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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 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 was the month that Booshmania returned.  Just as the fantastic Behind the Boosh exhibition started its run at Proud Camden, showcasing the history of that most Mighty of comedic troops via the majesty of Dave Brown‘s photography, the boys were back in town.  Or rather, on the pier, as The Mighty Boosh went from the Soho Theatre to Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme in LA. A final (chaotic) UK warm-up show and a further run through at The Comedy Store, almost halted by a Visa saga, paved the way for a live performance that turned out to be one of the Festival’s highlights. Fan forums and social media platforms were buzzing with photos, footage and reviews of the show.

Another announcement that got us more than a bit over-excited in October was the news that Ben Wheatley is to direct the first 2 episodes of the next series of Doctor Who, starring the new Time Lord, Peter Capaldi. How good is that!?  We’re itching to see what happens when you combine one of the UK’s finest directors with its biggest export, now in the capable hands of an Oscar-winning acting legend to boot.  You can see the moment Capaldi became the Doctor in the 2013 Xmas special below…

More telly stuff, with the launch of Matt Berry’s new series, Toast Of London.  We’d been itching to see it since the pilot back in 2012, and it did not disappoint…

Elsewhere, Richard Ayoade established himself as a permanent fixture on prime time panel shows with a stint as team captain on Was It Something I Said? on Channel 4. Ayoade’s intellectual sparring with host David Mitchell certainly made our Sunday evenings feel a bit more highbrow!

What else?  Well, in movie news, there was an update on the cast for Paul King‘s long-awaited Paddington Bear feature film, which included mention of Rufus Jones and James Bachman. To end the month, TVO artists offered us a veritable smorgasbord of comedy options for Halloween night’s out, with special spooky performances from Colin Hoult and Richard Sandling.  And we were sad to lose the talented comedy actor Felix Dexter, who died at the too-young age of 52. He left behind an incredible legacy of great TV performances on shows like Bellamy’s PeopleAbsolutely Fabulous, The Fast ShowKnowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge, Mongrels and Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round to name but a few. He will be much misse, and would typically hate all this fuss about him, so let’s remember him with one of his silliest moments – dancing for Sport Relief alongside Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery.  What a dude.

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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 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.

Count Arthur At The Ballet School

30 Oct


Count Arthur Strong will be appearing at The Royal Ballet School on Wednesday November 6th at 7.30pm.

He will be in conversation with Tim Arthur and answering audience questions, before signing copies of his latest novel Through It All I’ve Always Laughed : Memoirs of Count Arthur Strong, the first in what he believes will be a six volume collection of his memoirs.

You can buy tickets (£5.50) for this exclusive event here.

Remember you can still catch up with clips from Count Arthur Strong on the BBC Website. The DVD is, of course, available at our  TVO Store, with special feature  Behind the Moustache – The Story of Count Arthur Strong.

Linehan Has The Knowledge On QI

19 Oct


A few weeks ago we all got rather excited about Noel Fielding’s first ever appearance on QI. Well now we can do the same in the name of Graham Linehan!

Graham was on the panel of last night’s show, episode 7 of the current series, entitled ‘Knowledge’. Also appearing on the show were Jo Brand and the ubiquitous Jimmy Carr, along with regulars, Alan Davies and Stephen Fry.

The programme is now available to view on iPlayer. And if you like your clever comedy a bit longer, the extended edition of the show will be broadcast on BBC2 at 10.30pm on Sunday.

Count At The Fest

9 Oct


Count Arthur Strong is making his way to the Cheltenham Book Festival tomorrow, to give a rare live interview.

The legendary comic creation of Steve Delaney ‘will be interviewed in a no holds barred expose of his life and times by the persistently intrusive Fiona Lindsay‘, at The Inkpot, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

As it is a book festival, the Count will be discussing his new book – Through It All I’ve Always Laughed : Memoirs of Count Arthur Strong, the first in what he believes will be a six volume collection of his memoirs.

The book is not out until November 7th but it is available to buy at the event and The Count will also be available to sign the books after the interview.

If you’d like to get your hands on Count Arthur’s Memoirs before anyone else, you can buy tickets (£8) from the festival website.

Remember you can still catch Count Arthur Strong on BBC 2 at 7pm on Saturdays, or catch up on BBC iPlayer.

Enter Garth’s Coatspace

27 Sep
© Avalon

© Avalon

Your chance to own a piece of history is here – as the charity auction to win Garth Marenghi‘s white coat and name badge from Darkplace has begun.

Garth’s clothing was made to wear in his seminal series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, which first aired on Channel 4 in January 2004 after the powers-that-be finally let the show out of the vaults it had been languishing in since the 1980s.

Now the author, dream-weaver, visionary plus actor has granted the sale of these items, alongside a personal note from Garth, via journalist Julia Raeside and Marenghi’s long-standing associate Matthew Holness.

With the proceeds from the sale going to Macmillan Cancer Care, there’s even more of an incentive to get involved and offer to part with your cash.  Bidding already stands comfortably into three figures, but we’re sure there’s scope for much more.

The auction ends at 9:14am on Sunday, 30th September, and we’ve got a gallery of images to further proof the might of this coat, that badge, and that titan of terror below.  So what are you waiting for?


Lastly, if by any chance you’re unaware of the cultural landmark that is Darkplace, you can see the entire series online for free via 4oD, and you can buy the extras packed dvd from our store now.  Considering it’s one of the main reasons this website even exists, we think you owe it to Garth to check it out!  Episode one is below…

More IT Teasers

24 Sep

© Hal Shinnie

© Hal Shinnie

Unless you have been out of circulation somewhere very remote, you must have noticed that this Friday is the day we get to see a new, extended episode of The IT Crowd!

