tuned for more info on that when we get it!

Jonny & The Baptists The Satiric Verses: Pleasance Dome, 9:40pm, Aug 1-10 12-24
Jonny Donahoe, Class Whore: Cowgatehead, 7:30pm, Aug 12-16 19-24

For Jonny & The Baptists tickets, CLICK HERE! For free Jonny Donahoe tickets, CLICK HERE!

And that’s just the tip of the ice berg! With great shows from Nathaniel Metcalfe, Lou Sanders, Susan CalmanAndrew O’Neill, Will Adamsdale, Gareth Morinan and many more on offer, we can’t help but tell you to just take in as much as you can beyond the big guns.  You just may be watching the big stars of tomorrow.

Enjoy the fringe, everyone!

Peacock Season: Edinburgh From the Comfort Of Your Sofa

3 Jul

© FMW Films

A wee while ago we mentioned that Peacock Season, the movie by and featuring James Wren, alongside a bevy of TVO-related comedians, would soon be available to view via Distrify, a site which allows you to buy films via social media. Well now it’s on there!

The film follows the story of advertising executive Keith Graham (Wren). When he’s fired from his job a chain of events leads to him taking a stand-up comedy show to the Edinburgh Festival.

This comedy about comedy was shot on location at the Festival and features a cast of festival veterans, including:

Dan Antopolski, Scott Capurro, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Justin Edwards, Felicity Wren, Pete Firman, Paul Foot, Richard Glover, Joy Gohring, Richard Herring, Adam Hills, Sammy J, Fergus March, Phil Nichol, Lucy Porter, Millie Reeves, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and James Wren himself.

To buy or rent the film and/or view the trailer visit this place.

Fifty 2

20 May

This coming weekend sees the culmination of BBC 2’s anniversary celebrations from a TVO perspective, as the fifty year old channel revives some of it’s biggest comedy smashes for a series of one-off specials.

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

Top of the hitlist is Harry & Paul’s Story of the 2sa one-off special from comedy legends Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, poking fun at everything BBC2 is famous for.  Revisiting and parodying around fifty different shows from the channel’s illustrious history, there are over 150 different presenters, actors, comedians and politicians being lampooned in just under an hour.

It all looks like fantastic fun, and Onion fans will be pleased to note Enfield & Whitehouse have recruited Justin EdwardsKevin EldonRhys ThomasLucy Montgomery, Simon Greenall (Alan Partridge, Alice’s Wunderland), Catherine Shepherd (The IT Crowd, The Peter Serafinowicz Show), Rowland Rivron (French and Saunders) and music superstars Jeff Beck, Damon Albarn and The Klaxons for good measure.

You can catch the show on Sunday evening at 9pm, and it will be available on iPlayer after transmission. A selection of stills – including one of Justin Edwards as a later-in-life, portly Orson Wells, can be seen below.

Story of the 2s is not the only show airing either – with a two-part compilation of The Fast Show sketches made for Fosters Comedy airing on Friday and Monday.  Made in 2011, these reunited Paul Whitehouse with co-stars Charlie Higson, Arabella Weir, Simon Day, John Thomson, Caroline Aherne and Rhys Thomas, as well as bringing Lucy Montgomery along for the ride as well.

© Tyson Benton

© Tyson Benton

The first batch of six mini episodes aired in late 2011, with six more following in Spring 2012. TVO even ran a competition to win a signed script, though by now all of the videos have been removed from YouTube, so these broadcasts will be the first chance to catch the episodes in some time.

Part one airs on Friday at 10pm, with Part Two on Monday following a one-off special of seminal comedy classic Goodness Gracious Me - starring the original lead cast of the 90s hit: Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia, Kulvinda Ghir and Dave Lamb.

© BBC / Gary Moyes

© BBC / Gary Moyes

For those unaware of the show, it ran for thee series and a special between 1998 and 2001 following two series on BBC Radio Four, and explored the conflict and integration between traditional Indian culture and modern British life to great acclaim… the dvds are still regularly watched here at TVO HQ, so if you’ve never seen it we can’t recommend it highly enough even without any links to ‘our lot’!

And that’s not all – with Saturday night featuring a two-hour celebration, 50 Years Of BBC Two Comedy, airing from 9pm.  Looking back at the channel’s greatest moments from The Likely Lads to W1A, the talking heads clip show will no doubt feature a TVO face or two, amongst countless other comedic legends.

