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Chop Socky Chooks: Voices From TVO

18 Mar

If voicing animated characters is the new cool, then Paul Kaye and Shelley Longworth are some distance beyond the hipster zone.

Their voices are a regular fixture in all round weird TV show Chop Socky Chooks, a British/Canadian animated series co-produced by Aardman Animations. It currently airs on The Cartoon Network in the UK, and was a firm favourite of this writer’s kids between the ages of 6 and 8 years old. Although it’s been on our TV screens for a few years, it’s only now that we’ve spotted the involvement of two TVO folk. So worth flagging, we reckon!

Kaye plays the part of the villain, Dr. Wasabi, ruler of Wasabi World and  the main antagonist of the show. Longworth plays the part of Chick P, the leader of the good guys. Dr. Wasabi destroyed her home to build Wasabi World, so she’s not his biggest fan.

Take a look at the episodes below to see the characters in action – and rediscover your inner (pretty tripped out) child:


EXCLUSIVE: In Holoserica Cepa – A Gift From The Velvet Onion

25 Dec

© The Velvet Onion

Yes, it’s Christmas time, and as another year draws to a close, The Velvet Onion has not one, but two presents for you.

Our annual TVO Calendar has sadly been delayed a little, but will be here for your perusal before 2012 runs out of gas.  We’ve been working round the clock the last few days to ensure it’s up to scratch, and reaches you before the end of the month, and we think you’ll love what we’ve come up with, so stay peeled over the festive season for that!

The other present… well that’s arguably more special.  We’ve called upon some of our more musical friends in the realm of the Onion, to provide a very special eight-track EP you can download completely free!

Just visit our Soundcloud page to get all eight tracks, featuring the likes of James Cook, Sue Denim, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn-Hall, Rich Fulcher, Richard Glover, Shelley Longworth, Alice Lowe, Holly Jane Shears, Waen Shepherd, William Summers, Gareth Tunley, Michael Tyack and Tony Way.

But hurry, because the files will only be available until SUNDAY JANUARY 6th, before being taken down forever.  For a full tracklisting, and a flashy swanky player loaded with all eight songs, see below.

TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a most merry of holiday seasons to you all. We love ya.

TRACKS1

01. Secret Wolf – GARY LE STRANGE

Taken from the long deleted third Gary Le Strange album, Beef Scarecrow, this song has only previously been made available at Waen Shepherd’s live shows many moons ago.  Stay tuned for the full reissue of his GLS albums over the next twelve months, with the first, Polaroid Suitcase available now.

02. Stingo – PRINCES IN THE TOWER

Originally a spin-off from folk legends Circulus, the magnificent Princes In The Tower have become an almighty Tudor force in their own right.  This track is taken from the forthcoming debut album, A Golden Hour With Princes In The Tower, which will be available soon…

03. Midnight, The Stars And You – RICHARD GLOVER & STEPHEN EVANS

Described by Evans as a ‘short and daft’ version of the 1930s classic (forever immortalised in The Shining), this is a previously unreleased recording from the Splendid duo…

04. The Self Machine – JAMES COOK

Taken from James’ wonderful debut solo album, Arts And Sciences, this track sees the former Nemo frontman on typically fine form.  The album is available now.

TRACKS2

05.  Song Of A Wayfarer – WILLIAM SUMMERS

Recorded live at St John the Divine Church in Richmond upon Thames back in July, this is an exclusive, haunting live recording from the multi-instrumentalist.

06. Unicorn – DEADDOGINBLACKBAG

The first new DeadDogInBlackBag song for a long, long time, this is a complete and utter exclusive from the electropop duo.

07. Another Rainy Day – SUE DENIM

A 60s influenced b-side from Sue’s recent Bicycle single, this track acts a taster for her delightfully summery debut solo album, Sue And The Unicorn, which is available now.

08. This Christmastime [2012 Mix] – ANTONY ELVIN, ALICE LOWE & FRIENDS

Originally recorded for Alice LoweJacqueline Wright‘s Jackal Film of the same name back in 2010, this fresh mix from its producer and co-writer Antony Elvin features a host of TVO stars – Gareth Tunley, Shelley Longworth, Waen Shepherd, Tony Way and Rich Fulcher – spreading an important message for the festive season.

