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A Toast To The Nominees (Sorry)

10 Nov

There are a fair few TVO-connected nominees in the just-announced shortlists for this year’s British Comedy Awards, including eight for Matt Berry and Toast Of London!

Matt’s sitcom has been shortlisted for best sitcom, best new comedy programme and best comedy moment of the year. And Matt himself has been shortlisted for best TV comedy actor and – bizarrely, given how long he’s been making us laugh – for best breakthrough artist! He also has a nomination in the new internet comedy short category for his Lone Wolf sketch:

Other TVO-related nominees include Horrible Histories for best sketch show; House of Fools, Moone Boy and  The Trip to Italy for best sitcom; Inside No 9  for best comedy drama and best new comedy programme; Aisling Bea for best female TV comic; and finally, Katherine Parkinson for best TV comedy actress.

Brett Domino Trio (a firm favourite at Rich Fulcher‘s Fulchfest a few years ago) also get a nomination for best comedy short, for their film ‘How to Make a Hit Pop Song’. There are a few obvious omissions, in our eyes – but perhaps those particular shows’ inability to be be categorised has flummoxed the shortlisting process?

The full list of nominees is shown below. The ceremony will be hosted by Jonathan Ross and televised on Channel 4 on December 16th.

Best Sitcom
House of Fools
Moone Boy
The Trip to Italy
Toast Of London

Best Comedy Drama
Inside No. 9
The Wrong Mans

Best New Comedy Programme
Inside No. 9
Man Down
The Wrong Mans
Toast Of London

Best International Comedy Programme
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Modern Family

Best Internet Comedy Short
Brand New Morph
How To Make A Hit Pop Song
Matt Berry: The Lone Wolf

Best Comedy Film
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
The Inbetweeners 2
The Lego Movie

Best Comedy Moment of 2014
8 Out 10 Cats Does Countdown
Harry & Paul Story of the Two’s
Monty Python Live (mostly)
Toast of London
Would I Lie To You

Best Male Television Comic
David Mitchell
Lee Mack
Sean Lock
Stewart Lee

Best FemaleTelevision Comic
Aisling Bea
Bridget Christie
Isy Suttie
Nina Conti

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist
Harry Peacock
Joe Wilkinson
Matt Berry
Nick Helm

Best TV Comedy Actor
Harry Enfield
Matt Berry
Mathew Baynton
Paul Whitehouse

Best TV Comedy Actress
Doon Mackichan
Jessica Hynes
Katherine Parkinson
Zawe Ashton

Coogan In Northern Soul

27 Sep

Steve Coogan will be appearing in a forthcoming film which celebrates the iconic music and youth movement from the 1970s, Northern Soul

The film tells the tale of two Northern boys whose worlds are changed forever when they discover black American soul music. Northern Soul was phenomenally popular with young Brits in the 1970s, taking the North of the country by storm. The movement was well known for its amphetamine-fuelled all nighters, most famously at the Wigan Casino.

Coogan plays the part of teacher, Mr Banks, and his brother Martin Coogan, also appears in the film (as a Polish Club owner). It was directed by Elaine Constantine, who says of the project: “I’ve spent a third of my life on this project. Please go and see it at the cinema.”  How could you possibly say no?

Northern Soul is released in UK cinemas on 17th October and on DVD/Blu-ray on 20th October; to find out more about the film and where it will be screened visit the movie’s website.

In the meantime, check out Coogan’s thatch in the trailer below:

New Film Role For Coogan

12 Sep

© imdb

Hot on the footsteps of Steve Coogan‘s appearance in Oscar-nominated Philomena is the news that he will play the lead role in the forthcoming movie Boswell For The Defence.

It was announced that he has signed on to play the title role in the film adaptation of the acclaimed West End play at the Toronto film festival this week.

Boswell For The Defence tells the true story of how the Scottish lawyer, diarist and Samuel Johnson biographer, James Boswell, takes on one last impossible case at the tail-end of his career – to save the life of the convict Mary Bryant from the gallows.

Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers, Ned Kelly) will direct, and production is set for 2015. Producers Mark Pennell and Steve Chasman have said of the film: “Whether it be ‘Lincoln’ or ‘Thatcher’, bringing a historical figure to life is always a challenge, but Steve’s extraordinary ability to blend humour and pathos make him the perfect artist to bring such a complex character like Boswell to the screen. We are excited to see him make this role his own.”

Coogan’s Run On Gold

28 Jul

© Sky Atlantic

Some of you may have seen Steve Coogan – The Inside Story on UKTV GOLD last Saturday evening – a look back at Steve Coogan‘s comedy career, with contributions from Reeves and Mortimer, Ben Miller, Kevin Eldon, John Thomson, Mark Williams, Matt Horne,  Julia Davis and many others.

