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The Count On Tour

18 Dec

© Count Arthur Strong

We’ve been getting so giddy about everyone’s tours and tour announcements lately, it’s been difficult to keep up with it all.  And now there’s another one to tell you about!

Count Arthur Strong will be touring his stage show ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ around the UK from February to May 2015, and tickets are already on sale. The man himself has said of the show: “Miss this wonderful event at your peril. If you only buy one ticket for something this year buy a ticket for this one twice and bring a friend. I promise you you won’t regret it. And if you do there must be something wrong with you. No refunds!”

The run of shows is vast; to find out where he’s performing and when click here. And to purchase tickets head on over there.

To stay on top of Count Arthur Strong news, why not check out his Facebook page or follow him on twitter? As pensioners go, he’s pretty active on social media!

Tedfest 2015!

5 Dec

© Independent

If you’re a bit mad about Father Ted, and you fancy a trip to ‘Craggy Island’ with a bunch of fellow Ted nutters, Tedfest 2015 will be right up your street.

Every year a group of Father Ted fans gather on an island north of Galway called Inis Mor for several days of silly competitions, drinking and general tomfoolery in honour of Father Ted. This next one will be the ninth Tedfest (seriously) and it’ll take place from Thursday 26th February to Sunday 1st March 2015.

You can read more about it here, where you’ll also find videos and photos aplenty from previous years’ events. Just in case you didn’t believe it was an actual thing.

Weekend Tickets for Tedfest cost €150 and can be procured here. The ticket includes entry to all the Tedfest venues and events, none of which are open to the general public, and if you book, you’ll receive a list of accommodation on the Island and the PIN Number required to book. According to the Tedfest website, the ticket does not include: “Transport, accommodation, food, drink, drugs…but you get a cup of tea when you get there!”

Brilliant.

So Hot Right Now #6

17 Nov

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.

TELLY VELVETS CONTINUE

We’re knee deep into the current series of several TVO related shows at present, with Monday nights continuing to bring a triple whammy via Trollied (8:30pm on Sky One, featuring Aisling Bea), Never Mind The Buzzcocks (10:00pm on BBC Two, featuring Noel Fielding) and Toast of London (10:50pm on Channel 4, featuring Matt Berry).

© Avalon Television

© Avalon Television

Friday sees the return of Not Going Out after a week off for Children in Need, with Lee and Daisy (former Boosh radio series star Lee Mack and TVO regular Katy Wix) appearing on cult gameshow Pointless, as seen above. You can catch it at 9:30pm, and it will be available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.

Next week, they’ll be joined by Psychobitches (starting Nov 25th), and with current repeats for The IT Crowd and Graham Linehan‘s latest project, The Walshes, it’s a great time to have your telly primed to catch a TVO favourite on air.

THE DAY THEY CAME TO SUCK OUT YOUR WALLETS

Campaigning for the movie version of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains continues apace – with Bob Pipe and James Wren‘s magnificent web-series the catalyst for much of the fundraising.  With a star-studded cast including Warwick Davis, Chris Kendall, Gemma Whelan, Nick Helm, Thomas Nelstrop, Ricky Grover and TVO regulars Richard GloverColin HoultWaen Shepherd and Neil Cole, this is a project we at TVO would love you to get behind – and they really need your cash to make it a reality!

PLEDGE HERE

If you’ve never seen the web series, you can catch up below, and see more fun videos from Bob over yonder.

TOUR TIMES

UK tours are well underway now for three of our most popular regulars.  An Audience With Noel Fielding (featuring Noel alongside Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten), reaches Hammersmith, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff this week, whilst Paul Foot visits Brighton, Southend and Milton Keynes, and Tony Law can be seen in Colchester, Liverpool, Cranleigh and Newcastle.

Manchester also plays host to Richard Sandling MCing a fundraising night of comedy, which also features Buzzcocks legend Phill Jupitus this coming Sunday. For further live show details, visit our listings page… which we’ll be updating very soon!

AND THE REST!

As always, there’s so much going on, that we’re using Twitter to keep you informed quicker these days. Join the other 11,900+ of our regular readers by following us there, and get regular updates such as these:

Learn From The Experts

15 Nov

© comedy.co.uk

If you’ve ever fancied getting into comedy, get yourself along to the Big Comedy Conference, taking place in Clerkenwell, London on Saturday 29th November.

