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Stag: New Dark Comedy for BBC2

20 May
© The Mirror / BBC

© The Mirror / BBC

A new dark comedy thriller commissioned by BBC Two started filming earlier this week on location in Scotland – and the cast features a couple of TVO faces!

Stag is a three-part series about a rather nasty stag weekend. It follows a meek school teacher and his future brother-in-law, plus several obnoxious friends, on a deer-stalking expedition in the Scottish Highlands. As the hunting party realises that they themselves are the prey, sordid secrets begin to emerge and old friendships are tested to the limit in a ruthless battle for survival.

The cast includes Reece Shearsmith and Rufus Jones – plus Tim Key (Inside No 9, Alan Partridge), alongside Jim Howick (Peep Show, Horrible Histories), Stephen Campbell Moore (The Wrong Mans, Our Zoo), JJ Feild (The Musketeers), James Cosmo (Game Of Thrones), Amit Shah (Silent Witness, Jekyll & Hyde) and Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary).

Jim Field Smith, Producer, Director and Co-writer of Stag has said of the mini-series: “I can’t believe this fantastic roster of talent is joining us for seven weeks of hell in the Highlands, and can only assume they haven’t read the scripts properly.”

As soon as we hear any more about the project, including its intended transmission date, (currently planned for later this year) we’ll be sure to let you know.

Sun Trap Is Coming

19 May

BBC One have released the trailer and a batch of promotional images for forthcoming sitcom Sun Trap – and naturally, there’s a TVO face or two to be found lurking within.

© BBC/Happy Tramp/Adam Lawrence

© BBC/Happy Tramp/Adam Lawrence

The series, originally titled Woody when announced last year, stars Kayvan Novak (Four Lions, Inside No. 9, Bad Sugar, Paddington – you name it, he’s probably in it!) as an undercover reporter on the run after being set up by his corrupt editor.

Escaping to a holiday resort, he finds his old mentor (Bradley Walsh) now running a bar, and together the pair take on a series of hilarious investigations by adopting a variety of guises.

Also starring Jamie Demetriou, Emma Pierson and Bea Segura, the show has been described as a combination of MagnumMinder and classic BBC comedy, the show is a madcap, fun-filled adventure in the sun, and features a cavalcade of top notch guest stars, including Jack Dee, Keith Allen, Lee Boardman, Clive Swift, Cavan Clerkin, Sean Gilder and Kara Tointon.

Joining the fun for an episode here and there are TVO regulars Alex Kirk, Tony WayPaul KayeTracy Ann ObermanSimon Day and Morgana Robinson, some of whom can be glimpsed in the trailer below.

Their parts are currently under wraps, and you’ll just have to watch the show to find out more, but as Bradley Walsh’s website let slip that Kaye is playing Frederico Mercury, and the character can be seen in the behind the scenes shots released by the Beeb, it’s safe to tell you you’re in for a real treat with that one!

TVO connections carry on behind the scenes on the show too. The director is Ben Palmer, whose previous directing work has included Star Stories, Penelope Princess of Pets, The Inbetweeners, Milton Jones’ House of Rooms, Bad Sugar and London Irish, all of which had at least some notable involvement from TVO regulars.

On producing duties is Neil Webster, whose work includes Would I Lie To You and The 11 O’Clock Show. Sun Trap marks their second major collaboration together, following Them From That Thing featuring Dan Skinner, Morgana Robinson, Kevin Eldon and lots of other talented folk. Together, they have formed production company Happy Tramp, who are currently working on the forthcoming Morgana sketch-show pilot for the BBC, and have lots of other great things in the pipeline.

Sun Trap begins on Wednesday, 27th May at the rather mental time of 10:45pm on BBC One. Tune in and stay peeled for more info, and enjoy a gallery of images from the first episode below.

 

So Hot Right Now #31

18 May

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

GO GAGA WITH SUCCESSVILLE

Wednesday, 10pm, BBC THREE

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

BBC Three’s delightfully silly murder mystery sitcom gameshow hybrid Murder in Successville continues on Wednesday, with this week’s guest rookie more used to barking orders than taking them.

Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden joins tough, gruff DI Sleet (the impeccable Tom Davis) to investigate the murder of Lady Gaga – poisoned in her own mansion. Under suspicion this week are her niece, Lady Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (a pitch perfect Cariad Lloyd), her invalid aunt Nicki Minaj (Jenny Bede), retired scoutmaster Boris Johnson (Marek Larwood) and her butler Jay-Z (Jason Lewis).

STRANGE & NORRELL RIDE THE STORM

Sunday, 9pm, BBC ONE

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

Following huge acclaim for its first episode, BBC One’s new magical epic returns on Sunday evening, as Eddie Marsan, Bertie Carvel, Paul Kaye and Edward Hogg form a chunk of the incredibly talented ensemble cast bringing Susanne Clarke’s novel to life.

Also featuring Ariyon Bakare, Charlotte Riley, Enzo Cilenti, Samuel West, Alice Englert, Vincent Franklin, Brian Pettifer and a scene stealing turn from Marc Warren, this week’s second installment sees Strange arrive in London to take up an apprenticeship with Mr Norrell, and almost immediately the two magicians are recruited to rescue a stricken ship. Elsewhere, the mysterious Gentleman exerts a sinister influence over Sir Walter Pole’s household, and takes butler Stephen Black to a shadow kingdom where he discovers the price of Lady Pole’s resurrection.

If you missed Episode One last week, you can catch up on iPlayer now, and read our exclusive interview with star Paul Kaye over yonder.

FINAL DELIVERY

Wednesday, 9:30pm, ITV1

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

ITV sitcom The Delivery Man comes to an end on Wednesday evening on ITV1, as Darren Boyd and company bring the maternity ward to life one last time.

This week, the hospital’s drug cupboard is raided and a police forensic team is called in: one of whom is Matthew’s ex, keen to get back together. Elsewhere, Ryan returns, Caitlin has a date with Luke and one of the midwives receives a proposal of marriage.

Co-starring Aisling BeaAlex MacQueen, Faye Ripley and Paddy McGuiness, The Delivery Man has sadly struggled to find its audience, and this may be the last we see of Matthew and his team, so savour it while you can.

CHATTY REECE

Friday, 10pm, CHANNEL 4

© ITV / This Morning

© ITV / This Morning

With Inside No. 9 now out on dvd, and post-production on High Rise nearing completion, Reece Shearsmith takes some time out of his schedule to sit down with Alan Carr for a chat on this week’s edition of his chat show.

He’s joined by former comedy actress turned reality tv judge, Amanda Holden, and her Britain’s Got Talent co-judge Alesha Dixon, as well as indie band The Vaccines. The show will be filmed later this week, so keep an eye on Alan’s Twitter for more info.