Following on from this, UKTV GOLD is hosting Summer Nights of Coogan – every weekend from 9pm during August they will be showing a variety of shows from Steve Coogan, including I’m Alan Partridge, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible, The Trip, Paul Calf Video Diary, Coogan’s Run, Saxondale and Live Shows, so it really is a variety pack of Steve Coogan TV.

UKTV GOLD can be found on Sky channel 110 or Virgin 126.

Steve was a guest on Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Thursday to talk about the UKTV GOLD shows – the same day Noel Fielding was on talking about Luxury Comedy 2. Catch up here, Noel is on at – 01:38:05 and Steve is on at – 02:13:20.

Don’t forget you can stock up on all your favourite Steve Coogan titles at TVO Store.

Coogan & Brydon Talk About The Trip

26 May


Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon were recently interviewed about their recent series The Trip to Italy, as part of a live Q&A screened to over 180 cinemas across the UK. Giggle Beats has just published a transcript of the interview, which sees the pair reminisce about the ups and downs of working together.

The interview provides a fascinating insight into the dynamics of the part-improvised show, and sheds further light on where fact and fiction meet; something which isn’t easy to spot as a viewer. Coogan explains: “Part of the tension of the series is that it’s a version of ourselves. There is some truth in it and other things are invented. My slightly precious pretentious personality in it… There is some truth in that, but I’m not quite as bad as that. We cranked that up for the purpose of the show. And Rob doesn’t constantly go round doing funny voices… Though he did do Michael Parkinson twenty minutes ago.”


The duo are full of praise for series director, Michael Winterbottom, who frequently ignored their input(!) Coogan says: “Somehow Michael makes it more than the sum of its parts, because ostensibly it’s just us talking about stuff. What’s crucially different about it is that Rob and I [weren’t involved any further than the shooting]. We tried to talk to Michael and say, ‘Could you edit it this way? Could you cut it here and it’ll be a really good reveal and that’ll be really funny?’ and he just ignored all our advice.”

To read the interview in full click here. And to buy a copy of The Trip to Italy on DVD (for the bargain price of £12.99) click on this. You can also buy two special box sets of both the first series and second series here (TV version) and there (feature version).


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.

St Albans Welcomes The Baron & Philomena

1 May

The Baron, the short film directed by Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten and written by both of them, will be shown on Saturday (3rd May) as part of the St Albans Film Festival. The film also stars Steve Oram, Steven Evans and Barunka O’Shaghnessy, with music by Waen Shepherd and Nick Gillespie (Sightseers) as Director of Photography, so plenty of TVO connections there!

The film will be screened alongside 18 other films as part of the Programme of Main Shorts. This is divided into two parts – Beauty and Futility – and The Baron is in the ‘Futility’ section. Entry to see all the films, from 3pm to 7pm, is a tiny £8, so it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Philomena starring Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench will be shown at 7.30pm. The film has a special relationship with St Albans as the real Philomena lives there. Tickets for this are £6 – £8.

The Awards Ceremony and Closing Party takes place on Sunday 4th from 7.30pm until late. Tickets for this are £20 and include entry to the ceremony and party featuring Cassette Boy Vs DJ Rubbish, or for £10 you can attend just the party. Tom Meeten is nominated for the Best Actor award, so it might be worth going to both.

For information on times, tickets, venues and the rest of the extensive line-up for the Festival, take a look at the Programme.

If you can’t make it to St Albans and have not seen The Baron yet, you can watch it below.

The Trip To Hackney

23 Apr


There’s a rare chance to grill Steve Coogan and his frequent collaborator Rob Brydon next month, when The Trip To Italy reaches Hackney Picture House.

Like it’s predecessor, the six-part series (currently airing every Friday on BBC Two, with catch-up episodes available on iPlayer now) has been edited into a feature film presentation for international audiences.

Cult venue Hackney Picture House will be screening the 108-minute theatrical cut on Wednesday 21st May, where they’ll be joined by Coogan & Brydon for a live Q&A afterwards.

Limited tickets are on sale now, having been granted to Picture House members first, but if you miss the event, you can always console yourself by buying the Trip boxsets in two variations, available from May 12th.

The set featuring both full-length series is £17.50 in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, whilst the feature film versions can be yours for £16.25. If you already own Series One, you can pick up Series Two on its own for £13.50, too.

Partridge Sequel & More!

5 Apr

© Baby Cow

A second Alan Partridge feature film has been announced, in the wake of last year’s successful debut, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

Furthermore, Steve Coogan will also be playing the fictional radio DJ for a second series of Mid Morning Matters on Sky Atlantic. And there are also rumours of a new Partridge special, a spoof of the BBC documentary series Coast, in which Alan will be taking a look at Norfolk’s coastline (where else?).

