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BBC Store now open!

5 Nov


The BBC has unveiled the long awaited BBC Store: a new digital service that makes it easy for audiences to buy, enjoy and keep their favourite BBC programmes. And the best news of all is that it’s officially open right now!

A large collection of titles across genres are available at launch, featuring recently broadcast shows, television favourites and best of all – lost gems from the BBC archive.



BBC Store will work in tandem with the company’s longstanding iPlayer service – with a new My Programmes area allowing full playback.

iPlayer itself will continue to offer the same range of programmes to watch live, catch up on and download for up to 30 days for free, while the Store collection will continue to build each day. In fact, many BBC programmes will be made available to buy on BBC Store the day after transmission including, for the first time, serial dramas such as EastEnders and Holby City.

As an introductory offer to celebrate the launch of this new service and to get collections started, anyone registering with BBC Store will be eligible for a 25% discount on their first purchase. Audiences can buy programmes using a UK registered credit or debit card, and gift cards will be available to buy on the high street and in supermarkets in the coming weeks.

© Baby Cow

© Baby Cow

But what you really want to know is what TVO related goodies will be available from launch. Confirmed so far are the following classics and recent favourites:

  • The Detectorists – written, directed by & starring Mackenzie Crook and featuring Simon Farnaby
  • Doctor Who – The biggest sci-fi show in the land, with a cavalcade of TVO guest stars over the years. It’s various spin-off series will also be made available.
  • The Fast Show – Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse’s seminal sketch show phenomenon featuring Simon Day, Mark Williams, Arabella Weir, John Thomson and Caroline Aherne alongside Felix Dexter, Colin MacFarlane, Rhys Thomas and Tony Way
  • Horrible Histories – Education has never been so much fun, as the wickedly entertaining show featuring Simon FarnabyAlice LoweKaty Wix and many more makes a welcome reappearance.
  • Human Remains – The little seen anthology series featuring Julia Davis and Rob Brydon as a string of darkly comic creations.
  • Knowing Me, Knowing You // I’m Alan Partridge – Steve Coogan‘s masterful creation in three dynamite series of cringeworthy faux pas in the name of CHAT.
  • The League of Gentlemen – The show that launched the careers of Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton, and pioneered a darker and cinematic side to alternative comedy on television.
  • The Thick of It – The now infamous political comedy from Armando Iannucci starring Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison alongside Alex MacQueenRebecca FrontJustin Edwards and many more.


Plus a few other legendary shows with looser TVO connections:

  • Absolutely Fabulous – The recent specials featured Lucy Montgomery
  • Blackadder – Which featured an early appearance by Geoffrey McGivern in Series Three
  • Gavin and Stacey – Featuring a recurring role for Julia Davis
  • Live at the Apollo – Featuring several TVO guests over the years
  • The Office – Look out for Matt Holness in several episodes!
  • Sherlock – Featuring appearances by Alice Lowe and Tony Way
  • The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer – Arguably the finest sketch show of the 90s – and look out for a young Matt Lucas!

There’s also promise of a Steve Coogan collection (which may include the Paul Calf Video Diaries, Coogan’s Run and various other assorted classics).

And that’s just the start of it. We’ll give you a full run-down of everything that’s in the store as soon as we can. Until then – we suggest you head on over to BBC Store right now, and start digging!

Holness Gets Tangoed

13 Jun

© Matthew Holness

The latest Tango promotional campaign has been directed by none other than Matthew Holness.

The star of Garth Marenghi’s DarkplaceMan to Man with Dean Learner and Life’s Too Short made the switch to directing in recent years, with his debut short 2011’s A Gun for George followed by 2012’s Playhouse Presents special The Snipist starring Douglas Henshall and John Hurt.

Holness, who last appeared on our screens in the second series of Toast of London has made an eight-minute advert purporting to be footage from a shopping channel. In it, a Tango rep explains the Five Stages of Tang to the host, and reveals their new product: the Ring Pullinator 6000.

Made in collaboration with advert agency 101 and The Day Today legend David Schneider’s production company That Lot, the ad has already generated a lot of interest for the soft-drinks team, and will be followed by future adverts in the series across the summer. You can see it for yourselves below.

A Third Round of Toast

9 Dec

© Kuba Wieczorek

Toast of London – the bonkers but brilliant sitcom from Matt Berry and Arthur Matthews, is to return for a third series.

The confirmation was made some time ago, following the show (and Matt’s) numerous nominations in this year’s British Comedy Awards (set to take place next week), but made public yesterday as the second series came to an end.