© BBC

© BBC

Contributors include Ricky Gervais, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Alan Alda, Vic and Bob, Rebecca Front, Alexei Sayle, Mitchell and Webb, The Goodies, Catherine Tate, Bill Bailey, Ian Hislop, Sarah Millican, Dara O Briain, James Corden, Rob Brydon, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Armando Iannucci, Prunella Scales, Charlie Brooker, Paul Whitehouse, The League of Gentlemen and many more… so you’d be mad to miss it.

From all at TVO then, Happy Birthday BBC Two, and thanks for all the funnies…

 

Gutpunch Launched

15 May

A new short film featuring TVO regulars Rufus Jones and Justin Edwards is to première in Los Angeles tomorrow.

© Escape Films / BFI

Gutpunch tells the story of a 15 year old boy called Adam who discovers his biological father could be any one of the desperadoes from a 1980s video dating quest, and sets off on a suburban quest to find the man he can call ‘Dad’.

It stars Christian Lees as Adam, alongside Jones & Edwards and Rebekah Staton – best known for her appearances in SpyHunderby, Pulling and Doctor Who.  Written by Andrew Yerlett, the short is directed by Adrian McDowall, with producing duties handled by Michelle Eastwood.

Made as a collaboration between Escape Films and the BFI, it is set to première at the LA Comedy Shorts Festival tomorrow, with tickets available now.  We’ll aim to bring you more news on screenings and online links as soon as we have it, but in the meantime, keep your eyes on the official Gutpunch Facebook page for videos, photos and much more.

Monk-day Approacheth!

12 May

This week sees the broadcast of the new pilot episode for revamped project, Monks, featuring TVO regulars Fergus Craig and Justin Edwards.

© Anna Brabbins / BBC

© Anna Brabbins / BBC

As we’ve mentioned previously, the project has been on-and-off for 14 years, no less – first appearing on radio as Hey Hey We’re The Monks - a one off episode of BBC Radio 2’s Comedy Showcase.  Co-written by Danny Robbins (We Are History) and Dan Tetsell (Mongrels, Lab Rats), this pilot starred none other than future megastars Bill Bailey and Catherine Tate, yet it has never been repeated… lost into the ether (and the BBC Archives, we hope!).

Eight years later, and a non-broadcast tv pilot version featured James Corden, David Bamber, Geoffrey Whitehead and the addition of TVO regulars Fergus Craig (Colin and Fergus, Star Stories) and Justin Edwards (The Thick of It, Lifespam).  Sadly, the show was not commissioned, and that, it seemed, was that.

Until January of this year, that is, when a new attempt at the format was filmed at Elstree.  Standup and Mock The Week regular Seann Walsh is the new leading man, starring as benefits cheat Gary Woodcroft, who joins a religious order to avoid a jail term, only to find his choice of Rudley Abbey is just like prison, but with added praying.

Also along for the ride are Spaced veteran Mark Heap, The Vicar Of Dibley‘s James Fleet, former Have I Got News For You host Angus Deayton and, once more, Mssrs Craig and Edwards.   It’s all gloriously silly fun in the traditional sitcom mould, so any fans of Graham Linehan’s output or more mainstream fair like Miranda and Not Going Out should definitely check it out.  You can see a preview clip below:

The new pilot – For Whom The Bell Tolls – again written by Robbins, airs as the final edition of Comedy Playhouse this Tuesday evening at 10:40pm (11:10pm in Northern Ireland), and will be available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.  For a smattering of promotional images, look no further. Amen.

 

Get It Seen

1 Apr

No, that title isn’t just an instruction from us… it’s also the name of a new underground film festival taking place at legendary venue The Hen & Chickens Theatre in Islington this month.

© Hen & Chickens

The venue, which has been a spiritual home for TVO regulars for almost two decades – from The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi to recent shows like the magnificent Kill Phil, has gathered together some of the finest low-budget features and shorts of recent years to come out of the London comedy scene, to show from today through to April 26th,

This includes Peacock Season on April 1st, 4th & 11th.  This legendary film about the Edinburgh Fringe shot at the festival features a top-notch cast including Justin EdwardsPaul FootRichard Glover, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Richard Herring, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and co-writer James Wren.

Other TVO connected films on offer include Phil Whelan‘s slapstick farce Clowntime Is OverStephen Evans‘ nostalgic short The Notorious Bruiser Brothers Revisitedand a chance to see the star-studded Bob Pipe masterpiece The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains on a big screen!

© Bob Pipe

There’s loads more on offer too: we particularly recommend Adriel Leff’s brilliant mockumentary Bloody Lip! To see the full list of shows, and to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s Facebook page now!

BBC4 Announces New Comedy

4 Feb

BBC4, the channel perhaps better known for meaningful documentaries about seminal albums is ramping up its comedy offering, and there are a few TVO faces in the line-up!