Henry Normal, who co-owns Baby Cow Productions with Coogan, has said that they are writing new Partridge content now with a view to releasing it at the end of the summer. The movie looks like it could be released next year.

If you haven’t seen the debut Partridge feature yet, don’t forget that you can still buy Alpha Papa at The Velvet Onion amazon store on Blu-ray(£10.99) and DVD (£7).

Tripping Tomorrow With Coogan & Brydon

3 Apr


The Trip 2, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as version of themselves, starts tomorrow at 10pm on BBC2. The second series of the dining-themed travelogue comedy series places the duo in Italy, as they trace the footsteps of Byron and Shelley.

Brydon was interviewed about the show in today’s Shortlist, in which he discussed how the friendship between the characters on screen differs from Coogan and his real life relationship (and how it doesn’t!), his thoughts on a possible third series, and – of course – the competitive impressions which became such a hit in Series 1.

Brydon explains that he’s even been asked to perform the impressions in front of the people who he and Coogan have mimicked, saying: “If Anthony Hopkins asks you to do Michael Caine, you do Michael Caine. I actually got an email from Michael Caine after the first series, telling me he enjoyed my impressions of him.”

By way of illustration, here’s a clip of the pair going full throttle on their Michael Caine impressions in the new series:

To read the interview in full click here. And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night!

Philomena’s Oscar Hopes Dashed

4 Mar

© Pathe

The multi-Oscar nominated Philomena failed to pick up any awards at last night’s Oscars ceremony.

The film, starring Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench has been winning multiple awards since the Autumn, including Best Screenplay at both the Venice Film Festival and BAFTA.

Telling the real life story of a pregnant teen in 50s Ireland, who is placed in a convent whilst her child is sent to America for adoption, Philomena sees the titular character spend the next fifty years searching in vain for her lost son.

The screenplay, co-written by Coogan and Jeff Pope was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, whilst Dench was up for Best Actress, and the film itself was nominated for Best Original Score and, crucially, Best Picture.

Sadly, it was pipped to the post in every category, but at least the ceremony gave us this epic Coogan vine to savour, and the film can be pre-ordered to savour again and again on dvd and blu-ray now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, with release locked down for March 24th.

Toast Of The Awards

26 Feb

© Kuba Wieczorek

There are more award nominations for TVO related shows, starting with Matt Berry‘s Toast of London being nominated in the TV Award category of the Chortle Awards 2014.

Meanwhile in the Empire Awards, A Field in England is nominated for Best Horror, with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and The World’s End both being nominated in the Best Comedy and Best British Film categories, with Edgar Wright nominated for Best Director, making three nominations for The World’s End.

Click on the links to vote for your favourites. The Chortle Awards are open until midnight on 4th March, and while there’s no closing date mentioned for the Empire Awards, it’s best to get your votes in soon!

If you’ve missed any of the nominated shows, don’t forget you can get everything you need at the Velvet Onion Store, just click to buy.

Toast of London

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa DVD or Blu-ray.

A Field in England.

Cornetto Trilogy.

BAFTA For Coogan

16 Feb


Steve Coogan was one of the winners at this evening’s 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards.

Coogan, and his co-writer Jeff Pope, won their BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay for Philomena, beating off stiff competition from the likes of Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street (a select group of films which dominated the awards ceremony).

Coogan said he was inspired to adapt the book ‘The Lost Child of Philomena Lee’ by Martin Sixsmith, after he read an article in the Guardian 4 years ago.

During his speech he noted there were still 60,000 women who had not traced their children, taken from them by nuns and put up for adoption, and “Their story isn’t yet over”.

Philomena picked up a further three nominations, including Best Film.  To see the list of nominations and winners in full, visit BAFTA’s website.

Brian Pern’s Greatest Hits I

11 Feb


This week saw the launch of The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern - the magnificent new spoof documentary series from Rhys Thomas and Simon Day featuring a whole host of big name guest stars.

Episode One aired on Monday, and in amongst the big name artists discussed (Bowie was a fag-stealer; Mercury made his piano out of a really, REALLY big fireplace etc), were a series of vintage clips of prog-rock king Brian Pern in action.

These included Thotch at the peak of their excess, with the epic Land Of The Crab, industrial jungle influence Naughty Man from 1979, and the infamously divisive solo single and pop smash, Spirit Level.

Now the full performances have been dug out of the archives and uploaded to the BBC Comedy YouTube Channel, and you can see all five via this handy playlist below.

In reality, of course, they are the work of the show’s composer, Steve Burge, and also feature Tony WayLucy Montgomery and Al Murray.

