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 THIS WEEK below…
FAREWELL TO SUCCESSVILLE
Murder in Successville, Wednesday, 10:00pm, BBC Three
© Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton
It’s been a fun ride, but all good things must come to an end as we say a fond farewell to Murder in Successville this week – and it’s another corker to go out on.
Joining Tom Davis gumshoe maverick DI Sleet this week is Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, after phramacist Lindsay Lohan turns up spray-tanned to death. With the help of forensic pathologist Richard Hammond (a spot-on Tom Meeten), the duo must determine the culprit and fast. Was it local gym owner Vladamir Putin (Tom Stourton), convicted psychopath Kim Kardashian (Marie Lawrence) or local bric-a-brac salesman Russell Brand (Luke Kempner).
Also featuring Jess Robinson and Liam Hourican, this is a delightful finale for the smash-hit show, which over the last six weeks has also featured the likes of Colin Hoult, Cariad Lloyd, Tony Way, Harry Peacock, Dan Skinner, Gemma Whelan, Frances Barber, Nico Tatarowicz and Ricky Grover. A dynamite cast indeed, and we hope we’ve not seen the last of DI Sleet yet.
You can catch up with previous episodes on iPlayer now, and see an exclusive preview clip featuring the two Toms below.
DOLL & EM’S DINNER PARTY
Doll & Em, Wednesday, 10:00pm, Sky Atlantic
© Sky Atlantic / HBO
Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer return in the charmingly off-kilter UK/US hybrid comedy Doll & Em once again this week, as the second episode of Series Two airs on Sky Atlantic.
Now casting their dream off-Broadway play, Doll’s bluntness and Em’s over-compensating almost lose them their two leading ladies: Hollywood actresses Olivia Wilde and Evan Rachel Wood. Keen to win them over, they plan a dinner party for the four of them, but with this being the world of Doll & Em nothing quite goes to plan.
After a slighted muted opening episode, this second instalment is delightfully funny: from Em trying to have two phone-calls at once while her hungry young son gripes at her, to Doll meeting a man with a mirror and a pack of playing cards. Unafraid to send themselves up to oblivion, this is dynamite television you’d be mad to miss.
You can read our preview of the first two episodes over yonder, and both series are available via catch-up services Sky Go and Now TV if you need to get up to speed.
A SLEEP IN THE SUN
Sun Trap, Wednesday, 10:45pm (regional times vary), BBC ONE
© Happy Tramp / BBC
The adventures of Brutus and Woody on their Spanish island paradise continue in this week’s edition of SunTrap, and just like last week, there are two bonus TVO stars turning up for good measure.
In this third episode of the Bradley Walsh & Kayvan Novak vehicle, the island’s annual hypnotism convention sends mesmerists from all over the world to the resort. But when a hypnotised member of the audience develops a murderous streak and flees the venue, Woody must use his skills as a master of disguise to hunt for the missing man.
Simon Day guests as the punter and would-be-killer ‘Handlebar’, whilst Morgana Robinson plays Janice, wife to the troubled hypnotist The Fabulous Mark (Pulling and Dead Set star Cavan Clarkin). There’s also a great guest appearance from the criminally underrated Martin Trenaman (Luxury Comedy, The Mighty Boosh and lots of other things). Check it out.
THE HUMANS ARE COMING
Humans, Sunday, 9pm, CHANNEL 4
© Channel 4
Sunday evening sees the launch of new dystopian sci-fi drama Humans featuring Katherine Parkinson and Rebecca Front in its ensemble cast.
Set in a world where synthetic human servants are the ‘in’ thing, the lives of a family who buy the latest model begin to unravel, whilst a retired engineer’s paternal relationship with his own Synth is threatened by a malfunction.
The first episode also features a cameo from Dan Tetsell as a synth salesman, and you read our interview with the marketing team behind the impressive Humans campaign over yonder.
STRANGE DAYS INDEED
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Sunday, 9pm, BBC ONE
© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – the riveting fantasy drama from from the makers of Doctor Who, Sherlock and Wallander continues apace on Sunday evenings, as we approach the climax of the seven-part series with the fifth episode.
This week, Strange (Bertie Carvel) and Norrell (Eddie Marsan) are at opposing ends of the spectrum. The former has returned home a war hero, and to the horror of the latter, resolves to write a book on ancient magic. But a sudden tragedy and a confrontation with Norrell force Strange to flee the country, determined to learn the truth about the fairy world, even if doing so costs him his sanity.
The impeccable ensemble cast, also featuring Marc Warren, Enzo Cilenti, Paul Kaye and Edward Hogg are on fine form once more, and if you’re not already watching the series, you really should catch up pronto. And if you are, and you’re enjoying it, you can pre-order the dvd and blu-ray release now from The Velvet Onion Amazon UK Store.