Vintage Sights: Top Ten Alice & Steve Moments On YouTube

30 Nov

Today marks the release of Sightseers into UK cinemas.  At long last, this brilliant film starring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Richard Glover can be shared by you all.  Directed by Ben Wheatley, we’ve gone bananas for it because it truly is brilliant and deserves your attention.  It opens in 92 cinemas nationwide, and it’s success this weekend will decide if it expands to further cinemas next week, so it’s crucial if you have a passing interest in the film, you go and see it now!

Of course, most of you will be more than aware of the work of Alice Lowe and Steve Oram before this film was released, but for those of you who are new to their genius, we thought we’d compile a handy list of easy-to-access clips from the Tube of You.  It’s been tough selecting only five each, but we think we’ve found you some absolute corkers.

© Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images Europe

© Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images Europe

All of these clips are either web-shorts, live clips or tv taster pilots which didn’t go to broadcast, which helped narrow the list down somewhat.  Obviously, they only scratch the surface of the great work the pair have been crafting for the past decade.  To truly experience their mastery, you simply must see them live at the earliest opportunity, and to find out when that next is, you’ll have to keep coming back here!  We’ll be keeping you posted on any appearances they make, so pop back every now and then to find out more.

If that’s too long a wait, you can browse their ‘videographies’, as it were, via our TVO webstores.  Both run by Amazon on our behalf, we have dedicated sections for every artist we feature in a UK and US store – and both will ship internationally too.  For Alice’s stuff, visit here for UK, and here for US – and if Steve’s your bag, visit here for UK, and here for US.

Now to the top ten! Continue reading

The NTA is Back!

24 Sep

© ITV

It’s that time of the year again when the cream of the small screen will gather for the National Televisions Awards.

As usual, the results are all down to us normal folk and some TVO-familiar names are waiting for your votes!

First up Never Mind the Buzzcocks is nominated for Best Comedy Panel Show and with the hype of the upcoming season, Buzzcocks should hopefully be fresh in all of your minds! Next up is the pivotal, Best Situation Comedy; with Gervais’ Life’s Too Short featuring Matthew Holness and Colin Hoult up for the award, they also battle it out with Rev; which cameod James Bachman, plus the latest series of Absolutely Fabulous which saw the likes of our very own Katy Wix and Lucy Montgomery making an appearance.

And that’s not all… with the somewhat less-than-alternative Not Going Out starring Katy Wix and ITV1 ultra-populist behemoth Benidorm featuring Shelley Longworth also up for the nod. They may all be up for the gong alongside the latest-show-to-never-rest-on-our-tv-screens; The Big Bang Theory – but we reckon one of our lot could be in with the chance, no?

As we click through the categories we get to the ‘Bacon-style’ number categories; where Harry Hill’s TV Burp (Spencer Millman) is up for best Entertainment Programme, plus Noel Fielding has made a guest appearance on several of the nominees in the same category; The Jonathan Ross Show, Alan Carr: Chattyman and of course, Dynamo: Magician Impossible.

The NTA’s will be airing live on ITV on January 23rd and you have until October 11th to vote. To cast your votes click right here and let us know what you think of this year’s nominees!

The Increasingly Large DVD Collections Of Todd Margaret Fans

22 Sep

© 2|Entertain

Series One of cult US/UK crossover sitcom The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret is released on dvd in the UK on Monday.

The show was created by American stand-up and actor David Cross, and originally aired as a backdoor pilot as part of Channel 4’s Comedy Showcase series in 2009.  Two six part seasons followed in Autumn 2010 and the early part of this year via American channel IFC and UK-based digital channel More4, though the latter has yet to air the second series in the UK.

TVO’s main link into the show is Cross’ leading co-star: the inimitable Sharon Horgan - though there are further connections to the realm of Onion-land, as Justin Edwards and Hunderby star Alex MacQueen also make recurring appearances throughout the run, whilst Dan Tetsell also crops up in season one, and Rufus JonesSteve OramLucy Montgomery and Shelley Longworth all make an appearance in the second batch of episodes.

