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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…

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!

TV & Radio Times

8 Sep

tv

We want to tell you about some TV and Radio shows that are being aired now or in the near future with TVO connections.

First there is Colin Hoult’s Carnival of Monsters, which had its first outing on BBC Radio 4 extra and can now be heard on Thursday evenings at 11pm on Radio 4. Join Colin Hoult and his host of weird and wonderful characters as they show off their various talents for your delight and horror. As always you can catch it on the iPlayer.

Next is a new series of Start/Stop, written and starring Jack Docherty and starring Katherine Parkinson as Alice. The show centre’s around 3 married couples, and when the situation gets out of control, the action stops and one of the characters addresses the audience. You can catch Start/Stop on Radio 4 at 11am on Fridays. Click here for the iPlayer link.

Radio 4 is again your destination on Tuesdays at 11pm, when you can catch the second series of Detective Sergeant Nick Mohammed, co-starring Anna Crilly and Colin Hoult, as his two colleagues who get caught up in his schemes. If you need to catch up iPlayer is your friend.

Coming soon to a television near you is The Wrong Mans, written by and starring Matthew Baynton and James Corden. Most of you will have seen the trailer by now. The all-star cast includes Dan Renton Skinner, Benedict Wong, Tom Basden and Rufus Jones. To see more about the show including an interview with James and Matt and clips and trailers, head over to the BBC website.

Finally, coming to BBC 2 for Christmas is The Tractate Middoth, a chilling tale by MR James, adapted and directed by Mark Gatiss and starring Nick Burns, Sacha Dhawan , John Castle, Louise Jameson, Una Stubbs, David Ryall, Eleanor Bron and Roy Barraclough. The story is about a man looking for an obscure Hebrew text, in a quiet academic library. All is not as it seems and soon terrifying apparitions  begin to appear.  More information about the half-hour show can be found here.

TVO Regulars In New BBC Shows

26 Aug
© Left: Richard Gilligan, Centre: Tim Whitby / Getty Images, Right: Rich Hardcastle

Left: © Richard Gilligan // Centre: © Tim Whitby / Getty Images // Right: © Rich Hardcastle

The BBC have commissioned a host of new shows for the coming months which will feature some of the regulars of the TVO world.

The highest profile of these is a new seven-part drama called The Honourable Woman which is currently being filmed in London. The show’s creator, Hugo Blick, says it is “a suspenseful spy thriller about inheritance, political and personal, and the lengths some spies will go to not only to deceive their enemies – but also themselves.” A stellar cast including TVO’s Katherine Parkinson has been announced and the show is set to air on BBC Two in 2014.

As for comedy, Seann Walsh will be hosting a one-off, hour-long comedy special direct from the Edinburgh Fringe for BBC Three entitled Seann Walsh’s Late Night Comedy Spectacular which will feature some of the most exciting new acts in comedy. These include the wonderful Aisling Bea as well as Tom Rosenthal and The Rubberbandits.

Also in the pipeline is a new comedy drama, with working title Our Men, which will see David Mitchell and Robert Webb as the British Ambassador of fictional country Tazbekistan and his second in command. Michael Smiley, Tom Hollander and Elliot Cowan are among the guest stars confirmed and the regular cast will include Keeley Hawes and Yigal Naor. The series is expected to be shown on BBC Two later this year.

Autumnal IT Crowd Special

22 Jul

Channel 4 has announced a night of IT Crowd-related programming, which will take place in October (exact date tbc).

© Channel 4

IT Crowd Night will feature the hotly-anticipated final episode, which was recorded at Elstree Studios last month. It will also include a selection of episodes from the last full series of the comedy, which aired in 2010.

Although further  details are sparse, previous Ch4 evenings that have celebrated a particular TV programme have included documentaries about the making of the series, as well as interviews with the writers and cast; however, as yet there’s no confirmation as to whether The IT Crowd evening will feature these extras.

Also scheduled to begin in October is the panel show Was It Something I Said?, which features The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade as a team captain, and the new sitcom Toast starring Matt Berry, who (as all good Peelers know) plays Douglas Reynholm in The IT Crowd.

To get yourself in the mood for geekery, why not take a look at this Top 10 IT Crowd moments, which we published earlier this year?

Be In The IT Crowd

19 Jun

Let’s be honest, not many of us managed to be present at the recent filming of the last ever IT Crowd at Elstree Studios. However, you can still be in the final episode if you’re quick!