Episode Two of the show, which also features Michael Smiley, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse, Nigel Havers, Michael Kitchen, Matt Lucas, Danny John Jules, Roger Taylor, Jools Holland and Peter Gabriel amongst others, will air next Monday on BBC Four.  You can catch Episode One on iPlayer now.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

3 Feb

© Universal Pictures

The Velvet Onion would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away this weekend aged 46.

An acting powerhouse whose glittering career has led to so many different ‘Top Ten Performances’ lists, Hoffman’s sole connection to TVO came with his central role as The Count in Richard Cutis’ 2009 comedy The Boat That Rocked alongside our very own Chris O’DowdKatherine Parkinson, and in a deleted sequence, Rich Fulcher.

Yet his legacy left a resounding impact on our regulars, and the team here, with masterful performances in productions as diverse as The SavagesSynecdoche New York, Boogie Nights, Mary And Max, A Late Quartet, The Hunger Games and The Big Lebowski.

In 2010, he also directed the feature film Jack Goes Boating, in which he also starred, and frequently directed theatre productions even in the later years of his life.  He had almost completed shooting on the final Hunger Games movie at the time of his death, has two other movies in the can for release this year and was about to start work on a new television comedy Happyish following a pilot episode filmed last year with Hedwig & The Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell.

Naturally, his work has inspired generations of performers and will continue to do so for decades to come.  This includes a number of TVO regulars who publicly expressed their shock and grief at his untimely passing.

Steve Coogan led public tributes at the London Critics’ Circle Awards last night, stating: “There are actors and there are movie stars and sometimes they’re both but he was an actor first and a movie star second. He did some tremendous work. People have different opinions about actors but you wouldn’t find anybody who would have a bad word to say about any of his performances – they were all incredibly nuanced.”

In the Twittersphere, more TVO regulars shared their views, which we have collated below.

Rest in peace, Mr Hoffman. You will be missed.

Tripping In Italy With Coogan

19 Jan

© The Guardian

As we’ve previously mentioned, the second series of The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, will be hitting our TV screens later this year, following its premier this month at Sundance. This weekend Coogan and Brydon talked to The Guardian about the show.

The new series sees the pair on a gastronomic tour of Italy (it’s called The Trip to Italy) – so we can expect the familiar banter and exaggerated versions of self that were so darned enjoyable in the first series, but with more pasta and less rain than before.

In the genuinely fascinating Guardian interview the duo talk about their relationship both on and off screen, with Coogan in unusually relaxed form, perhaps encouraged by his partner’s candidness in the interview situation. The article also provides insight into how the the original series came about and how they approach the filming of the show. A worthwhile read about a unique TV show. To see the full interview click here.

Philomena meets Oscar

17 Jan
© The Weinstein Company

© The Weinstein Company

It’s happened! And TVO couldn’t be happier.  Steve Coogan’s Philomena has been nominated for not one but FOUR Oscars!

The film, based on a newspaper article he wondered if he “might be able to turn into a film” is up for the categories of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Original Score.

I was absolutely dumbfounded,” he told The BBC today.

Ever the gracefully humble one, Coogan says he thought it might be a “small interesting film”that some people might like and that he “failed [his] English O level twice . . . so if I can do it, anyone can.”

Well we think your talent is enormous, and apparently the Academy does too. So best of luck with the votes and we’ll see you at the Oscars.

And if you haven’t seen it yet (what are you waiting for?!?!), here is the official trailer.

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.

Stateside Coogan

7 Jan

Steven Coogan is busy Stateside promoting his new film Philomena.

On CBS This Morning he discusses the topic of the film, which has already won a screenplay award and has chatter around it for an Oscar nod.

The hosts also bring up Coogan’s UK comedy fame, which he humbly acknowledges along with his interest in branching out to dramatic roles and projects. Peelers can see the interview here:



And for an added treat, he’ll also be appearing tonight on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which can be viewed tomorrow on either the Comedy Central website, or by Hulu+ subscribers.

Could Coogan Upset The Oscars?

6 Jan

© Baby Cow Productions

The Awards Editor for Variety magazine has indicated that Philomena, co-written by and starring Steve Coogan, could be in the running for an Oscar this year.

Up until December, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave were considered to be shoe-ins, but since then the race has opened up, with a significant level of support for Philomena.

The author of the article, Tim Gray, says of the film when it was shown at the recent Palm Springs Festival: “He [Coogan] got two standing ovations, upon his entrance and his exit, and one vet festgoer said that was unprecedented. More significant, there were a healthy number of Acad voters in the audience, which was rapturous.”

We’ll certainly be keeping our fingers crossed for a Coogan Oscar come the Awards ceremony on March 2nd!

To read the article in full, and to see which other movies could be shaking things up a bit this year, click on this.


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