 

AISLING GETS SQUARED

Sunday, 7:15pm, ITV1

© September Films / GME / ITV

© September Films / GME / ITV

Fast becoming a regular on our screens, the delightful Aisling Bea makes an appearance on Celebrity Squares this weekend, joining host Warwick Davis for his revival of the classic game show.

Fellow celebrities having fun this week are Nina Wadia, Katherine Kelly, Frank Skinner, Dane Bowers, Rylan Clark, Alice Levine and regulars Tim Vine and Joe Wilkinson.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on stage, often in London, but as demonstrated this week, also up and down the country. Here’s where you can find them throughout the week.

© Unknown

© Unknown

Monday 18th May

Kevin Eldon, Simon Munnery & Liam Williams
The Soho Theatre, London
7:30pm, £15
TICKETS

Wednesday 20th May

Tony LawPaul Foot, James Acaster, John Robins, Robin Ince, Sara Pascoe & Terry Alderton
The Bloomsbury Theatre, London
7:30pm, £17.50
TICKETS

Richard Sandling & Nick Helm
Betsey Trotwood, London
8pm, £3.50 – £5
TICKETS

Thursday 21st May

Aisling Bea & Sara Pascoe
Market Theatre, Hitchin
8:45pm, £10.45
SOLD OUT

Paul Foot
Bridgwater Arts Centre, Bridgwater
8pm, £13.75
TICKETS

Rachel Stubbings: Shooting the Breeze
Shortwave Cinema
7:15pm, £7.70
TICKETS

© Grand Theft Impro

© Grand Theft Impro

Phil Whelans, David Reed, Susan Harrison & Paul Foxcroft
Wheatsheaf, London
8:30pm, £5.50
TICKETS

Friday 22nd May

Aisling Bea, Tony Burgess, George Zach, John Gibson & Raymond Mearns
The Stand, Newcastle
8:30pm, £6-£12
TICKETS

Kevin Eldon, Elis James, Phil Nichol & Nick Helm
Bush Hall, London
7pm, £16
TICKETS

Paul Foot
The Watermark, Ivybridge
8pm, £12.50
TICKETS

Saturday 23rd May

Aisling Bea, Tony Burgess, George Zach, John Gibson & Raymond Mearns
The Stand, Newcastle
8:30pm, £6-£12
TICKETS

Paul Foot
The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington
8pm, £13.50
TICKETS

Sunday 24th May

Aisling Bea, Tony Burgess, George Zach, John Gibson & Raymond Mearns
The Stand, Newcastle
8:30pm, £6-£12
TICKETS

Paul Foot, Ardal O’Hanlon, John Robins & Sara Pascoe
Comedy Hullabaloo, Staford Upon Avon
9pm, £18.50
TICKETS
ALL WEEK

Tracy Ann Oberman in McQueen
St James Theatre, London
7:30pm (and Saturday matinee at 2:30pm), £25-65
TICKETS

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

24 Minutes with Neil Cole

15 May

© Dave Brown

Stand-up comedian, actor and presenter Neil Cole has been announced as the host of Eurosport’s Le Mans 24 Minutes.

The pan-European television sports network airs in 54 countries, and is part of Sky’s package of channels within the UK. The network signed a three year deal for coverage of the 24 hour races at Le Mans in 2013, covering the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Every day during the competition, Cole will be presenting the live ‘magazine’ show from the event, covering all the action with his usual flair.

Previous presenting work for Neil has included 2013’s Man vs Ride for National Geographic, documentaries for GinxTV, and a three year stint presenting World Rally Championship coverage for Dave.

This year’s Le Mans event takes place on 13th and 14th June. For more details on tx times for Neil’s coverage, keep an eye on his Twitter profile over yonder.

An Audience With McQueen

13 May
© St James Theatre

© St James Theatre

Hot new West End play McQueen opens this week, featuring Tracy Ann Oberman in its cast.

Described as a beautiful and haunting voyage into the visionary imagination and dark dream world of the late Alexander McQueen, fashion’s greatest contemporary artist, the play takes its inspiration from a comment made by the man himself about the girl he imagined lived in a 600-year old elm tree in his garden.

In the context of the play, a mysterious girl has indeed been hiding in McQueen’s garden for the past eleven nights, secretly watching him as he struggles to find inspiration for his new collection.  As the story begins, she climbs down and breaks into his house to steal a dress she could never afford to buy, in the hope of becoming someone special, but is caught in the act by the designer, who takes a chance and lets her stay.  Together, they go out onto the streets of London and into the whirlwind of McQueen’s life, though as the girl begins to unravel before him, it becomes clear that she needs more than her dream dress to see her through the night.

The cast is headed up by Stephen Wright (Bluestone 42, Sherlock), portraying McQueen in a moment of uncanny casting genius, whilst former Glee star Dianna Agron plays the mysterious girl in question, and Tracy Ann Oberman plays ill-fated stylist Isabella Blow.

Oberman has been on the publicity trail for the part, including a piece in the Express, and an interview with The Resident. If you’d like to see her in the production, you have until 27th June, and tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss out!

Not Sophie’s Choice… But Maybe Yours!

12 May
© Jack Ladenberg

© Jack Ladenberg

There’s a chance to see a new short film featuring Alex MacQueen and Catherine Tate over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend, as well as comedy from Lou Sanders and other special guests.

Not Sophie’s Choice is a soft and sincere short story of a troubled middle class couple (Tate and MacQueen), and their attempt to break some very sad news to their 10 year old daughter, Sophie (the brilliant Skye Degruttola).

The news is something no young child wants to hear from their parents, but as their extra marital affairs are unravelled, it turns out the sad news is far from what Sophie was expecting.

Written by Tom Cottle, directed by Matt Holt and produced by Gina Lyons at Porcelain Film, the short is tempting enough as it is, but the event has managed to bag three stand-up comedians to support the screening.

TVO regular Lou Sanders is joined by fellow stand-up Mark Restuccia and Radio 1 DJ Greg James – who was recently a rookie detective in BBC Three show Murder in Successville (his episode airs on Wednesday 13th May, to be precise).

It all takes place at The Soho Theatre on Sunday 24th May from 5:30pm, and we can think of no better way to spend an hour of your time and ten pounds of your money this bank holiday. Book tickets over yonder.

So Hot Right Now #30

11 May

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

 

MAGIC UNLEASHED WITH STRANGE & NORRELL

Sunday, 9pm, BBC ONE

This week sees the long awaited launch of BBC One’s new fantasy drama Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which features Paul Kaye and Edward Hogg amongst its hugely talented ensemble cast.

© BBC / Todd Antony

© BBC / Todd Antony

The show is based upon Susanne Clarke’s bestselling novel, and there’s a strong pedigree behind the camera, with writer Peter Harness and director Toby Haynes having previously worked on Doctor WhoWallander and Sherlock between them. Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel lead the cast, which also includes Charlotte Riley, Alice Englert, Enzo Clienti, Vincent Franklin, Brian Pettifer and Marc Warren in full on ‘spooky bastard’ mode.