© Graham Linehan

Graham Linehan has requested that fans send in photos of themselves reacting to something outrageous on their phone or laptop. Ideally the photo should show a famous landmark in the background too (e.g. Eiffel Tower/North Pole/Great Wall of China).

So if you can take a snap of yourself pretending to look at something really shocking on your phone/laptop with a landmark in the background you have a very good chance of being included in the show. A bit like the photo on the right, but with a real (and arguably less phallic) landmark. Photos should be submitted to TheItCrowd@retort.tv by 25th June.

Due to broadcasting regulations they need to be stringent about a few things, so here are the rules:

  • Stills photos need to be taken on a 10MP camera or higher
  • Don’t include any logos or brands – cover them up or reframe the picture, this includes the makes/models of your laptop or phone
  • Don’t have anyone in the frame that hasn’t given you personal consent to use their image or that you can’t identify and give the full details to them
  • Don’t include any artwork on walls, book covers etc as we won’t be able to seek permission to use the copyright

For more information and the essential legal blurb head over here. Please note that this page invites video submissions too, but only photo submissions are being accepted.

So good luck – and get snapping!

ITvine

8 Jun

Yesterday saw day 2 of the filming of the last ever IT Crowd, and Graham Linehan kindly treated his twitter followers to vine clips of three of the main cast members!

© Graham Lineham

© Graham Linehan

We retweeted Jen’s at the time, but in the spirit of completeness we thought it would be rather jolly to follow up with Moss’ and Roy’s vines. So here, for anyone who didn’t catch them yesterday, are mini videos of Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson - alongside the  paraphernalia of geekery (as you’d expect). Just click on the name to watch the clip.

Filming continues today, and we live in hope of a Douglas Reynholm or Richmond vine to accompany the others!

To follow Linehan on twitter head over here.

Top Ten IT Crowd

28 May

© Talkback Thames

While we’re all buzzing off the fact that the filming of the final IT Crowd is underway, Metro has very kindly put together their Top 10 episodes of the past four series.

It includes such classics as Roy’s plans to shoot a nude calendar, the German cannibal incident and the moment that Douglas Reynholm crashed into his father’s funeral. What’s more, Metro has helpfully included a clip for each of the Top 10. Wonderful stuff! To view the full article (and to see whether you agree with their choices) click here.

Now all that remains is to wonder whether that conversation escalated beyond twitter and Richmond is indeed going to be making an appearance in the hotly-anticipated final episode…

Be In The IT Crowd Crowd

18 May

© Talkback Thames / Steven Peskett

Applications for audience tickets for the filming of the forthcoming IT Crowd special finale are now open!

Tickets are free, and SRO Audiences are running the audience selection process.  The filming of the show will take place on Saturday 8th June 2013 at Elstree Studios, Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 1JG; doors open at 6.45pm. Please note that the minimum age for attending the filming is 16 years.

To apply for tickets (max of 4 per person) visit SRO Audiences here. Be aware that, sadly, applying for tickets doesn’t guarantee you get them.

IT Crowd Back For Final Farewell

7 May

© Talkback Thames

Graham Linehan has confirmed that IT Crowd will be retirning for a one-off 40 minute special.

Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry are  expected to return for the new episode, which will be filmed  in three weeks’ time. As yet, there’s no news as to whether Noel Fielding will be joining the cast for the grand finale.

Last year that O’Dowd revealed that he would be interested in reprising the role of Roy, claiming that the show’s stars still “need closure”.

“I’d love to do something more with those characters,” he said. “I don’t think we said goodbye to them properly.”

The script for the special was written over a year ago, but the cast have been too busy with other filming commitments – and in one case a pregnancy – to work on it until now.

As yet there’s no news about when the special will air, but as soon as we hear anything we’ll be sure to let you know!

Matt & Katherine On The Radio

20 Apr
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

We hope you have all been listening to the new series of Matt Berry‘s surreal psychological award-winning radio show, I Regress, on Wednesdays at 11pm on BBC Radio 4. The latest episode Thunder is available now on BBC Iplayer.

If you keep listening you might have heard Don’t Start, written by and starring Frank Skinner and Katherine Parkinson, as a long-term couple who, during each 15 minute episode, fall out over another apparently trivial flashpoint. You can catch the latest episode here, and the next one on Wednesday at 11.15pm straight after I Regress.