© Cambridge News

First up is The Walshes, a three-part series co-written by Graham Linehan and the five piece Irish comedy troupe Diet of Worms (who also play lead roles).  The Walshes are a tight-knit family from near Dublin, who are all still live at home because the state of the Irish economy has forced them all back together.

Next up is rock doc parody The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern by Rhys Thomas and fellow Fast Show comic, Simon Day. Brian Pern (Day) is an ageing rock star and former front man of prog rock group, Thotch. The premise is that the BBC have asked him to front a major new documentary where he presents his guide to The Life Of Rock, from prehistoric man to the present day, in a spoof three-part chronology of some of the biggest moments in rock history.

The series includes cameos from the world of comedy and music, including Paul Whitehouse, Matt Lucas, Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer (as Mulligan and O’Hare), Rick Wakeman (Old Gregg reference anyone?), Jools Holland and Roger Taylor.

And finally,there’s In And Out Of The Kitchen, a three-parter based on the BBC Radio 4 comedy created, written by and starring Miles Jupp about cookery writer Damien Trench (Jupp). His partner, Anthony, is played by Justin Edwards. It promises to show us everything that happens to him both in and out of the kitchen, ‘no matter how grizzly, or indeed, how gristly’. If the radio series is anything to go by, expect this to be a good un.

Shane Allen, BBC Controller of Comedy Commissioning, has said of the new commissions that they are, “A testament to BBC Four’s unique legacy in bringing the audience big name comedy talents in surprising and inventive shows that follow in the footsteps of award-winning predecessors like Getting On, The Thick Of It, Twenty Twelve and Screenwipe.”

As soon as we get any information about the transmission dates of the above-mentioned shows, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Chat Show Roulette Spins Again

30 Jan

© Justin Edwards

Tickets are now available for the latest iteration of Chat Show Roulette, which records next month.

The improvised chat show features Justin Edwards as the host, and a string of guest performers who don’t know who they will be playing until literally seconds before they appear – their identities chosen randomly from audience suggestions.

Starting life as a live event back in 2012, guests for the initial Soho Theatre run included Julia DavisKaty BrandPhil WhelansSimon Day and Matt Lucas, whose production company John Stanley Productions took the idea first to television for a non-broadcast pilot, and now to radio.

The show is the second JSP production in recent months with a direct link to TVO, following sci-fi sketch show 2525 featuring Waen Shepherd aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra late last year.

After the television pilot (featuring Lucas and Rebecca Front, no less), it is Radio 4 who have now opted to make Chat Show Roulette a regular occurrence, with recordings taking place at RADA Studios off Tottenham Court Road, London on Tuesdays throughout February and March.

Tickets can be applied for now via SRO Audiences, and we’ll aim to bring you broadcast dates and info on guest performers as soon as possible, so stay peeled.

Monks On One?

6 Jan

© BBC Comedy

News of a mainstream television pilot from some of TVO’s finest have emerged via our good friends at The British Comedy Guide.

The pilot, tentatively titled Monks, appears to be an adaptation of one-off Radio 2 Comedy Showcase special Hey Hey We’re The Monks from way back in 2000, which was written by Dan Tetsell (Mongrels, Lab Rats) and Danny Robbins (We Are History), starring Bill Bailey and Catherine Tate.

All these years later, the format – and seemingly some of its characters – will be revived for what has been described as “a brilliantly big, funny and warm-hearted new studio comedy for BBC One centred on a group of monks”.

It features Mock The Week regular and stand-up comic extraordinare Seann Walsh as benefits cheat Gary Woodcroft, who joins a religious order to avoid jail.  Except Rudley Abbey, where he ends up, is just like prison, but with added praying.

Long in gestation, the idea clearly has legs – having previously been piloted back in 2008 for a non-broadcast attempt featuring James Corden in the lead role, alongside David Bamber, Geoffrey Whitehead and TVO’s very own Justin Edwards (The Thick Of It, Lifespam) and Fergus Craig (Colin and Fergus, The Government Inspector).

Edwards is along for the ride this time around too, alongside Spaced and Big Train veteran Mark Heap and Vicar Of Dibley star James Fleet.  The pilot will be filmed at BBC Elstree Studios on Friday, January 31st – and tickets are available now via BBC Shows.

We’ll aim to bring you more news on this third attempt for Monks as soon as we hear it, so stay peeled.

Sherlock Connections

29 Dec

© BBC

We suspect that a great many of you reading this will be getting a tad excited about the impending 3rd series of Sherlock, which begins on new year’s day.  But did you know how many TVO connections the show has?