Featuring Matt as a successful television and stage actor who also happens to be a blustering buffoon, the show also features Doon Machkichan, Robert Bathurst and Harry Peacock, and has featured guest appearances from TVO regulars Matt Holness and Rufus Jones, as well as Snuffbox veteran Alan Ford.

Despite debuting to low audience figures, Toast has developed a cult following and its stock has risen considerably with its second series, after winning the Rose D’Or for Sitcom in September, and gaining six British Comedy Award Nominations.

TVO would like to extend our huge congratulations to Matt and the team at Objective, and can’t wait to see more of Steven Toast very soon.

Dead Funny

20 Aug


News has just reached us via the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog, that a new horror anthology, featuring stories from todays top comedians, will be published on 1st October.

The book – Dead Funny – has a few TVO connections, with contributions from Matt Holness, Reece Shearsmith, Katy Brand and Noel Fielding‘s Buzzcocks companion – Phil Jupitus.

The book is edited by Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage) and Johnny Mains (horror writer and editor), and is published by Salt Publishing.

This “unique exploration into the relationship between comedy and terror” also features contributions from Mitch Benn, Bridget Christie, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, Charlie Higson, Rufus Hound, Robin Ince, Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Al Murray, Danielle Wheeler, Tim Key, Neil Edmond and Michael Legge.

You can find out more about the book and the story behind it here at Ginger Nuts of Horror.

Dead Funny is available to pre-order now from TVO Store.

The Finch Tapes

8 Aug
© Celluloid Apocalypse

© Celluloid Apocalypse

A long time ago, you may remember Matthew Holness‘ brilliant short film, A Gun For George was released to the short film circuit.  It was later followed by airings on Film4, and a UK DVD release as part of The Joy of Six collection.

The film sees Holness as Terry Finch, forgotten author of The Reprisalizer, Britain’s toughest pulp paperback vigilante. Treading a thin line between reality and fantasy in his isolated caravan, his compulsive and cathartic visions of violent retribution refuse to die with his writing career, and a dark new chapter unfolds…

Now, Australian company Celluloid Apocalypse is to release the 70s homage on an extremely limited edition VHS.  Each of the 50 (yes, FIFTY) copies comes complete with a miniature Australian daybill poster, a copy of FINCHLAND #19 fanzine, and comes in a custom made VHS book box.

At $40.00, it’s somewhat of a deluxe item for diehard fans, but it’s also a must-have item for many of you out there… will you be one of the lucky ones? Pre-order it whilst you can!

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

Regular readers of TVO might remember Paper People – cut out and keep paper models of your favourite TVO folk. We’ve just revisited the site and there are many, many more characters for you to cut out and keep. How many do you recognise from the pictures below?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on your own Wee Paper People, all you have to do is click on the website, download your favourites then print and assemble. Assembly instructions are on the site.

If you want something more personal, the creator of all these fantastic models, Sally Grosart, can make personalised little people of your friends and family, or personalised cards or banners. To contact Sally and see the rest of her creations click here.

Hidden Comedy Gems

12 May

© BBC2

BBC2’s 50th anniversary celebrations have been bringing us moments of unexpected delight for the past couple of weeks.

It’s been an opportunity to look back on classic BBC2 comedy shows, some of which provided a launch pad for the artists that we write about – and last night was no exception, with BBC2’s Hidden Treasures.

The hour-long show featured early turns from Steve Coogan, Julia Davis, Matthew Holness, Richard Ayoade, Paul Kaye and Kevin Eldon. Just as excitingly, however, it gave us 60 glorious minutes of (mostly) the best surreal/bonkers/off-kilter comedy from the past 50 years. Milligan, Pete & Dud and early Fry & Laurie – wonderful stuff!

The programne is available to watch for 6 more days on iPlayer. If you like the type of comedy we write about (and if you’re reading this, let’s assume you do), it’s well worth a watch.

Darkplace Live!

4 Apr
© Grimmfest

© Grimmfest

The lovely people over at Den of Geek have compiled a ‘where are they now’ about the cast of Darkplace to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show. You can catch up here.
Of course if you are a regular TVO reader, none of it will come as a surprise to you, as we give you regular updates on what the cast are up to these days.

Fans of Darkplace (and who isn’t?), who can get to Manchester, can treat themselves to a live screening of all 6 episodes followed by a Q&A session with Matt Holness and Alice Lowe! The event is on Sunday May 18th from 3pm to 10pm at Gorilla, Manchester.

Tickets are on sale NOW from Grimmfest, where you can also get more details of the event.

Matt Berry Observer Interview

17 Mar
© Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian

© Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian

Matt Berry was interviewed by The Observer this weekend and spoke about his varied career, some hints on what is in store for the next series of Toast of London, and how he’s inspired by things that frighten him.