Catch Up With Onion Land

4 Apr

© BBC

The last remnants of your Easter Eggs are starting to look like wicked reminders of pure liquid gluttony.  Spring is officially here, though some parts of the country seem to have swapped sunshine for snow.  As you stop to take a breath, you realise this seemingly barren period in Onion Land is actually filled with glorious programming you might have missed!

There’s a number of TVO regulars cropping up in various shows at the moment, and as some of them won’t be on catch-up for very long, we thought it was as good a time as any to give you a brief round-up.

For starters, Colin Hoult and Steve Oram appeared in the Easter Special of Life’s Too Short - the mockumentary series about Multiverse head-honcho Warwick Davis.  Oram’s also been regularly appearing in Heading Out with Sue Perkins, and all six episodes can be caught on catch-up at present.

Then there’s our full blooded TVO shows to savour – with It’s Kevin halfway though it’s initial run, and all episodes available on iPlayer, you can savour Kevin EldonJulia DavisJustin EdwardsMatt Berry, Alex Kirk and many more joining The Actor, Kevin Eldon for some full blooded titting about.  The show continues on Sunday evening.

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Over on 4oD is every episode of Anna & Katy - the silly channel-hopping style sketch show from Anna Crilly and Katy Wix, which also features appearances from Fergus Craig, Colin Hoult and David McNeill.  The show wraps up next Wednesday.

There’s also the brand new series of Game Of Thrones featuring Paul Kaye airing on Sunday evenings, which is available on catch-up exclusively to Sky customers, alongside Dan Clark and Katherine Parkinson in Love Matters.

If radio is more your thing, don’t forget that Matt Berry returned for Series 2 of I, Regress last night on Radio 4, who are also in the middle of a rerun of Knowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge.

And if repeats are all you crave, you’ll be pleased to know that Mongrels will be heading to freeview channel Dave from April 12th. All this, plus the release of Sightseers on dvd and blu-ray, and a wealth of archive materials available from our TVO Amazon Stores now!  Get stuck in!

Nods & Nominations

26 Mar

© Queenonline

The Oscars may seem like a distant memory already, but Awards Season continues apace, and TVO regulars are, as always, in the offering.

The BAFTA Craft Awards were announced this weekend, and comedy legend Rhys Thomas is up for the highly prestigious Breakthrough Talent award for his documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, which shone a candid light on the period between Freddie’s debut solo album in 1985, and his premature death in 1991.

He’s up against stiff competition from Mike Bartlett for The Town, Julie Gearey for Prisoners’ Wives and Tim Whitnall for Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story.

Elsewhere, in the comedy department, Julia Davis has been nominated for “Writer (Comedy)” due to her gloriously funny period piece Hunderby.  She’s up against Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche and Simon Blackwell for the final run of The Thick Of It (which featured Justin Edwards), as well as John Morton for Twenty Twelve and Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan for Getting On.  For the full list of nominations, check out Digital Spy’s rundown over yonder.

Last week saw the Royal Television Society Programme Awards take place in London, and again, there were TVO connections on show.  Horrible Histories was pipped to the post as Children’s Programme by Room On The Broom, but Sherlock - the last episode of which featured Katherine Parkinson and Tony Way – won the award for Drama Series ahead of Call The Midwife and Line Of Duty.  Sherlock also picked up an award for “Writer – Drama”, given to its showrunner Steven Moffat.

© RTS

However, the big TVO win belonged to BabyCow for Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life - which picked up the nod for Scripted Comedy – so congrats to Steve CooganDave Lambert and the rest of the team!  For more info, pop here.

Lastly, and by no means leastly, the delightful Tony Law won Best Club Comic and Best Show for Maximum Nonsense at this weekend’s Chortle Awards, with Stewart Lee & Richard Herring also scoring double wins.

And of course, as we told you this weekendSightseers picked up yet another gong – this time for Best British Film at the Empire Awards.  All in all, a glorious time for the stars of TVO – and we’re over the moon for everyone winning things!

Love Matters

26 Mar

© Sky Living

There’s a brand new comedy show with TVO connections tucked away on Sky Living later this week – so much so we almost missed it!

Entitled Love Matters, the six half-hour comedies are all about the ugly business of relationships.

The series will be airing in three double bills starting on Thursday evening at 9pm, with Dan ClarkKatherine Parkinson and Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not To Live Your Life, Hunderby) on hand.