Organised by the British Comedy Guide, the conference  promises to give you an in on how to get on in TV and radio comedy writing, with practical advice from some of the biggest names in UK comedy. The line-up of speakers includes our very own Graham Linehan, as well as David Cohen (Horrible Histories), Andrew Allard (IT Crowd, Count Arthur Strong) – plus loads of non-Velvet Onion connected, but proper A-list, comedy writers. To see the full line-up click here.

Tickets cost £169 for the full day (9am-7pm), which includes lunch and a one-to-one session with an expert who will help you hone your own comedy project.  To register head on over here.

Matt Cuts The Mustard

4 Jul

We reported a while ago, that Mustard Comedy Magazine had produced its last ever print copy, but that it would ‘live on’ in other forms, well the good news is that it did!

The magazine is now available as an app on iTunes. The first issue has been revamped and expanded, including an extended interview with Graham Linehan looking back on The IT Crowd, Father Ted and Black Books, plus his thoughts on Twitter, TV vs Movies and the possibility of writing for Dr Who.

So even if you own an original print copy of the magazine, there is plenty of new content to keep you interested. There’s no word on whether there will be an android version coming out yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Matt Berry is a guest contributor to the magazine and you can hear him and his music in the trailer below:

 

MPs Say No To Father Ted’s Lovely Horse

28 Jun

The Irish parliament has rejected a petition to make ‘My Lovely Horse’ from Father Ted Ireland’s official entry into next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The petition entitled “legislate to make ‘My Lovely Horse’ Ireland’s entry for Eurovision 2015” was formally submitted to the government last month by the intriguingly-named Mr Finn McCool. You can see the petition here.

The Oireachtas petitions committee considered the request this week but Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, the chairman, said the committee “didn’t have the musical expertise” it needed to consider the issue. Brilliant stuff!

Lovely Horse was part of the “A Song for Europe” episode of Father Ted – and we reckon it would be a dead cert for Eurovision success, given half a chance. For now, however, you can simply relive the video below:

BAFTA Wins For Ayoade & Parkinson

19 May

This weekend saw Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson pick up BAFTA TV Awards for their roles in The IT Crowd.

The duo were nominated for Best Performance In A Comedy Programme, in the Male/Female categories respectively.  Parkinson faced off stiff competition from Doon Mackichan (Plebs), Kerry Howard (Him & Her) and Frances De La Tour (Vicious) to collect her gong, which you can see below.

Things were even more heated in Ayoade’s category – especially as he was up against his co-star Chris O’Dowd, no less, as well as comedy heavyweights James Corden and Matthew Baynton for their roles in The Wrong Mans. You can see his typically self-dismissive speech filled with gags and praise for his collaborators below.

Sadly, The IT Crowd itself lost out on the title of Best Situation Comedy, as did Graham Linehan‘s more recent Count Arthur Strong and Matt Berry‘s star vehicle Toast of London - with all three being snubbed in favour of Him & Her: The WeddingNo, we didn’t see that coming, either… but well done to the team behind the BBC Three smash, and to all the winners on the night – which you can see in full here.

BAFTA Craft Awards

26 Apr

© BAFTA

This Sunday, BAFTA will be handing out its 2014 awards for craft in television, and there are a few TVO-connected shows in the list of nominations.

If you’re wondering what television craft is all about, put simply it’s the skill and artistry that takes place behind the scenes to get a TV show onto our screens.

This year’s shortlist includes nominations for Count Arthur Strong (Graham Linehan & Steve Delaney)  and The IT Crowd (Linehan again) in the ‘Best Comedy Writer’ category. There are also a handful of nominations for Utopia, which featured a bevy of TVO folk amongst its cast, including Michael Smiley, Dan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby. The series features in ‘Best Director – Fiction’, ‘Best Digital Creativity’ and ‘Best Photography & Lighting’ categories.

The full list of nominations can be seen here. For live updates from the awards ceremony on Sunday follow @BAFTA on Twitter.

Best of luck to everyone for Sunday!

Fancy A Nice Cup Of Tea?

12 Apr
© Teds Tees

© Ted’s Tees

Ted’s Tees, the T-shirt shop for any Father Ted slogan you could possibly want, have branched out into mugs.

So you can now have your favourite brew from a mug with the legend “That would be an ecumenical matter”, “Down with this sort of thing” or more appropriately “There’s always time for a nice cup of tea”, along with many other classic Ted quotes.

You can still get T-shirts and shopping bags as well as the mugs. Everything you need to know can be found here.