Horrible Histories, Monday, 5pm, CBBC
© Lion TV / Laura Rawlinson
The new series of Horrible Histories continues on Monday afternoons, and this week’s big guest star is Doc Martin and Our Zoo actress Jessica Ransom.
Random plays Mary, Queen of Scots – the would-be ruler terrifying Tudor England with her romantic and political schemes. Following her as she stumbles from being a young girl in Scotland to a Queen in France, back to a Queen in Scotland, and finally to Elizabeth I’s arch enemy.
Away from Mary, we meet silver-nosed Danish scientist Tycho Brahe, and Mr H looks at more of History’s Craziest Fools. As ever, Simon Farnaby and Jim Howick are on hand, alongside Murder in Successville‘s Tom Stourton repeating his spot-on Brian Cox impression (last seen overlooking the corpse of Reese Witherspoon), in a more child-friendly environment.
WORK, REST AND PLAY WITH AYOADE
Gadget Man, Monday, 8:30pm, Channel 4
© Channel 4
Richard Ayoade is back as the Gadget Man in another instalment of the technology fun show.
This week, he tests out devices to improve life at work: including a solar briefcase that recharges your gadgets; a hand massager for soothing tired fingers; and a portable hammock for the feet.
He’s not alone, either. Comedian and presenter Dara O Briain helps investigate a giant interactive touchscreen, a zero gravity desk and a virtual reality office assistant, while journalist Grace Dent looks at gadgets designed for exercising in the office.
COMMUNITY KINDNESS FOR DAN & CO
Man Down, Monday, 10:00pm, Channel 4
© Channel 4 / Shamil Tanna
Kindness, they say, is a virtue, but nobody told Dan, as the second series of Greg Davies vehicle Man Down continues on Monday evening.
Another teacher, and rival for Miss Lipsey’s affections delivers a smash-hit school assembly as part of Community Week, so child-like Dan naturally conspires to top it all with a brilliant one of his own involving his drama class and a war veteran.
Meanwhile Jo (Roisin Conaty) is exploring her artistic side, while Aunt Nesta (Stephanie Cole) favours an upset Brian (Mike Wozniak) over her idiotic nephew. Oh, and there’s a cameo apperance by The Proclaimers for good measure.
Written by Greg Davis alongside Stephen Morrison (Anna and Katy, Good News) and Sian Harries (Here Be Dragons, Never Mind The Buzzcocks), further TVO pedigree of course, lies with producer Spencer Millman of The Mighty Boosh fame, but also with director Al Campbell (It’s Kevin, The Midnight Beast, Fit and Charlie Brooker’s various Wipe series). It’s also seriously bloody funny, so give it a watch, and pick up Series One if you haven’t already from our store.
POTENTIAL (GREY)JOY IN WESTEROS
Game of Thrones, Sunday, 2:00am & 9:00pm, Sky Atlantic
© Home Box Office Inc.
It’s the biggest show on television, and if you’re not yet watching Game of Thrones, there are a huge number of reasons for you to do so: not least of which are the appearances of a handful of TVO regulars in the show.
For a start, there’s Tony Way appearing as Ser Dontos Hollard in the second and fourth seasons. And whilst his character won’t be returning, there’s currently unused plot from George RRR Martin’s expansive novels which features Paul Kaye‘s character Thoros of Myr, and the show’s creators are remaining tight-lipped on whether that particular strand will be featured in their adaptation.
Far more likely to return, however, is Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy: the commanding officer of the Greyjoy fleet, and tortured soul Theon’s closest relative. She was last seen (spoiler alert) trying to free her captured brother during last year’s run, but as fansite Winter Is Coming found out, Whelan’s agent suggested she would return in the fifth season. If that’s the case, with only two episodes left, you can expect to see her in Episodes Nine and/or Ten.
Of course, chances are if you’re reading this, you’re either going to be watching, or not, but if you aren’t yet, we firmly recommend you do as soon as possible. Sometimes, just sometimes, the hype is worth it, and there’s a box-set of the first four seasons on dvd and blu-ray in our store now.
ON STAGE THIS WEEK
There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on stage, often in London, but occasionally up and down the country. Here’s where you can find them throughout the week.
© Adam Kay
Monday 8th June
Adam Kay, The Petting Zoo, LadyProv and Viv Groskop
The Alexandra, London
Aisling Bea, Joe Lycett and Bridget Christie – Work in Progress
Aces and Eights, London
Tuesday 9th June
Adam Kay, Mark Watson and Maff Brown
Hampton Hill Playhouse, London
Wednesday 10th June
The Comedy Store Players: Cariad Lloyd, Richard Vranch, Andy Smart, Ian Coppinger and Stephen Frost
The Comedy Store, London
Friday 12th June
Ellie White, Harry Hill, John Kearns and Natasia Demetriou
Union Chapel, London
Baltic Square, Gateshead
AND THE REST…
As always, there’s so much going on within the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by.