Clark & Taylor star in Episode One, 30 And Counting, which blurs the lines between online dating and reality in a tale by writers Chris Little and Tom Vinnicombe.

© Sky Living

Episode Two, which follows at 9:30pm, is entitled Officially Special.  The episode sees Parkinson as world record official Jo Pepper juggling her bizarre job with her complicated social life.

Later episodes feature the wonderful Isy Suttie, Hunderby star Rebekah Staton, the award winning Sarah Solemani and comedy legend Meera Syal, so they’re definitely worth sticking around for.

For more info on the run, visit the show’s mini-site over yonder, where you can savour trailers, preview clips, galleries and behind the scenes interviews with the cast.

There’s currently no news on a dvd release, but if we hear anything, we’ll keep you posted, so stay peeled!

Turning It On Again?

18 Dec

© Talkback Thames / Steven Peskett

Buzz has been spreading across the internet about the long awaited grand finale of The IT Crowd which is due in 2013.

The show was initially pencilled in for a fourth series, with creator Graham Linehan opting for co-writers to help ease the load.  However, this plan was scrapped and a special was announced over a year ago.

What happened next was surprising.  Chris O’Dowd became a Hollywood movie-star, Richard Ayoade became a highly acclaimed movie director, Katherine Parkinson kept adding to her incredibly busy CV with roles on radio, television and in film, as well as preparing to become a mum for the first time, and Matt Berry continued to be generally awesome wherever he turned up throughout 2012.  Linehan too, was also busy, with his stage show The Ladykillers and his forthcoming new sitcom Count Arthur Strong.

And so, the special fell into limbo, though the unwritten rule was simple – as soon as the cast can all be assembled in one place, then it will happen.  Which is exactly what Linehan clarified to a fan on Twitter last week, sending the already fairly obvious faint news into a bit of a tizzy, as these reports from brilliant sites like British Comedy Guide and Den Of Geek confirm.  His actual comment was simple: “Hoping to do a special middle of next year.”

Which is exactly what we’d anticipated, given everyone’s schedules.  This isn’t confirmation of the show’s return, but a nice reminder that it’s still on the agenda.  Here’s hoping for one last adventure with Roy, Moss, Jen and Douglas as soon as possible.  As always, if you want confirmed news, you know which onion to peel…

Hunderby Does The Double

13 Dec
© british comedy awards

© british comedy awards

Julia Davis’s dark, costume-drama comedy Hunderby picked up both Best Sitcom and Best New Comedy Programme awards last night at the British Comedy awards.

The show beat off competition from The Thick of It, Rev and Twenty Twelve in the Sitcom category and Alan Partridge, Cardinal Burns and Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy in the Best New Comedy Programme category.

Hunderby was not the only TVO related winner on the night, the Best Comedy Entertainment Programme award was won by Harry Hill’s TV Burp directed by Spencer Millman.

Nathan Barley writer Charlie Brooker won Best Comedy Entertainment Personality and Horrible Histories was beaten this year by Cardinal Burns (script edited by Rufus Jones) in the Best Sketch show category.

David Rawle from Moone Boy missed out on Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist to Morgana Robinson, but he has plenty of time to win awards!

Another TVO connection was that Katherine Parkinson was on the Jury this year.

Noel Fielding also popped up on film in a tribute to Vic and Bob, talking about Toasty Surrealism!

The full list of winners can be found below, and the whole ceremony is available on 4OD.

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality – Charlie Brooker

Best Sitcom – Hunderby

Best Male TV Comic – Lee Mack

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme – Harry Hill’s TV Burp

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist – Morgana Robinson

Best TV Comedy Actress – Rebecca Front

The Writers Guild of Great Britain – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer

Best TV Comedy Actor – Peter Capaldi

Best Female TV Comic – Jo Brand

Best Sketch Show – Cardinal Burns

Best New Comedy Programme – Hunderby

Outstanding Achievement – Sacha Baron Cohen.

Standard Nerds

27 Oct

© Qwertee

It’s that time again… Qwertee have launched their latest IT Crowd inspired tee… and this one is the best yet!

Paying homage to the video-game influenced title sequences, this Nintendo-styled tee features the polygonal likenesses of Chris O’DowdRichard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson, and can be bought for the next 48 hours over at Qwertee, before being retired indefinitely… so get in there whilst you can!