Matt told John Plunkett that he got into comedy ‘by the back door’, through his friendship with Matt Holness and Richard Ayoade, who he met while doing warm-ups at Mighty Boosh gigs, and working at the London Dungeon.

We also find out that Toast of London is nominated for tomorrow’s Royal Television Society Awards – along with Psychobitches and  also a Broadcasting Press Guild Award, where it is up against Ambassadors.

Click here to read the full article and listen to the interview.

Sky Arts Presents Kevin Eldon

5 Mar


Playhouse Presents..., the series of one-off comedies and dramas on Sky Arts is returning for 2014.

The channel has announced the series line-up, which includes Damned, a comedy written by Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks, set in a social services department and starring Ms Brand and Kevin Eldon, to be broadcast on 1st May.

The series will also feature the UK TV debut of Friends star Matthew Perry alongside Tim Key in The Dog Thrower, to be shown on 12th June.

Previous series of Playhouse Presents have featured many TVO favourites, including the debut short film from Matt Holness: A Gun for George, and Paul Kaye starring with Kylie Minogue in Hey Diddly Dee.

The last series also led to a full series of Psychobitches, featuring Katy Brand, Sharon Horgan and Julia Davis.

To read more about all the drama’s in the series pop over to the British Comedy Guide.

Darkplace Double Act!

16 Jan

© Avalon

For a wee while now we’ve been getting rather excited about an event that’s taking place this Saturday in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. And now we’ve heard some news that’s tipped us over into being dangerously overjoyed.

As we’ve previously mentioned, on Saturday 18th January all 6 episodes of the iconic comedy series created by Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade will be shown at the 250-seater Ciné Lumière in London, as part of Totally Serialized TV Festival. Holness’s short A Gun for George will be shown afterwards, and the man himself will be there to answer questions afterwards in a Q&A session.

The new news is that Matt will be joined at the Q&A by none other than Alice Lowe, who played Madeleine Wool/Dr. Liz Asher in the series. How good is that??

Tickets are £12 (£10 conc) and the event runs 6-9pm (although you can stay and watch scary films until dawn if you fancy it!). For more information and to buy tickets visit the event website.

Cult Comedy Marathon

12 Jan


If you’re into funny telly shows and you enjoy sitting in the dark, then this will be right up your street! Totally Serialized is running an afternoon of cult comedy viewing at Ciné Lumière in London on Saturday, 18th January.

Starting at 2pm, the Cult Comedy Marathon includes TVO-connected shows Saxondale (S1 Ep1), Nighty Night (S1 Ep1) and Spaced (S1 Ep1) – plus The Office (S1 Ep4).

There will also be a couple of short-coms from France (apparently a very popular format across the Channel): Un Gars, use Fille, starring Jean Dujardin before he achieved international fame, and Bref.

Tickets for the event cost just £5 (£3 conc) and can be purchased here.

While you’re at it, why not stick around for the Totally Serialized 6pm Special Screening of the entire series of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, plus Q&A with Matthew Holness? What a way to celebrate the show’s 10th Anniversary!? For more details, take a look at our earlier post.

Happy 10th! Celebrate In A Darkplace.

8 Dec

© Avalon

How time flies…did you know that Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is coming up to its 10th anniversary? To commemorate this auspicious occasion Totally Serialized are hosting a special Darkplace screening!

On 18th January 2014, all 6 episodes of the iconic series created by Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade will be shown on the big screen at the 250-seater Ciné Lumière in London. The event is part of Totally Serialized TV Festival.

The darkly comic short A Gun for George will be shown afterwards, and Matthew Holness himself will be there to answer questions about The Reprisalizer. If that wasn’t enough, the oragnisers have said they might also show Nighty Night on the Saturday afternoon!

Plus, if you want to stay the night you can watch the complete first series of French zombie drama The Returned until dawn. Fancy dress is optional.

Tickets for that little lot are just £12 (£10 conc.) and can be booked here. For more information visit the event website or facebook page.

Boosh-a-thon In North Wales

20 Oct

© Mighty Boosh

Theatr Colwyn in North Wales is holding a Mighty Boosh marathon viewing session on 23rd November.

All 20 episodes from series 1-3, screened back to back, will be shown from midday to midnight! The event is being held in conjunction with the Tough Crowd photography exhibition by Dave Brown which is running at Oriel Colwyn, the gallery upstairs at Theatr Colwyn.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, Dave will be making a special appearance during the Boosh-a-thon, talking about his time with the Boosh, his Tough Crowd exhibition and his continuing work as with the Afrikids charity, which helps children in Ghana.

Just how awesome does this sound?? Tickets are £10 and early booking is recommended. Proceeds from the Boosh-A-Thon are going to Afrikids.