The fact that our very own fairy godmother, Alice Lowe, will be appearing in the new series as a nurse has inspired us to collate a list of The Velvet Onion’s who’s who of Sherlock:

First up, the big man himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, appeared on Nathan Barley as Robin. Next up, we have his sidekick, Martin Freeman, who was in Blake’s Junction 7 alongside TVO folk Stephen Evans, Justin Edwards and Simon Farnaby (which was also directed by Ben Gregor).

In terms of the people who we write about who have appeared in Sherlock, you may have spotted Katherine Parkinson and Tony Way in the final episode of the second series, and Jonathan Aris, who played Anderson in Sherlock, was also in Sightseers and The World End. Finally (and marvellously tenuously!), Louise Brealey, who played the part of Julian Barratt‘s daughter in the 2011 production of Government Inspector at The Young Vic, plays Molly Hooper in all three series of the show.

You can catch the first episode of series 3 (‘The Empty Hearse’ – you can watch the trailer here) at 9pm on BBC1. For those who can’t quite wait that long, here’s a 7-minute prequel mini-episode:

The British Comedy Awards 2013 Nominations Announced!

3 Dec
© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Next week sees Channel 4 host the annual British Comedy Awards ceremony in Wembley, which will also be broadcast live on the channel.

Starting at 9pm on Thursday, 12th December, the ceremony will be hosted by Jonathan Ross, and feature some of the cream of British comedy – including, of course, a number of TVO regulars.

Most notably, the category of Best Sketch Show has a guaranteed winner from Onion Land, as its nominations have all been featured on our pages.  Sky’s new star-packed historical therapy show Psychobitches will battle it out with the nation’s sweetheart, Horrible Histories and the long awaited It’s Kevin and veteran favourites Harry And Paul.

Between them, those shows featured some of our most beloved regulars: Alice Lowe, Matt BerryKaty BrandSimon Farnaby, Sharon HorganAlex KirkJustin EdwardsJulia Davis and, of course, Kevin Eldon.

“The Actor” Kevin Eldon is also nominated for Best TV Comedy Actor, alongside Greg Davis, David Mitchell and Jack Whitehall, whilst Psychobitches is also up for Best New Comedy Programme, alongside CuckooPlebs and another TVO favourite, Count Arthur Strong.

Elsewhere, the man behind Count Arthur, Steve Delaney, is nominated for Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist, alongside Adam Hills, Jonny Sweet and Tom Basden, whilst the show itself (directed by Graham Linehan, no less) is up for Best Sitcom against Bad Education, Getting On and Peep Show.

To find out who the winners are, join Channel 4, a whole host of comedy legends, and TVO itself, on 12th December.  The full list of nominations can be found below the ‘jump’, and to find out more visit: Channel4.com now! Continue reading

Radio Round-Up

6 Oct

© BBC

There are a number of radio shows featuring TVO names on at the moment and they’re available on BBC iPlayer for your listening pleasure.

A favourite on the site, Aisling Bea has appeared on the BBC’s Fresh from the Fringe, which showcases the best new comedians from the Edinburgh Fringe, hosted by Mark Watson. She is among those performing short stand-up sets on the show including Liam Williams, Romesh Ranganathan and Ellie White. The show has different video and audio forms, the video available on the BBC’s red button service until 10th October or online and the audio version can be heard for the next three days here. There are also clips featuring interviews and stand-up from each of the performers. All of this is well worth a watch/listen if you want to hear some fab comedy from comedians not normally given an outlet on TV.

Another show with a TVO connection this week is BBC Wales’ long-running topical comedy show, What’s the Story? which has Katy Wix as a guest and is available to listen to here until 12th October.

If that’s not enough radio for you, there are shows we’ve already reported on still available. Seekers, a new sitcom starring Tony Way and Steve Oram can be found here and Newsjack, a topical sketch show featuring Justin Edwards can be found here.

Dead Happy Lives Again!

25 Sep

© Film Or Die Productions / Sky Movies Indie

Dead Happy - the magnificent short film by Nicky Lianos – is now available to buy digitally via Amazon.com

The short, written by David Lemon and directed by Lianos, was made in conjunction with SkyMovies back in 2010. It features Alice Lowe as a Grim Reaper, bored of her 9-5 job, and looking for love.

Also featuring were Tom MeetenJustin EdwardsClare Thomson and Missing Scene co-creator turned internet legend David Bussell.

We fell in love with Dead Happy (and Lianos previous short with TVO connections, Monsters And Rabbits) when it was released three years ago, and followed its progress from SkyMovies airings, through to film festivals and eventually iTunes last year.