Bafta Bonanza

8 Apr

© Channel 4

The Bafta nominations are out, and there are many TVO connections to be found.

To begin with; The IT Crowd has 4 nominations, with Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson nominated for Best Male/Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, and Best Situation Comedy, where it shares the nomination with Toast of London and The Count Arthur Strong Television Programme.

Richard III: The King in the Car Park, featuring Simon Farnaby, is nominated for Best Factual Programme.

There are also nominations for Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong), and Doon Mackichan (Toast of London), for other roles.

In the Single Drama category, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Be Right Back, featuring Claire Keelan (Nathan Barley) and Mark Gatiss’s An Adventure in Space and Time, featuring Reece Shearsmith,  are both nominated.

A full list of nominations is here, where you can also vote for the Radio Times Audience Award.

Blue Jam Again With 4 Extra

1 Mar

Those of us of a certain age hold will always have a special place in our hearts for Chris Morris‘s game-changing radio series Blue Jam, which first aired on BBC Radio 1 between 1997 and 1999. And the first five episodes of the series are now being repeated on Radio 4 Extra!

© Warp

The series consisted of a unique mix of surreal monologue, music, synthesised voices, heavily edited broadcasts and recurring sketches. It was described this week in The Guardian as: “Lo-fi anti-comedy featuring jokes about dead children and sexually exploitative doctors to an ambient soundtrack of Portishead and Brian Eno.”

The show’s TVO pedigree is second-to-none, with a cast that includes Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon, and writing honours shared with Graham Linehan (amongst others).

When interviewed in 1998, Morris said that the show was a response to the work he had put in on the controversial Channel 4 satire Brass Eye“It was so singular, and it came from a mood, quite a desolate mood. I had this misty, autumnal, boggy mood anyway, so I just went with that,” he said.

Blue Jam was a double Sony award winner, and later evolved into the equally as noteworthy Channel 4 TV show, Jam (which the Ofcom of the day said “pushed at the boundaries of acceptability”).

Caroline Raphael, commissioning editor of Radio 4 Extra, said: “Radio 4 Extra is all about bringing the best of BBC’s radio archive to our listeners and Blue Jam as a cult comedy series from the 90s most certainly is one of the programmes that we’re glad we can give a second outing for. It will be broadcast as part our evening comedy offer and we hope that in addition to many of the old fans of the show, it will also find some new listeners when it’s broadcast on Radio 4 Extra.”

Blue Jam will be broadcast on Fridays on Radio 4 Extra at 11pm. Episode 1 aired yesterday, but is available for a further 6 days on iPlayer; episode 2 will air next week, Friday 7th March.

Not Mrs Brown’s Boys

26 Feb

© Boom Pictures

Graham Linehan has been talking to the press this week about his new sitcom The Walshes.

The three-part series, which starts on BBC4 in March (provisionally 13th March), features an oddball Irish family. However, Linehan is keen to avoid comparisons with Brendan O’Carroll’s hit show Mrs Brown’s Boys, saying, “It (Mrs. Brown’s Boys) is more pantomimey but I haven’t actually seen it. I think it’s more larger than life than what we’re trying to do. I was never really a big fan of Brendan’s in Dublin so it probably wouldn’t appeal to me. It’s an interesting phenomenon. I don’t expect a mass migration from their show to ours. We’re probably aiming at different audiences.”

Linehan penned The Walshes with Irish comedy troupe Diet of Worms, who also appear in the show. The characters are based on The Taste Of Home, a low-budget web series created by the comedy group in 2010. What’s more, they have already been sketching out ideas for a second series. “Hopefully we will get a recommission.” Linehan said.

To read his interview with the Radio Times click here. To see what he said to The Independent click there.

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.

Captain America And Father Ted

1 Feb

© Channel 4

We bet that’s a pairing you never thought you’d see! And if anything, this story gets even odder when the connection between the two characters is explained.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the follow up to the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger.  And we, the public, get to decide which TV show is referenced in the film.

In the movie sequel we see Captain America/Steve Rogers emerge from a 65-year ice coma to a changed worldOne scene in the film features the pages from his notebook, and these detail what he’s missed during his enforced absence – including some great telly. You can choose which TV show is mentioned in the pages of the diary from a list of options provided by RadioTimes.com. And Father Ted is on that list!

The TV show with the most votes will end up appearing on screen in the movie. So if you fancy seeing the Channel 4 comedy classic from the mind of Graham Linehan in Captain America’s latest outing, then get in there!