Tucked away on an obscure digital channel, we have to confess this one almost slipped us by – and we’re pleased to learn the show has a dedicated cult following.  Already available on dvd in the US, the release of the first series on this side of the Pond bodes well for a broadcast of the second series sometime soon – and we’ll be keeping an eye on any developments.  In the meantime, you can pre-order Series One here, or pick up its R1 release over yonder.

Not Later

29 Jun

© Tiger Aspect / BBC

The latest BBC Comedy web exclusive packs more TVO names into its three minutes than you can shake a small, nasal pianist at.

Featuring Tom Meeten as Jools Holland, as he leads us through a variety of silly-named artists featuring on his show this week, eagle eyed viewers will spot James Bachman, Shelly Longworth, Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Waen Shepherd amongst those raiding the dressing up box.

You can see the clip exclusively on the BBC Comedy website.  Due to licence-free related limitations, the clip may not be available worldwide, and our website software doesn’t like to try and embed it, sadly… but the clip is just one click away, so check it out!

Keep your eyes peeled at the BBC Comedy YouTube channel, because this, and previous video from the BBC Nought gang, Question Time After Party, may yet turn up there…

Angelo’s Arrives

20 Jun

© Channel 4 DVD

Almost forgotten Channel Five sitcom Angelo’s is given a new lease of life next month, with the release of the complete series on dvd.

The show ran for one six-episode series in 2007, and was written by and starred Sharon Horgan – a name which should be familiar to the discerning peeler.  Frequently collaborating with Alice Lowe, Horgan co-starred with Alice in Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive and in 2009 became the voice of Lifespam after Lowe was unable to squeeze in a physical part for her.  This association continued with Jackal Films projects last year – returning to narrate the Lifespam spin-off My Old Baby, and guest starring in the demonic Bretheren.

Horgan also co-starred in Free Agents – a Channel 4 sitcom featuring Matthew Holness, but of course is best known for her BBC sitcom Pulling.which featured guest appearances by Alice Lowe and Gareth Tunley.  She also played Chris O’Dowd‘s mother in his Little Cracker for Sky One last Christmas – so her TVO credentials are sound! With her star in the ascendant, Horgan recently hosted an edition of Have I Got News For You?, and was recently announced in the role of Homily Clock alongside Christopher Eccleston, Stephen Fry and Victoria Wood in a new BBC adaptation of The Borrowers set to air over Christmas.

It is perhaps, no surprise then that Angelo’s – a show which was previously somewhat ignored by the channel and audiences alike – is being revisited now for a dvd release.  And if Horgan’s own links to the world of Booshdom were not enough – the cast also boasts Alice Lowe, Shelly Longworth and Simon Farnaby amongst its regulars, alongside Steve Brody, Paul Garner, Kim Wall, Javone Prince, Hyperdrive‘s Miranda Hart and Mongrels‘ star Paul Kaye!  There’s even a blink and you’ll miss it appearance from Colin Hoult!

The dvd features a making of documentary, as well as audio commentaries by Horgan, producer Damon Beesley and director Chloe Thomas, plus the original short that inspired the show, Trafalgar Square and Angelo’s Taster Tape. Priced at only £7.99, you can pre-order it from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now – with a release date of July 12th.

Until then, here’s a clip of Simon Farnaby as rubbish street-artist Kris, to whet your appetite…

Question Time After Party

17 Jun

© BBC

A whole host of familiar faces appear in the latest short from BBC Comedy.

Purporting to feature the after-party shenanigans that follow political debate series Question Time, Tom Meeten, James Bachman, Shelly Longworth and Steve Oram bring you Question Time After Party with hilarious results.

You can see the short on the BBC Comedy website right over yonder!

The Forgotten Picture Show

3 May
© Katy Darby

A brand new short featuring a host of TVO favourites has appeared online.

Last year we told you about an exciting new project entitled The Last Summer On Earth, written by and starring Steve Oram and Tom Meeten alongside Alice Lowe, Simon Farnaby, Tony Way, Waen Sheperd, Barunka O’Shaugnessy and Shelly Longworth and even more familiar faces too!