Currently there doesn’t appear to be any facility to book online, so we suggest you contact the theatre box office on 01492 872000 to book. The box office is open Monday – Friday, 10am-5pm. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets at Venue Cymru, Monday to Saturday 10am – 7pm.

So who’s going in fancy dress then?…


A Possum For Matt

17 Oct


Writer and star of Darkplace, Matt Holness, has a new Kindle e-book available to download now.

Possum is a short tale of psychological horror and is 5739 words long. That’s all the information we have but Mr Holness is known for his dark tales and this one is no exception.

The e-book is available to download from for the tiny sum of £1.53 – you couldn’t get a cup of coffee for that, and maybe you will get into the mood for Halloween!

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…

Darkplace Memorabilia To Be Auctioned!

26 Aug
© Matthew Holness

© Matthew Holness

Matthew Holness, the creator of Garth Marenghi, has announced on Twitter that there will be an auction of memorabilia from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace –  the spoof horror series he made with a plethora of TVO names including Richard Ayoade, Alice Lowe, Matt Berry, Julian Barratt, Kim Noble, Stuart Silver, Graham Linehan and Noel Fielding.

There is precious little information about what items will be included in the auction apart from the tantalising glimpse of Dr. Rick Dagless’ door sign, pictured right.

The auction will start on the 27th September on eBay and will be in aid of a good cause. To keep up to date with details on the auction, follow Matthew Holness and Julia Raeside on Twitter.

Holness Home Cinema

19 Jul

Matthew Holness has curated a slection of films on Curzon Home Cinema.

© Digital Desperados

In a continuation of Curzon Home Cinema’s guest curator series, Holness has put together  a set of six acclaimed films which can be watched from £1.70. The six films are: The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Radio On, Fires Were Started, Blackthorn and Sexy Beast.

To find out more about the selected films and to read why Holness has chosen each one, visit the Curzon’s website here.

To view the films go to Curzone Home Cinema’s homepage.  Please note that the films are only available to people in the UK and Ireland.

It’s Your Choice At The TV Awards

27 May

It’s time for you to do the choosing… as the voting for the annual TV Choice Awards is open once again!

© TV Choice Magazine

The TV Choice Magazine’s awards are open for voting for the 17th time and this year’s ceremony will be hosted by Ben Miller. The event will take place on September 9 but fans have the opportunity to vote for their favourite shows and actors until midnight, June 14.

© Baby Cow Productions / Sky Atlantic

As always, we bring you the news because a variety of TVO regulars have made it onto the longlist. In the first category ‘Best New Drama’ we have Utopia which featured Simon Farnaby and Dan Tetsell, and will go up against Mr. Selfridge and The Village.

Unsurprisingly, the category of ‘Best Comedy Series’ proves to be jam-packed with members of our roster. You can vote for Friday Night Dinner (Matthew Holness), Sky sitcom Mount Pleasant (Alex Kirk, James Bachman), Chris O’Dowd‘s award winning sitcom Moone Boy. As if that’s not enough, you can also find Julia Davis‘s amazing (and well-deserving of all the awards) series Hunderby in this category.

‘Best International Series’ includes worldwide smash hit Game Of Thrones which features the talented Tony Way and, as of the current third series, Paul Kaye.

Neil Maskell from Utopia and Kill List can be found in the category ‘Best Actor’ while Hollyoaks with regular cast member Dan Tetsell is up for ‘Best Soap’.

So get those voting fingers ready but note that you can only vote once per person so make it count. You have until midnight on June 14 to cast your vote over at the TV Choice Awards’ website.

Warp Shorts With Matthew Holness

4 Apr

© Warp Films / Film 4

Exciting news… there’s a very rare chance to grill Matthew Holness about his work at the BFI later this week.

The man formerly best known as Garth Marenghi will be attending a Q&A session alongside fellow film-maker Ally Gipps as part of Warp Films birthday celebrations.

Holness’ short film A Gun For George will be shown at the event alongside other notable shorts made by the company.

These include Julian Barratt‘s CurtainsChris Morris‘ My Wrongs 8245-8249, Paddy Considine’s Dog Altogether (featuring Olivia Colman), Paul Fraser’s Arctic Monkeys inspired Scummy Man and Lynn Ramsey’s recent short Swimmer.

Tickets for the event on Friday, April 5th are priced between £8.50 and £11, and are available now via the BFI Website.

If you can’t make it, and haven’t yet seen A Gun For George, you can now view it on the Film4 website over yonder. Meanwhile, both Curtains and My Wrongs 8245-8249 are available on dvd via The Velvet Onion Amazon UK Store.


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