We’ll have a full spoiler free preview of the first episode for you later this week, as well as a catch-up with star Paul Kaye. In the meantime, we can tell you that while the serial may be slow to get going at first, the mystery and intrigue builds as the episode proceeds, the cast act their socks off, and it leaves you wanting more. Which you’ll receive each Sunday for the following seven weeks.

For now, then, set your DVRs, put a reminder in your phones or keep an eye on iPlayer, because we guarantee this is one not to be missed. Episode One airs on Sunday evening at 9pm on BBC One. US audiences can see the show from June 13th. In the meantime, you can see a trailer below.

FRESH MURDER IN SUCCESSVILLE

Wednesday, 10pm, BBC THREE

BBC Three’s new partially improvised sitcom-gameshow-hybrid Murder in Successville continues this week, with Radio 1 DJ Greg James the new rookie partner for Tom Davis unorthodox DI Sleet.

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

This week, the murdered celeb in the run-down town of Successville is none other than Reese Witherspoon, here the owner of Successville’s biggest chain of bars, in one of the daftest puns we’ve heard in a while. As ever, one of the town’s inhabitants did it – but is it the right honorable Reverend Gary Barlow (Colin Hoult), strip club owner Mary Berry (Frances Barber), or casino boss Justin Bieber (Cariad Lloyd)?

For some, the delightful aspect of Murder in Successville is watching the immersed celeb guest crack under pressure, and with Tom Davis ripping him to shreds with his gruff, no-holds barred madness, there’s plenty of that on display. For us, though, the real delight is watching the impressive cast improvise characters around the bewildered star, which never gets old when your cast is this good.

Radio 1 DJ Greg James is the poor rube dropped into the entertaining, immersive murder mystery. He’s got to work out why Reese Witherspoon, owner of Successville’s biggest chain of bars (see what they did there?), has been murdered. Playing junior to the gruff, unorthodox-verging-on-insane DI Sleet (deadpanned brilliantly by Tom Davis), he’s criticised for being “a bit camp and weird”.

Also featuring Liam Hourican, Luke Kempner and Nick Mohammed, and music by Waen Shepherd, you can catch Episode Two on Wednesday evening at 10pm. Episode One, which also featured Tony Way, is available on iPlayer now. You can see a preview clip of this week’s episode, in which Greg James is forced to tackle an unexpected phone call, below, and catch our interview with Tom Davis over yonder.

W1A WRAPS UP

Thursday, 10pm, BBC TWO

The second series of the critically acclaimed W1A ends this week, days after star Jessica Hynes received a BAFTA for her work on the show.

© BBC / Jack Barnes

© BBC / Jack Barnes

In this fourth and final instalment, the corporate merry-go-round continues to turn as the recent appointment of David Wilkes (Rufus Jones) to the post of Primetime Factuality Executive hasn’t improved his ability at actually making shows work, and it’s up to Izzy (Ophelia Lovibond) to provide inspiration for content to fit inside his new title One Big Family.

Elsewhere, personable Lucy Freeman (Nina Sosanya) has been persuaded to stay at the BBC by being made Head of Inclusivity, but a difficult situation involving a BBC London weather man and a female present threatens to blow up and take the management team with it, and Freeman’s feelings towards Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) are now rivalled by those of the brutal Anna Rampton (Sarah Parish).

Hynes role as PR guru Siobhan Sharpe is, by her own admission at Sunday’s BAFTA ceremony, just one part of the talented ensemble, which also includes fellow BAFTA winner Jason Watkins, acclaimed actress Monica Dolan, and up and coming talent Hugh Skinner. The award win means we’ve unlikely seen the last of the team, and that’s no bad thing, as this episode demonstrates the show doesn’t so much go out on a high, but stays consistently magnificent from start to finish. More, please.

Catch the final episode on Thursday evening at 10pm, and previous editions on iPlayer now. The first two series are also released on dvd at the end of the month, and can be ordered for £14 from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

THE DELIVERY MAN CONTINUES

Wednesday, 9:30pm, ITV

Episode Five of The Delivery Man airs on Wednesday evening, once again starring Darren Boyd alongside Faye Ripley, Paddy McGuiness, Aisling Bea and Alex MacQueen.

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

This week, former policeman turned midwife Matthew (Boyd) discovers a baby abandoned in one of the hospital’s cupboards. As he desperately tries to track down the mother before the authorities are called in, he must fend off senior consultant obstetrician Luke (MacQueen), who can sense something is up. Elsewhere, Lisa (Aisling Bea) plays agony aunt and Pat (Llewella Gideon) shows her colleagues a startling artwork she has created.

You can catch the latest episode on Wednesday at 9:30pm on ITV, and previous episodes are available now via ITV Player. There’s currently no sign of a dvd release, so if you’re a fan of the show, it’s probably a good idea to savour these while you can.

ALSO ON TV THIS WEEK

There’s a chance to see Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa if you haven’t already bought it (and really, you should have done a long time ago!), as the long-awaited debut feature-film for Steve Coogan‘s irrepressible broadcaster airs on BBC Two on Saturday from 9:20pm.

© BabyCow

© BabyCow

That’s followed an hour after it finishes by another chance to watch the sublime In the Loop – which put The Thick of It‘s Malcolm Tucker (the incomparable Peter Capaldi) on the big screen, sparring against the late James Gandolfini as US Army General Miller. Coogan makes a memorable guest appearance as irate constituent Paul Michaelson (“Five megapixels”), and regular members of TToI team also make appearances, including Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Joanna Scanlan and TVO regular Alex MacQueen.  Catch it at 11:45pm on BBC Two.

Elsewhere, Spaced legend Simon Pegg makes a guest appearance on The Graham Norton Show on Friday evening, discussing his new film, Man Up, which features Sharon Horgan and is released in UK cinemas on 29th May. We love a bit of Peggy-goodness, as his work often draws him into our peripheral vision, so if you’re in on Friday night, you could do a lot worse than tune in for this, starting at 10:35pm on BBC One.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on stage, often in London, but as demonstrated this week, also up and down the country. Here’s where you can find them throughout the week.