Pop on over to their website over yonder to buy the shirt for just £8, €10 or $12 plus postage and packaging in the next 24 hours, with the price popping upwards a little after that.

In other related news, the long awaited grand finale of The IT Crowd saga looks likely to film next Spring, according to creator Graham Linehan – who has mooted a filming date of May 2013.  We’ll keep you peeled on any further developments, and in the meantime, spread your love for the show by buying this epic tee!

Funny Fortnight Favourites: The IT Crowd

24 Aug

© Talkback Thames

This weekend sees Channel 4 approach the conclusion of its Funny Fortnight with a countdown of its greatest ever comedy shows.  One show sure to feature is Graham Linehan’s hugely popular sitcom The IT Crowd.

Our American correspondent, and self confessed Anglophile, Trixie, takes a look back at this comedy classic below…

“Have you tried turning it off then on again?”

If you’re familiar with this phrase, you’ve probably watched The It Crowd. This classic British comedy series aired on Channel 4 and ran from February 2006 to July 2010, producing a comfortable four season’s worth of witty, charming and unique entertainment.

Created and written by Graham Linehan, The It Crowd centres on the goings-on at sexy, glamorous Reynholm Industries. However, the three main characters, oddballs Roy, Moss and Jen, don’t get to experience the attractive benefits of the company – as these social misfits are relegated to the dark, dirty basement of the building. Pariahs in the workplace, they are ignored and unappreciated by their boss and co-workers.

© Talkback Thames

Roy Trenneman, played by Chris O’Dowd, is a movie and junk food loving geek, who is looking for love… in all the wrong places, of course.  Jen Barber, played by Katherine Parkinson, has lied on her CV and has no technical experience with computers whatsoever.  A lover of shoes and the beautiful things in life, she longs to escape her basement prison and will lie, lie, and lie in order to accomplish her goal.  Finally, Maurice Moss, played by Richard Ayoade, is a tech genius that lives at home with his mother, and has different sized glasses for different sized plans.  Yeah, they’re that sort of people.

Continue reading

Funny Fortnight Favourites!

13 Aug

© Channel 4

Details have emerged of the exact transmission times for much of the programming in Channel 4′s Funny Fortnight – which features a number of TVO faces in new productions and old favourites.

These include Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan in Bad SugarMatt Berry in Toast Of London  Kevin Eldon and Colin Hoult appearing in The Function Room and repeats of The IT CrowdGarth Marenghi’s DarkplaceBrass EyeJam and more.

The season will also include new material from Vic & Bob and Harry Hill, archive programming long forgotten, stand-up from the likes of Steve Coogan, Lee Evans and Peter Kay, plus a count-down of the Top 30 Comedy Shows in the history of Channel 4.

© Talkback Productions

The special season starts this Thursday night (Aug 16th) with the broadcast of Peter Kay’s latest live show, followed by Phonejacker spin-off Verry Terry from Kayvan Novak.  The first TVO flavoured show crops up after these – with a repeat showing of the infamous Brass Eye at 11:30pm.

Not too long afterwards, the early hours of Friday 17th bring us a repeat of Russell Brand And Friends at 1:10am, which featured a memorable appearance from Paul Kaye as Mike Strutter.  Another Onion flavoured repeat comes along on Saturday night (Aug 18th) with another chance to see a firm favourite from The IT Crowd.  Series two opener The Work Outing is the chosen episode, which of course, was the one with the gay musical, the disabled toilet, and Richmond’s missing copy of Heat.

© Phil Fisk

Sunday evening (Aug 19th), sees the first new show to feature TVO faces, in the form of star-packed trad-sitcom The Function Room.  In this pilot episode, police officers hold a public meeting to discuss crime in the local area.  However, their plans for the event get derailed when it emerges local residents only want to talk about one thing – a notorious criminal with a highly offensive alias.

The Fucntion Room stars the legendary Kevin Eldon, League Of Gentlemen/Psyschoville star Reece Shearsmith, Fast Show favourite Simon Day, and The Vicar Of Dibley‘s James Fleet, alongside Paul Ritter, Daniel Rigby, Blake Harrison and our very own Colin Hoult!  Eldon portrays unflappable Inspector Marks, who wants to present a human face to the force, but is just a little bit weird.  Meanwhile Hoult and Josephine Bulter play local well-to-do couple Stuart & Marina, who effortlessly rub all the other locals up the wrong way.