Now a pilot episode has been posted online by production company SoTelevision, and features an opening link delivered by none other than Julia Davis!

Davis appears as the editor of FilmFace Magazine, Bebe Löam – introducing a lost epic from director Mia Kaufman, which featuers the rest of our glorious gang.  It’s beautifully shot and very very funny, and well worth your attention.  Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve heard of the show, with this first episode acting as backdoor pilot and a tantilising “To Be Continued” slogan emblazoned across the climax of the clip.

You can catch the fifteen minute short film below, and TVO will endeavour to keep you posted on any future developments.

Alice’s WunderFilms

21 Apr

© Jackal Films

Tonight on Radio 4, Alice Lowe invites you all to visit Alice’s Wunderland.

In light of this, Velveteer Mog elected to take a quick look back at the work of Alice & Jacqueline Wright’s Jackal Films throughout their 2010 Calendar Project.  Below is her personal review.

In 2010 comedy writer and performer Alice Lowe and director Jacqueline Wright released a film per month under the guise of  Jackal Films – that’s twelve shorts in total. Although we announced each of their monthly releases as they came out last year, we reckoned Jackal Film’s achievement was due a retrospective.

My original plan was to take notes while I watched each film, in an attempt to identify and record the most salient points about each one. “January: silly + brilliantly done” was as far as I got before I got utterly sucked in, forgetting to write anything else.  Luckily I may have nailed it in one statement: “silly + brilliantly done”  is a pretty accurate description of what Jackal Films is all about.

© Jackal Films

The silliness comes from Alice Lowe’s surreal, unhinged performances.  She inhabits each character completely and then pushes it as far as it can go. Then she pushes it some more, somehow still managing to avoid caricature. Thanks to the delicate nuances of each performance and Jacqueline Wright’s perfectly-pitched unintrusive direction, the characters Alice plays are bizarre and extreme, yet at the same time strangely credible.  In March’s film, The Birdhandler, Alice isn’t someone pretending to be a bird; she is a bird.

© Jackal Films

Women who look a certain way are expected to behave in a certain way on TV, and when they don’t it’s incredibly refreshing. There’s something inherently funny about an attractive woman (as Alice is) not taking herself seriously – by some way!  I’m not sure if Jackal Films will care for the comparison, but it’s arguably what defined the funniest moments on ‘Smack the Pony’. Simply put, watching women being silly, when they could easily get away with just being simpering or sexy, is terrific fun!  August’s Celeberama is a testament to that.

Continue reading

The Last Summer On Earth

31 Jul

© Katy Darby

The Velvet Onion has learnt of a very exciting new project hopefully coming your way in the near future – The Last Summer On Earth.

Written by the sublime double-act of Steve Oram and Tom Meeten – whom many of you will know from their previous short films and live shows together, as well as appearances in The Mighty Boosh as Donny the Tramp and Lance Dior respectively – the project also features Simon Farnaby and Alice Lowe alongside frequent collaborators Barunka O’Shaugnessy and Shelly Longworth, plus popular comedians Tony Paul Way, Waen Shepherd and Richard Sandling.

Filmed as a pilot for SO Television, it’s early days for the show so far, and as such there isn’t much more we can tell you.  Hopefully it will not only be broadcast, but be given a series commission – with that amount of talent on board the tv execs would be fools not to fall in lust with the project!  We’re sure an awful lot of you out there would love to see all these comedic giants working together, so here’s hoping!

As soon as we can find out any further details on the project, we’ll chuck some peel at ya.

Birdhandler

29 Mar

The latest film in the JackalFilms project is now online!

Birdhandler stars the ever-brilliant Tom Meeten as an egg-eating avian fanatic with a very special creature in his care. Written by (and co-starring) Alice Lowe, and directed once again by Jacqueline Wright, Birdhandler is another fine treat from JackalFilms – and had me in hysterics within minutes. There’s a great little twist and cameo appearance at the end, and Alice sure knows how to gurn with the best of ‘em!

Watch it below, and check out the other JackalFilms projects on their website.

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