© Paul Foot

© Paul Foot

Monday 11th May

Aisling Bea with David Elms, Evelyn Mok, Jack Barry and John Hastings – The Pleasance, Islington, 8pm, £5

Tuesday 12th May

Aisling Bea and Diane Morgan – The Old Queen’s Head, London, 8pm, £7

Aisling Bea with Carey Marx, Chris Coltrane, Imran Yusuf & Joe Wells – Union Chapel, London from 7:30pm, £15
Wednesday 13th May

The Colin Hoult Comedy Collab – The Warren, Brighton, 6:30pm, £8.50

Cariad Lloyd as part of the Comedy Store Players – The Comedy Store, London, 8pm, £17

Thursday 14th May

The Colin Hoult Comedy Collab – The Warren, Brighton, 6:30pm, £8.50

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor – Slaughterhouse, Liverpool, 8pm, £12.50

Friday 15th May

Alien with Science Commentary by Richard Sandling and Adam Rutherford, hosted by Helen Arney – Old Town Hall, Chelsea, 6:30pm, £11.00

Channel 4 Comedy Gala with Aisling Bea, Alan Carr, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Jon Richardson, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Kevin Bridges, Michael McIntyre, Paul Chowdhry, Rich Hall, Rob Becektt, Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Pascoe, Sean Lock, Seann Walsh and Shappi Khorsandi – o2 Arena, London, 7:00pm, £44.75 to £165.75

Cariad Lloyd – The Camden Head, London, 8pm, Free

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor – Alhambra Studio, Bradford, 8pm, £14

Saturday 16th May

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor – Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, 8pm, £12.50

Sunday 17th May

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp MinorNuffield Theatre, Southampton, 7:30pm, £10-£15

Cariad Lloyd as part of the Comedy Store Players – The Comedy Store, London, 8pm, £17

Kevin Eldon & Tony Law with Adam Buxton, Adam Hess, Bec Hill, Benny Boot, Darren Walsh, Marcel Lucont, Mat Ewins, Nick Helm, Pete Johansson, Sophie Hagen and Michael Legg – Leicester Square Theatre, London, 7:30pm, £20-£25

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

New US Series For Horgan

10 May
Source unknown

Source unknown

American comedy Divorce, developed by Sharon Horgan, has been picked up for a full series by HBO.

The show stars Sarah Jessica Parker as a woman who begins to reassess her life and her marriage, but finds that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought.

HBO has commissioned a full series on the back of the pilot, which featured Flight Of The Conchords’ Jemaine Clement in a supporting role. It will be filmed in New York, Sarah Jessica Parker’s home turf.

Sharon will be an executive producer of Divorce through her company Merman.

US fans will be able to watch the critically-acclaimed (and hilarious) Channel 4 series Catastrophe, created by Sharon in partnership with co-star Rob Delaney, via Amazon from June. The second series is currently in development.

We Are The Humans

9 May

Channel 4 has released an extended trailer for forthcoming science-fiction drama Humans.

humansKPRF

The series airs in June, and is set in an alternate present day world in which owning your own Synth – a highly-developed robotic servant – is the height of fashion. It features a hugely impressive ensemble cast, including Katherine ParkinsonRebecca Front, Gemma Chan (Submarine, The IT Crowd, Doctor Who), Tom Goodman Hill (Ideal, Dead Boss, Spy), Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Fall), William Hurt (Damages, The Incredible Hulk) and Will Tudor (Game of Thrones, In The Club).

Also along for the ride are legendary British character actor Danny Webb – star of productions as diverse as Scott & Bailey and  Alien³; former Torchwood star Naoko Mori; Kill List and Utopia star Neil Maskell; and another TVO veteran, Dan Tetsell: as seen in the unnerving trailer below.

Co-produced by American broadcaster AMC and British production company Kudos, Humans is an English language adapation of Swedish series Real Humans, which has aired two seasons since 2012 and been sold to 50 countries worldwide.  It is set to air ‘this summer’ in the US, and UK audiences can see the eight part series next month. As soon as we hear of a confirmed tx date, we’ll let you know.

Crims is banged up as BBC Three pulls the plug

9 May

BBC Three comedy Crims has been axed in the continued drive to save money at the troubled channel, it has been revealed.

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

The show aired in January and February this year, and starred Ellis James, Kadiff Kirwan, Theo Barklem Biggs, Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Tracy Ann Oberman. Set in a young offenders institution, Crims focused on put upon accidental criminal Luke (James) and his idiotic best friend Jason (Kirwan), who got the pair two years after a bungled robbery.

Written and created by Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer, the series also featured a notable guest appearance from former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy, and developed a small but devoted fanbase over the course of its six episode run. It was a riotously silly slice of fun, with the Twilight musical episode our particular favourite, and something we’d hoped would run and run.

Sadly, like many great shows before it, a lack of promotion following the initial buzz led to declining viewing figures, and in these times of austerity, with BBC Three’s proposed move online slashing budgets left, right and centre, that can only mean one thing: cancellation.

The news was initially broken by comic John Robins on the XFM show he co-presents with Ellis James, and picked up on by Chortle, who got confirmation from the BBC that the series would nto be returning.

TVO would like to express our thanks to the whole Crims team for their efforts, which we genuinely adored, and wish them all the very best for the future. Fans of the show can console themselves with the fact that the entire series is available to buy digitally via iTunes and Amazon.

So Hot Right Now #29

4 May

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

TVO TAKES OVER TELLY ON WEDNESDAY!

As ever, there’s lots to enjoy on TV this week, and if you’re a keen viewer of everything we point you towards, you’ll be very thankful for DVRs and catch-up services this Wednesday, as a bevy of shows vie for your attention across the evening.

MURDER IN SUCCESSVILLE
Wednesday, 10pm, BBC THREE

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

The long awaited improv reality game show cop sitcom drama hybrid madness that is Murder in Successville begins this Wednesday on BBC Three.

The six part series stars Tom Davis as hardened detective DI Sleet, forced to solve crimes in the run-down ghetto of Successville with the help of a celebrity guest partner every week, beginning with Made in Chelsea‘s Jamie Laing.

Successville’s inhabitants are loose impersonations of British stars in unusual new occupations: which allows Gordon Ramsay to be the chief of police; Mary Berry to run the local strip joint; the One Direction lads to head up a violent gang; and the Carr Brothers (Jimmy and Alan) to be masterminds of dodgy dealings and hammer blows when folk don’t pay up.

It’s all delightfully silly nonsense, with Davis in particular revelling in making his temporary partners crack up. With the likes of Colin HoultTony WayCariad LloydHarry PeacockGemma Whelan, Frances Barber, Jason Lewis, Luke Kempner, Liam Hourican and friend of TVO, Nico Tatarowicz on board as the showbiz inhabitants of Successville, and Waen Shepherd on scoring duties (getting the 80s cop vibe just right), Murder in Successville is also a brilliant opportunity to see familiar faces acting the fool on telly, and letting their imaginations run wild.

Part Star Stories style showbiz sitcom, part Cludeo game show, the off-beat format may take some getting used to, but there’s lots of fun to be had, making this a must-see show. Catch it on Wednesday evening at 10pm on BBC Three, or on iPlayer shortly after transmission.