A few hours later, early into Monday, Aug 20th, is a very rare chance to see a compilation episode of The 11 O’Clock Show from 1999.  The satirical news-based show was a breeding ground for comedic talent – launching the careers of Iain Lee, Daisy Donovan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mackenzie Crook and Ricky Gervais.  It also brought to prominence Rich Hall’s blossoming UK career, and boasted a fine writing staff which included James Bachman, Rhys ThomasTony WayPhil Whelans, Charlie Brooker and Stephen Merchant, and one of it’s associate producers was none other than Spencer Millman!

© Kuba Wierczorek

Monday 20th is, perhaps, the biggest night for Onion fans – starting with the première of Toast Of London at 10pm- written by Matt Berry and Arthur Matthews, and starring Matt alongside Robert Bathurst, Geoff McGivern,  Tracy-Ann Oberman and Lee Cornes.  With that fantastic cast behind it, the lineage of both it’s writers, and the hilarious preview clip which appeared online recently, we’ve marked this one down as a must-see.

© Dan Goldsmith

Not long afterwards, the repeats kick in, with a re-run of Steve Coogan‘s 1994 live show Live & Lewd at 11:40pm, preceded by a new introduction from the comic.  This is followed by a repeat episode of Chris Morris‘ dark and devious project Jam featuring Kevin Eldon and Julia Davies, followed by a very rare chance to see Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace back on our screens with the classic episode, Skipper The Eye-Child.

For those who don’t know, Darkplace aired not long before the first series of The Mighty Boosh, and this sci-fi horror spoof featuring Matthew HolnessRichard AyoadeAlice LoweMatty BerryKim NobleStuart Silver and occasionally, Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding too {though not in this episode, sadly} was a golden nugget of genius which sorely deserves en-mass reappraisal.

Things go a little quiet on the Onion front for a while after that, beyond Friday night’s short editions of Baby Cow’s Comedy Blaps which will feature the voice of Steve Coogan, but with the promise of Julia Davies & Sharon Horgan‘s Bad Sugar, repeats of Anna & Katy, Star Stories  and Black Books, plus the countdown of Channel 4′s greatest comedy shows ever still to come at some point between the 25th and the 31st, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the schedules for any news worth shouting about.

In the meantime, enjoy the gallery of images from Bad Sugar below.  With the likes of Olivia Colman, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Serafinowicz, Greg Davis & Kayvan Novak joining Davis & Horgan, this is looking likely to be an absolute cracker!

Blinkbox Booshdom!

6 Aug

© Copyright blinkbox Entertainment Limited.

Steve Coogan‘s sitcom Saxondale and anthology spoof Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible are amongst a smattering of TVO favourites available to watch free online.

UK based video on demand service Blinkbox offers television and film from both sides of the pond to download or stream via pc, mac, games consoles, tablets and smart tv’s – and already offers a large back catalogue of programming for purchase.

This includes the TVO flavoured likes of The Mighty Boosh, Dead BossThis Is Jinsey, Horrible Histories and Mongrels, and movies Come On Eileen, Weekender and The Boat That Rocked to name but a few.

Coogan’s work is well represented on the site, from films such as Tropic Thunder and Hot Fuzz (also featuring our very own Alice Lowe), and the televisual adventures of one Alan Partridge.

Now as part of a deal with the BBC, a number of comedy classics are available to stream free of charge.

These include Saxondale – which also featured Matt BerryJames Bachman and Tom Meeten, and underrated spoof Dr Terrible - featuring Julia Davis.

© BBC

Also up for free viewing is criminally ignored sitcom Lab Rats featuring Dan Tetsell alongside Chris Addison and Dead Boss star Geoffrey McGivern.

You can also take another look at Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive which co-stars Sharon Horgan and Alice Lowe, or That Mitchell And Web Look featuring James Bachman.

For something a little bit more ‘out there’, you can also catch rarely seen French animation series A Town Called Panic – which included Lucy Montgomery and Alexander Armstrong in it’s English dub cast.

To browse the full Blinkbox catalogue, click on any of the links above, or be really obvious and fall onto it’s home page via the word Battenberg - and of course, almost all of these shows, and more, can still be purchased the good old fashioned way on dvd and blu-ray via THE VELVET ONION AMAZON STORE!

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