For more information and to vote click here. The film itself is released in UK cinemas on 26th March 2014.

Linehan’s Chain Reaction

19 Jan

© Edge

Graham Linehan will be taking part in  Chain Reaction on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday at 6.30pm.

If you haven’t heard the show before, each episode has a celebrity as guest interviewer  and they decide who they would like to interview. For the next show, the person being questioned chooses who they want to interview and the chain continues.

The format works really well, as you get different questions and answers from the usual, as most of the participants are friends.

In this week’s episode Grant Morrison talked to Neil Innes and next week Neil Inness interviews Graham, and we have heard that Graham will be interviewing Adam Buxton.

For a sneak peek of Neil interviewing Graham click here.

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.

Continue reading

Toast The New Year!

31 Dec
© Kuba Wieczorek

© Kuba Wieczorek

If you are staying in for New Year and like Matt Berry then you are in for a treat tonight!

Channel 4 are hosting The 50 Funniest Moments of 2013, where celebrities and others choose their funniest moments of the year. The whole show is narrated by Matt and runs from 11.05pm until 1.05am, so will see you into the New Year.

Following this is the complete series of Toast of London, Mr Berry’s surreal, fantastic sitcom about an eccentric actor and those around him.

For even more Berry goodness, tune into 4seven from 9pm, when you can watch the last ever episode of The IT Crowd – The Internet is Coming, followed by the people’s choice episode – The Work Outing and Graham Linehan‘s favourite episode – The Final Countdown.

This takes you nicely to 11.05pm and The 50 Funniest Moments ….

IT Crowd Night Preview!

22 Dec

As we’ve previously mentioned, Channel 4 will be dedicating an evening of airtime to The IT Crowd on Christmas Eve. And we’re pretty darned excited to be able to share a couple of preview clips with you from a new documentary about the series, which will be shown on the night!

The IT Crowd Manual is an hour-long celebration of the sitcom, narrated by Stephen Mangan, which includes classic clips from the show and up-close and personal interviews with the basement-dwelling trio; Richard Ayoade, Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson. Matt Berry also reveals how he felt taking the mantle of the boss of Reynholm Industries from Chris Morris, while Noel Fielding details the forbidden chemistry that mild-mannered Richmond secretly shared with Jen. Meanwhile the show’s biggest fans and guest stars (Paul Whitehouse , Danny Wallace, Kevin Eldon, Frances Barber, Matthew Crosby, Boyd Hilton and Lucy Montgomery) share their top moments.

The clip below features IT Crowd creator, Graham Linehan, giving a guided tour of the iconic basement set which he likens to “the inside of my head and my office… a cheerful mess”:

And the second preview clip Kevin Eldon talks about what a taskmaster Linehan can be when it comes to getting an accent right:

Don’t forget you’ll also be able to watch the final IT Crowd episode again, vote for your favourite episode and watch the one that gets Linehan’s vote too. Wowzers!

Tune into Channel 4 from 9pm on 24th December to get your fill of geekery.

Vote For Your Favourite IT Crowd (& See It On The Telly)

7 Dec

© Channel 4

On 24th  December Channel 4 are hosting a special IT Crowd night. And they need you to vote for your favourite episode so that they can include it.

The evening will include a repeat of the last ever episode, Graham Linehan‘s favourite episodes, and a premier of The IT Crowd Manual, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the show. At 11pm, they will also air the fan’s favourite episode, as voted by you!

To cast your vote you need to head on over to Channel 4’s website. There, you’ll find a short clip from each episode (to refresh the memory box), and you simply click onto your favourite one and hit ‘Vote Now’ to vote. Before you’re allowed to do so, you’ll need to sign in to channel4.com. All of the details can be found on the website via the link above.

So which one is it going to be then?…

Linehan’s Games

6 Dec

© Edge

Graham Linehan joined Charlie Brooker to discuss how Videogames Changed The World last weekend.

The writer and director, who is also an avid gamer, joined Peter Serafinowicz, Susan Calman and industry experts to discuss twenty-five titles which Brooker had selected as particularly innovative: games that shifted the goalposts of what was possible.

These included Pacman, Tetris, Monkey Island and Street Fighter 2 to name but a few.

Thankfully, this unannounced appearance can be savoured indefinitely thanks to the sheer liquid wonderment that is 4oD, with the 90 minute special available to view again now.

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