BUGSPLAT!
Wednesday, 10:30pm, CHANNEL FOUR

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

A new show written by Guy Jenkin is always cause for celebration – over time, his pen has graced Not the Nine O’Clock NewsSpitting ImageWho Dares Wins and even Life on Mars, and he co-created and co-wrote Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered. Jenkin also recently wrote Channel 4’s election based sitcom Ballot Monkeys, and already he’s back with another show about RAF drone pilots.

Rufus Jones is part of the ensemble cast as Peter: a pilot who is almost back to normal after returning from Afghanistan alongside James (W1A star Hugh Skinner) and Lexi (Lauren O’Neil, Being Human, Phone Shop). With a mission to complete, Peter is unconvinced that their Wing Commander is up to the job.

Also starring Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Vincent Franklin, Fiona Button and the ever brilliant Sacha Dhawan, the black comedy can be close to the bone at times, and potentially farcical at others, but whilst the first episode perhaps could have been stronger, in the hands of this talented ensemble cast the results are still highly enjoyable and well worth sticking with for the rest of the run.  You can catch the show this Wednesday on Channel 4 at 10:30pm, or on 4oD shortly after transmission.

CHARLIE BROOKER’S ELECTION WIPE
Wednesday, 9pm, BBC TWO

© BBC / Endemol / Kieron McCarron

© BBC / Endemol / Kieron McCarron

Screenwriter, author, columnist, presenter and Professional Grumpy Charlie Brooker is one of those incredible talents firmly, as the Moon would put it, in our peripheral vision. His TVO connections are solid – co-writing the sublime Nathan Barley with Chris Morris, creating and writing the equally fantastic Dead Set (starring Kevin Eldon), and casting several TVO regulars in his recent forays into television fiction – Sky’s nonsensical stroke of genius, A Touch of Cloth, and the truly inspired Black Mirror.

Yet, given his main foray is in solo shows, we’ve never really given him the attention he deserves – after all, if you’re not already watching his shows, it’s safe to assume you’re probably doing something wrong. His latest series of Weekly Wipe earlier this year, however, featured TVO regular Morgana Robinson alongside long-standing regulars Barry Shitpeas (aka It’s Kevin director Al Campbell) and Philomena Cunk (the sublime Diane Morgan).

The team return this week for a one-off, hour-long election special – ripping into not only the politicians on the campaign trail, but the increasingly fevered way the election has been covered across the media. No previews were available as we went to press (most obviously because the show is still being made), but we’re expecting Morgana’s brilliant Russell Brand impression to make a return appearance, and hoping that Philomena Cunk gets to ask: “What is politicians?” in her inimitable way.  Catch the show at 9pm on BBC Two this Wednesday, or via iPlayer shortly after transmission.

CAR SHARE
Wednesday, 9:30pm, BBC ONE

©  BBC / Goodnight Vienna Productions

© BBC / Goodnight Vienna Productions

Last week saw the terrestrial launch of Peter Kay’s new sitcom, Car Share, following its successful mini-première on iPlayer recently. A surprisingly charming, if mostly uneventful comedy set almost entirely within the confines of a small car, the show co-stars Kay’s long-term collaborator Sian Gibson – who you may also remember from two appearances in The League of Gentlemen as Al’s girlfriend Trish. We’ve had Bright Eyes stuck in our heads ever since we realised that one…

Anyhew, the reason we bring this up is that this week’s edition features a guest appearance from none other than Reece Shearsmith – who plays demented fishmonger Ray, cadging a lift to work from car-sharing friends John and Kayleigh, the latter of whom had too many cheeky Vimtos last night, and really should have phoned in sick even before the smell of fish made her feel worse.

If you fancy seeing Reece’s star-turn (and really, any chance to watch this masterful actor work has to be a good thing), you can catch Car Share at 9:30pm on BBC One, or on iPlayer shortly after transmission.

THE DELIVERY MAN
Wednesday, 9:30pm, ITV

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

ITV’s maternity ward sitcom, The Delivery Man continues apace on Wednesday evening, though with a critical mauling of its early episodes, it may be time for fans of the show to savour it while they can.

This week, an incognity reality TV star arrives on the ward and asks Matthew (Darren Boyd) to help hide her pregnancy from the public.  But when Facebook updates get the word out to the press, the staff need to come up with a way to trick the paparazzi.

Whilst it’s fair to say that this comedy from two of the writers of Green Wing doesn’t quite live up to potential, there’s still lots of fun to be had from watching the talented ensemble – including Aisling BeaAlex MacQueen and Fay Ripley – handle the material with their usual gusto. It may not be for everyone, but if you give it a chance, The Delivery Man may just find a place in your heart. Make your own minds up at 9:30pm on ITV, or catch up via ITV Player shortly after transmission.

W1A GETS ‘BETTER’

Thursday, 10pm, BBC TWO

© BBC / Jack Barnes

© BBC / Jack Barnes

Series Two of W1A continues on Thursday evening, as John Morton’s BBC-based mockumentary continues to gain fans left, right and centre. A huge part of that, it seems, is down to Jessica Hynes dynamite precision as PR guru Siobhan Sharpe: truly, a master of sprouting so many technobabbling media-savvy buzzwords that no-one really notices she has no idea what she’s doing.

But then, that’s the BBC in a nutshell, according to W1A, as this week Anna Rampton (the incomparable Sarah Parish) is made Head of Better, and David (TVO regular and irrepressible talent Rufus Jones) continues his own rise through the organisation.  Poor old Ian (charming Hugh Bonneville) is feeling awfully sidelined, as the Head of Values is forced to bring out his own creative vision.

You’d be mad to miss this one, and thankfully, it’s not on on Wednesday to confuse matters further! Catch the latest episode on Thursday at 10pm on BBC Two, or via iPlayer shortly after transmission.

A LONG NIGHT FOR CHANNEL 4

Thursday from 8:25pm, CHANNEL FOUR and MORE4

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

It can’t have escaped your attention that the general election takes place this Thursday, and Channel 4 is offering a full blown nine hours of live comedy and comment in their Alternative Election Night, recruiting a cavalcade of stars to make a long game of counting a lot more entertaining.

Led by David Mitchell (Peep Show) and former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman, the team will also include the likes of Richard Osman, Romesh Ranganathan, Cathy Newman and TVO’s very own Aisling Bea.

This includes special election themed editions of The Last Leg and Gogglebox and appearances from Kayvan Novak, Sara Pascoe and Henning Wehn. If this doesn’t rock your boat there’s also a live broadcast of star-studded play The Vote from Donmar Warehouse over on More4 from 8:25pm, featuring Nick Burns, Mark Gatiss, Catherine Tate, Dame Judi Dench, Nina Sosanya, Kadiff Kirwan and many more.

PANEL-SHOW POP-UPS FROM DAVIS & LAW

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Monday night’s edition of Channel 4’s panel show, Virtually Famous features an appearance from Tom Davis.