Now the short gets a US release somewhere that doesn’t fill Apple’s pockets, so those of you who think iPhone, schmiPhone, can download it via Amazon.com for just $1.99 right over yonder.  You can see a preview clip below.

Here in the UK, the film is still available via iTunes for £1.49, and it’s the best quid and almost-a-half you’ll spend today…

Newsjack Is Back!

22 Sep
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Justin Edwards is back as host of a new series of Newsjack, BBC Radio 4 Extra’s flagship topical comedy show.

The magazine style sketch show has an open-door policy, which means anyone can write for it, so the show is fresh and different.

As well as Justin the show features Lewis Macleod, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Pippa Evans and Nadia Kamil.

Free tickets are available here for the recordings on the following Wednesdays:

25 September, 2 October, 9 October, 16 October and 23 October.

If you can’t get to a recording, the show is broadcast on Thursdays at 10.30pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra, and you can listen to the first episode on BBC iPlayer.

Onion Selling

16 Sep

Whilst TVO appears to be in a ‘proper telly’ lull as we await a few big name shows coming soon, there’s no shortage of Onion faces cropping up on our screens thanks to the world of ad-breaks.

© Reed.co.uk

© Reed.co.uk

Such is the fickle nature of the acting profession – and stand-up comedy for that matter – every once in a while, TVO regulars crop up in commercials.

Whilst some may baulk at the notion of talented people turning up in adverts, let us remind you that, much like voiceover work, it pays well, doesn’t take long, and adds to the portfolio.  And hey, if it’s good enough for John Cleese, Dawn French, Kylie Minogue and Kevin Bacon, to name but a few big names who succumb to acting in ads, then who are we to complain.   Plus… it gets our good friends on the tellybox when we least expect it!

In the past, we’ve rounded up a number of commercials featuring so many faces of Onion Land, and the last month or so has seen the debut of three more such ads.

First up in this latest collection is the return of Rufus Jones as the face of job website reed.co.uk, in an advert which debuted during this weekend’s top-rated edition of X-Factor, no less.  Once again Richard Sandling is one of his potential targets for new work after a rude awakening…

Elsewhere, Channel 5 is keen to push it’s own catch-up service, Demand 5, which is now available on smart televisions, as well as NOWTV boxes, their website and YouTube.  Catching up on Neighbours with a rather heavy hangover in this commercial is none other than Rachel Stubbings

And then there’s Virgin Media, who are using athlete Usain Bolt and company founder Richard Branson in a series of adverts, all of which are voiced by Richard Ayoade

Lastly for now, is the return of Paul Kaye in typically maniacal form as the star of BetVictor’s long running campaign.  Here, Victor Chandler is enjoying a nice, gentle, first-class train ride, but typically, Maurice can’t quite leave him in peace…

As long as there is an Onion Land, it seems, there will be commercials featuring its inhabitants.  There are far too many for us to possibly collate, but we’ve done our best to dig into the archives and find you some of the better moments via the handy playlist below.

Included here are such classic moments as Julian Barratt advertising Metz way back in 1997, and his co-hort Noel Fielding being creative with handcuffs for Carling Live five years later.  There are big name ads you’d never realise had TVO links, from Simon Farnaby voicing a horse with a penchant for NutriGrain through to Ben Wheatley helming recent Go Compare ads.

Of course, there’s a huge chunk of voiceover king Matt Berry, but his IT Crowd co-stars Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson get a look in too.  Regular collaborators Tom Meeten and Barunka O’Shaughnessy pop up in a few ads, and we’ve got loads more to savour featuring the likes of Richard GloverLaura PatchAlex KirkRhys ThomasJustin EdwardsDan TetsellAnna CrillyKaty Wix and the well trained eye of Paul King.  We’ve also got a ridiculously early tv appearance by Steve Coogan, and a couple of later ads in character as Paul and Pauline Calf. Enjoy…

Straw Donkey Unveiled

18 Aug

© Outsider

The short film Straw Donkey is now available to view online.

We first told you about Matt Huntley’s short back in January, as it features Tony WayLaura PatchBarunka O’Shaughnessy and The Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas, plus a cameo from Justin Edwards

At the time, all we could share with you was a preview clip, though TVO were lucky enough to see the full piece soon after posting, and we’ve been itching to share it with you ever since.

Now at last, this delightful little film is available to all.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy a classic tale about a food allergy, a shotgun and a meddlesome neighbour conspiring to make a dinner party an evening that everyone involved would rather forget.

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