We first thought that the special final episode would be part of a The IT Crowd Night, but the night has been postponed until later in the year. We’ll tell you all about it when we hear more.

Meanwhile if you can’t wait until Friday there are some clips on the Channel 4 website.

If you’re really desperate you can read our spoiler-free review of the episode by our Editor in Chief.

Or you could wait until Friday at 9pm on Channel 4 to see it all in its full glory!

Arthur & Graham

22 Sep


On 2nd September, The Picturehouse Cinema in Norwich showed two episodes of the Count Arthur Strong television show, The Radio Play and Doctor Two.

To make the occasion extra special, Graham Linehan and Count Arthur himself – Steve Delaney, were there to do a Q and A after the viewing, and Sam and Simon from the Picturehouse Blog, were there to record it for your listening pleasure.

During the podcast, find out the differences between the radio and tv shows, how the new characters came about and what influence Hi Di Hi had on the writing of the show.

To listen to the podcast of the Q and A click on the picturehouse blog.

Preview Peeling: The IT Crowd – The Internet Is Coming

16 Sep

It can’t have escaped your attention that The IT Crowd returns for a one-off special on Friday, September 27th.  The first – and most likely final – episode since 2010 airs at 9pm, as part of a whole night devoted to the beloved sitcom, and TVO has been lucky enough to see the results.

Here, then, is our spoiler-free preview…

© Hal Shinnie

© Hal Shinnie

As the cast of Not The Nine O’Clock News once famously sang, saying ‘Kinda Lingers’ and then walking away is, at least, better than saying goodbye, “cos goodbye is the hardest word to say”.  The ethos of this enthuses The Internet Is Coming, the final episode of seminal cult comedy The IT Crowd.

Beginning in 2006, the show saw Father Ted creator Graham Linehan take his love of technology and internet culture, and transpose it upon three hapless heroes – shambolic Roy (Chris O’Dowd), uber-nerd Moss (Richard Ayoade) and hapless Jen (Katherine Parkinson).  Much like his earlier work on …Ted and Black Books, the show took it’s central trio into increasingly silly situations, keeping their characters just on the right side of two-dimensional to be believable and adorable, without ever spoiling the winning formula.

That the family also included a deranged boss – first Chris Morris as Denholm, later Matt Berry as Douglas - and occasionally depressed goth Richmond (Noel Fielding) – just helped sweeten the deal.  The characters were loud enough to understand on first viewing, and the performances matched the pitch perfect scripts.  It’s hard to argue the show isn’t one of the highlights of the last decade, and propelled it’s three leads to superstardom.

© Hal Shinnie

© Hal Shinnie

And that was the problem – it’s taken four years to get them back together for one last hurrah because O’Dowd, Ayoade and Parkinson have become megastars, and rightly so.  Yet in spite of this, The Internet Is Coming never feels awkward, or even that there’s been such a long break since they were together on screen.  To all intents and purposes, this is business as usual.

The plot, from what little we can reveal, concerns the usual social faux-pas which the gang typically find themselves in.  This time around, Jen and Roy accidentally find themselves the star of a viral video when a trip to get a good cup of coffee ends disastrously, while Moss turns to Douglas to ‘shoot-the-shit’ and find new levels of confidence, and Douglas does his best to get out of filming an episode of Secret Millionaire.

© Hal Shinnie

© Hal Shinnie

Each character gets a chance to shine, with Moss’ shopping trip and subsequent street encounter in particular standing out as easily being one of the funniest things the show has ever put on screen.  Part of the fun with Linehan’s sitcom work has often been how obviously he signposts the tropes of sitcom expectations, whilst also ensuring the ride towards the obvious outcome becomes the real surprise, and that’s particularly the case with Roy and Jen’s attempts at redemption via a nifty presentation.

Elsewhere, Linehan’s gift for satirical spoofing shows no signs of slacking.  Graham knows the internet well, and uses this knowledge to his advantage across Moss’ new web show, jokes about viral videos and a cheeky dig at online-anarchists Anonymous.  There’s also a short but sweet celebrity cameo that raises a quick titter, and of course, a certain other character makes a charming, albeit brief return following a tiny spot of nudging and nurdling and being in the right place at the right time.

Throw in enough gentle callbacks to previous episodes, including a truth which proves shocking to one character in particular – and a final scene that offers a few small morsels of closure for Roy, Moss and Jen, and we’re left with a warm glow inside.  Sure, the nature of the plot means there are precious few scenes of the whole gang in one place, and perhaps there will be some out there who long for something on a larger scale, but somehow this seems as close to perfect as it could get, and by not dwelling on the goodbyes, the IT department can kinda linger, forever more.

The IT Crowd’s Final Bootup

11 Sep

© Talkback Thames / Steven Peskett

As we announced back in July, the final, long-awaited episode of The IT Crowd will air during a special The IT Crowd Night, on Friday 27th September at 9pm, on Channel 4.

The hour-long episode re-unites Richard Ayoade as Moss, Katherine Parkinson as Jen, Chris O’Dowd as Roy and Matt Berry as Douglas, as well as writer and director Graham Linehan.

There will also be an appearance by Noel Fielding as everyone’s favourite Goth, Richmond.

Despite rumours to the contrary, the title of the episode is ‘The Internet Is Coming’; we’ll let you know more details on the episode and the supporting shows as soon as we can.

So clear your schedule and get ready to ‘turn it off and on again’ one last time!


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