The show celebrates the latest viral sensations on the internet, and is hosted by former Glee star Kevin McHale, with Seann Walsh and Chris Stark as regular team captains. Tom, riding the wave of publicity for Murder in Successville pops up alongside fellow comedians Rob Beckett and Sarah Callaghan, and TV ‘personality’ Rylan Clark.

You can catch this edition on Monday evening at 10pm, or via 4oD shortly after transmission.

© September Films / GME / ITV

© September Films / GME / ITV

Tom isn’t the only TVO regular to crop up on a panel show this week, as Tony Law makes a guest appearance on ITV’s Celebrity Squares revival on Sunday evening.

Presented by Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short, The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains), and featuring regular panelists Tim Vine (Not Going Out) and Joe Wilkinson (8 Out of 10 Cats), this new incarnation of the hardy perennial is drawing guests not only from the world of mainstream telly and pop charts, but also the realms of alternative comedy. The first couple of episodes have featured the likes of Anna Crilly, Katy Wix, Jessica Hynes, Doon Mackichan, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, and this week gives Tony Law the rare opportunity to appear on Sunday night, prime-time ITV, which in itself is a delightful notion.

Joining Tony are Jonathan Ross, Laura Whitmore, Gabby Logan, Nina Conti, Shappi Khorsandi and Union J.  With any luck, the contestants will have no idea what to expect from a man who seemingly prides himself on never giving a completely straight answer, so no doubt Warwick has his work cut out as the ToneZone clashes with reality. We can’t wait to see the results.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

© Lauren Taylor

© Lauren Taylor

There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on the London stage. Here’s where you can find them throughout the week.

06/05/15 – Richard Sandling‘s Perfect Movie Podcast Recording with Deborah Frances White – Betsey Trotswood, 8pm, £3.50-£5

07/05/15 – Lou Sanders with Ahir Shah, Joshua Ross, Rob Carter, Orry Gibbens, Matthew Kelly & Robin Hill – The Pipeline, Middlesex, 8pm, £8-10

07/05/15 – Joey Page with James Dowdeswell, Paul F Taylor, Dan Hoy, Junior Campbell & Sion James – The Bread and Roses, Clapham, 8:30pm, £7-£9

Also this week, friends of TVO Johnny and the Baptists bring their UK tour to a close at the Soho Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Join them if you can!

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

So Hot Right Now #28

27 Apr

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

A SEANCE WITH LOWE & LLOYD FOR INSIDE NO. 9

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

The superlative creativity of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton seemingly knows no bounds, as demonstrated perfectly by the second series of Inside No. 9, which concludes its eclectic run of six one-off tales this week, with special guest appearances by Downtown Abbey star Sophie McShera and Mike Leigh veteran Alison Steadman in the macabre Seance Time.

Tina (McShera) has never consulted the spirit world before, and isn’t quite sure what to expect on her visit to psychic Madam Talbot (Steadman). The medium’s assistant Hives (Shearsmith) seems quite helpful, but there’s already something waiting for Tina on the ‘other side’ and he knows all about it.

To say more would, as ever, ruin the subtle surprises on offer, but we will add that there’s the added bonus of guest appearances by TVO regulars Alice Lowe and Cariad Lloyd, as well as Doctor Who‘s resident Sontaran, Dan Starkey (last seen in Ben Wheatley’s Deep Breath in August, and occasional improv artist alongside Phil Whelans).

For one week only, the show shifts from its usual Thursday night slot to WEDNESDAY at 10pm on BBC Two. We’ll be sorry to see Inside No. 9 go, as this second run has proved to be a telly highlight this year. The campaign for a third run begins here…

STRICTLY LAUGHS AT W1A

© BBC / Jack Barnes

© BBC / Jack Barnes

Spoof documentary series W1A moves to Inside No 9‘s old slot of Thursday at 10pm this week, as Hugh Bonneville and team meet to discuss the troubling rumours that Newsnight presenter Evan Davis is to compete in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Elsewhere, there’s a new Pilates initiative as Anna (the ever magnificent Sarah Parish) puts herself forward for the newly advertised role of Head of Better, and ever put upon Lucy (the inimitable Nina Sosanya) faces yet more tinkering with her as-yet-uncommissioned drama project.

As ever, Rufus Jones and Jessica Hynes are part of the impeccable ensemble cast, and the results are yet more must-see telly.

DELIVERY FOR BEA & MCQUEEN

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

New ITV sitcom The Delivery Man continues on Wednesday, once again featuring Aisling Bea and Alex MacQueen alongside Darren Boyd, Paddy McGuiness and Faye Ripley.

This week in the maternity ward comedy, a prisoner arrives on release to give birth, but the police need some crucial information, so Ian (McGuiness) tries underhand interrogation tactics on the expectant mother. Elsewhere, Ryan (Joe De Costa) discovers Lisa (Bea) has been lending money to Matthew (Boyd), and heads to the hospital in a rage.

You can catch this latest episode at 9:30pm on Wednesday evening, over on ITV1. Previous episodes are available on ITV Player now.

TVO SQUARED

© Kieron McCarron / September Films / GME / ITV

© Kieron McCarron / September Films / GME / ITV

Okay – we have to admit: this one perhaps understandably slipped by us… but ITV’s latest incarnation of gameshow Celebrity Squares returned recently, with Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short, The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains) at the helm.

The Harry Potter star is now two episodes into the run, which airs on Sunday evenings at 7:15pm on ITV1, and both installments to date have featured TVO regulars or connected artists, so they’re well worth catching up with on ITV Player.

The first show, which aired on 19th April, featured none other than cult duo Anna Crilly Katy Wix amongst its star line-up, whilst the second, which aired yesterday (25th April), featured Jessica Hynes and House of Fools stars Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer.

The third show, which will air on Sunday 3rd May, will feature comedy legend Doon Mackichan – best known for her work on shows such as The Day Today, Smack the Pony and most recently, Toast of London. And we will never rule out ITV gameshows for potential connections ever again.

EXTRA ONION

© BBC

There’s a whole lot more TVO goodness to savour this week if you know where to look on tv and radio, thanks to a healthy dose of repeats – and a sneaky little spot of guest starring here and there.

BBC Two repeats Noel Fielding‘s 2013 appearance on QI XL on Saturday 2nd May at 11pm, whilst over on Channel 4 an hour earlier, there’s another chance to see the excellent British sci-fi action movie Dredd, which memorably features heavy usage of Matt Berry‘s theme for Snuffbox.

On radio, duo Max and Ivan continue their series The Casebook of Max and Ivan with a guest appearance from Reece Shearsmith this Tuesday evening at 6:30pm on Radio 4. Last week, they sneaked in an appearance from Jessica Hynes, whilst Matt Lucas joined them the previous week. You can catch up with the whole run on iPlayer now.

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 Extra are revisiting a firm TVO favourite in the form of Lucy Montgomery’s Variety Pack – which also features Waen Shepherd and was written by Montgomery with Steven Burge and Dan Tetsell. The first two episodes of Series 1 are on iPlayer now, with Episode 3 airing again on Wednesday evening at 11:30pm.

If you’re in the US, and feeling left out, don’t forget that Steve Coogan continues his run in Happyish on Sunday evenings exclusively on Showtime at 9:30 pm ET/PT.

MAY I HELP YOU?

As we reported last week, this Friday sees the relaunch of Rachel Stubbings web series, Stubbing Out Problems

The stand-up comic’s first run of S.O.P. videos began in May 2011, and featured Rachel’s disinterested alter-ego (Dr Stubbings, that is, not Rachel from Friends) trying – and failing – to help a series of clients sort out their issues, all played by fellow comedians. TVO regulars Stephen Evans, Alice Lowe, Tom Meeten, Alex Kirk and Aisling Bea joined the likes of Luke McQueen, Brett Goldstein, Katherine Ryan and Margaret Cabourn-Smith as clients across the series.

Following Rachel’s debut Edinburgh run with a show based on Stubbing out Problems in 2012, the concept was retired except for a handful of rare live revivals – but now at long last, it’s back with a bang! For the whole of May 2015, Dr Stubbings has pledged to heal at least one problem per day (except weekends), which is really impressive. The results will be uploaded to Vimeo every day* throughout May, and will feature a whole host of new clients – some of whom you can see in the teaser above.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

© Tony Law

There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on the London stage, and whilst this week is a bit of a quiet one, there’s still a few chances to see great people this week.

27/04/15 – Joey Page with Craig Murray – The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 8pm, £8

29/04/15 – Richard Sandling with Bec Hill, Brett Goldstein, Chris Coltrane, Howard Read, Tiernan Douieb (new material night) – Betsey Trostswood, 8:00pm, £3.50-£5

30/04/15 – Tony Law with Sara Pascoe, Zoe Lyons and Brett Goldstein – 99 Club, Leicester Square, 8:30pm, £9-£12

30/04/15 – James Cook: Outsiders Alternative Pop Cabaret with special guests – Aces and Eights, 8:00pm, £5

01/05/15 – SPANK! featuring James Wren and Leon Fleury, plus special guests Abandoman, Marcel Lucont, David Morgan and In Cahoots – Udderbelly, 10:45pm, £15.50

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

Channel 4 to host Alternative Election Night

25 Apr

As the general election campaigns shift up a notch, all eyes are on Thursday, 7th May, when the United Kingdom chooses a government, old or (hopefully) new.

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Usually, this has nothing to do with humble alternative comedy websites like us, but this year, Channel 4 is following its tradition of their alternative Christmas message, with a full blown seven hours of live comedy and comment in their Alternative Election Night, recruiting a cavalcade of stars to make a long game of counting a lot more entertaining.

Led by David Mitchell (Peep Show) and former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman, the team will also include the likes of Richard Osman, Romesh Ranganathan, Cathy Newman and TVO’s very own Aisling Bea. The team have already released a delightful trailer, which you can see below.

Channel 4’s commitment to making light of the election, which will no doubt ensure a large number of people who normally don’t bother to vote do the right thing and join in on 7th May, doesn’t end there.  This week saw the launch of their political comedy Ballot Monkey, starring Ben Miller, Daisy Haggard and many more, including Crims star Theo Barklem-Biggs.

There’s also a special run of topical panel show The Last Leg, and a live broadcast of star-studded play The Vote  from Donmar Warehouse, featuring Nick Burns, Mark Gatiss, Catherine Tate, Dame Judi Dench, Nina Sosanya, Kadiff Kirwan and many more.

Finally, there’s this video, released yesterday, asking why you should give a xxxx about voting. In case you can’t quite place the face – that’s Steve Brody, who starred in forgotten favourite Angelo’s alongside Sharon Horgan, Paul Kaye, Alice Lowe, Shelley Longworth and Simon Farnaby.  He was also in the incredible one-off Lifespam with many of the same team, as well as Life’s Too ShortI’m Alan Partridge, Cardinal Burns and Blunder. Enjoy.

So Hot Right Now #27

20 Apr

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

W1A RETURNS

Smash hit mockumentary W1A returns on Thursday for its second series, with an extended opening episode.

© BBC/Jack Barnes

© BBC/Jack Barnes

Currently making headlines due to a subplot about a certain ejected presenter (as writer/director John Morton has chosen to bleep out the name of the person in question), the show reunites stars Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes with the incredible supporting cast, which includes Rufus Jones, Monica Dolan (Sightseers), Sarah Parish, Nina Sosanya (Nathan Barley), Jason Watkins (Psychoville, Trollied) and David Westhead, alongside narrator David Tennant.

One year since Ian Fletcher (Bonneville) became Head of Values at BBC Broadcasting House, and he has finally got his own office, and an impending visit from Prince Charles to contend with. Meanwhile, Siobhan (Hynes) has been charged with updating the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon, and format producer David (Jones) has a great new title for a show, if only he can think of a concept to go with it.

A typically witty and ever so slightly scary treat, this is a show which pulls no punches, yet still finds a lot to love about dear ol’ Aunty, even amongst the sheer frustration of corporate nonsense. And in Siobhan Sharpe, Hynes has found an utter monster to throw herself into with sheer gusto. A must-see. You can see the first episode of Series Two at 9pm on Thursday evening via BBC Two, just before Inside No. 9 – and it is also repeated on Sunday.

SHUT YER GOB, MUM!

The almighty Gary Le Strange returns this week with his brand new single, Shut Up Mum, which launches on Tuesday.

© Waen Shepherd

© Waen Shepherd

For those who are unaware, Le Strange is the much-loved alter-ego of Waen Shepherd, who famously won the 2003 Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe for debut show Polaroid Suitcase, before going on to make return appearances in Face Academy and Beef Scarecrow until Shepherd chose to mothball the character.

Revived in 2012 for a handful of live dates, including The Velvet Onion Live, no less, Le Strange’s back catalogue was reissued digitally in recent years, and was followed by the Glamoronica EP and last year’s Norman (I’ve Dropped My Cup Of Tea) single.

The new track is an instant Le Strange classic – all pulsing synths, funky bass, thwacking great percussion, and lyrics that are hilariously punk intact. It comes with a brand new, and rather fantastic music video, which should be available on Tuesday when the track will be up for purchase via iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Spotify. We can’t think of a better thing to spend 79p on this week, so go get it!

HERE’S TO YOU, MRS ROBINSON…

© Tracy Ann Oberman

© Tracy Ann Oberman

Tracy Ann Oberman‘s new radio play, Mrs Robinson, I Presume airs on Friday afternoon.

Telling the real life story behind the 1967 movie The Graduate, the production features a star-studded cast including John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who) as director Mike Nichols, Paul Kaye as producer Lawrence Turman, Kevin Bishop (Star Stories) as Dustin Hoffman, Terry Mynott (The Morgana Show) as Gene Hackman, Steve Furst(Little Britain, Catterick) as Mel Brooks and Lorelei King (Chef, Bob the Builder) as Ava Gardner.

Also featuring Oberman herself as Anne Bancroft, the play tells of the struggle that Nichols and Turman faced convincing Hollywood that Hoffman was a suitable Benjamin Braddock, and how their classic movie went on to define a generation and change Hollywood forever.

The play can be heard on Friday 24th April at 2:15pm, and will be available on iPlayer worldwide shortly after transmission.

HAPPYISH ARRIVES STATESIDE

© Showtime

 

Too often our US readers are left in the lurch, particularly when it comes to So Hot Right Now events… so it’s great that they’ve got a rare one up on us this week, as Steve Coogan‘s new show Happyish premières on Sunday 26th April.

As you may be aware, the show was initially piloted back in 2013 with the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman in the leading role, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator John Cameron Mitchell on directing duties. However, the series – fully commissioned for a run of ten episodes – was thrown into turmoil by Hoffman’s untimely demise in February 2014.

Enter Steve Coogan, who we reported last year was to replace Hoffman for a second pilot. Following that, Showtime confirmed in January that it was picking up the show for a full series once more, though they remain tight-lipped on whether Hoffman’s version of the pilot will ever be released.

With Coogan stars as a 44-year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray by the arrival of new 25-year-old boss with buzzwords on the brain, the New York set show begins its run on Showtime this Sunday, at 9:30 pm ET/PT. US audiences can see the first episode for free online now.

There’s currently no word of a UK tx date, or even a broadcaster picking up the show, but as soon as we hear anything, we’ll let you know.

WIN STUFF!

© Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Ltd,

© Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Ltd,

Over on our news page, we have a competition to win tickets to see Stephen Merchant and Steffan Rhodri in new West End play The Mentalists. The competition closes on Sunday evening, so get in while you can!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE COMPETITION

The Mentalists is a comic two-hander from Richard Bean, the writer of smash hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, and sees Merchant (Life’s Too Short, The Office) make his West End debut alongside Rhodri, who you may recognise from his appearances in Submarine, Gavin & Stacey, A Touch of Cloth or most recently, Cucumber.

Holed up in a faceless Finsbury Park hotel room, long-standing friends Ted (Merchant), and Morrie (Rhodri) are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship. Things unravel as the pressure mounts in this hilarious and touching tale of friendship and utopian visions gone awry.

Directed by rising star Abbey Wright, the production runs for a strictly limited season at the Wyndham’s Theatre from Friday 3 July to Saturday 26 September.

INSIDE NO. 9 (to) FIVE

Episode five of Inside No 9‘s second series airs on Thursday evening, and it’s another stone cold classic from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

Written and directed by the duo, Nana’s Party guest-stars Claire Skinner (Outnumbered) and Elise Kelly (Benidorm) as caring but OCD-ridden Angela and her excited mother Maggie – the titular Nana. On the latter’s 79th birthday, the whole family gather for the celebrations, but events take an unexpected turn thanks to practical jokers Pat and Jim (Shearsmith and Pemberton).

Less out and out madness than some editions of the show, more Mike Leigh drama in cosy suburbia, the results are typically enthralling, and will no doubt delight critics and audiences alike. You can make an assessment of your own at 10pm on Thursday evening over on BBC Two, right after W1A.

LATE DELIVERY

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

In last week’s So Hot Right Now, we unfortunately failed to alert you to the start of a new ITV sitcom which is worthy of your attention. Probably because in over five years of Velvet Onioning, we’ve never really had to draw much attention to ITV, who so rarely ventured into comedy until very recently.

However, look closely at new hospital based sitcom The Delivery Man which airs on Wednesday evenings, and you’ll see a few familiar faces. Fronted by Darren Boyd (Spy, Mid Morning Matters, Saxondale), the show also co-stars Aisling Bea and Alex MacQueen, the latter of whom is no stranger to telly hospitals having held a long running stint on Holby City many moons ago.

The show is written by Robert Harley and James Henry, who previously both wrote for Smack the Pony and Green Wing. The signs are there with The Delivery Man, which feels a little too bonkers to be on a mainstream chanel, and as such might be just the kind of thing for all you alternative comedy lovers out there. The first episodes have divided critics, but you can make up your own mind at 9:30pm on Wednesday evening.

SIGNING OFF THIS WEEK

As new shows arrive, and loom on the horizon, we must also say farewell to others, with both Travel Man and Chat Show Roulette rounding out their first series this week.

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Travel Man is the first to bid us farewell, with the fourth and final episode seeing Richard Ayoade joined by Green Wing star Stephen Mangan for a weekend in Marrakesh on Monday evening at 8:30pm over on Channel 4.

Wanting to experience its famous street food, the pair sample steamed sheep’s head, before taking a hot-air balloon flight over the Atlas Mountains, watch a traditional story-telling performanve, visit the historic Saadian tombs and ancient tanneries, before heading into the desert for a contemplative camel ride.

Ayoade is, as ever, a charming host, and bounces off Mangan so well, they could almost be a double act. So if you’re reading this, commissioners, we want 10%…

© BBC

 

Over on BBC Radio 4, Chat Show Roulette ends its long awaited first run, and this week Justin Edwards is joined on the improvisation led chat-show by Matt Lucas, Robert Popper, Pippa Evans and Hugh Denis.

It’s another corker, and you can hear it on Thursday evening at 11pm. Previous episodes are still available on iPlayer, but not for very much longer, so dive in and enjoy.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

©  Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

© Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

While a lot of our regular touring lot are on their way back from the Melbourne International Comedy Fesival, which wrapped up last weekend, there’s still a number of other chances to see TVO regulars this week. Ok, so we admit, this week mostly belongs to the ever resilient Aisling Bea, flying the flag in a most-deserved manner, but nevertheless, here’s where you can see TVO types this week…

20/04/15 – Aisling Bea opening for Dave Hill – Aces and Eights, 7:15pm, £6-£8

23/04/15 – Aisling Bea Lou Sanders with Issy Suttie, Brett Goldstein, Grainne Maguire, John Robins & Mae Martin – Bloomsbury Theatre, 8pm, £12-£15

24/04/15 – Aisling Bea with Andrew Maxwell, Sara Pascoe & Reginald D Hunter – Bush Hall8pm, £17.50 {sold out}

24/04/15 – Tony Law with Tina T’urner Tea Lady & Spencer Jones – Old Nun’s Head, 7pm, £10-£15

24/04/15 – Phil Whelans as part of MONKEY TOAST with special guest Brett Goldstein – The Proud Archivist, 7:30pm, £7

26/04/15 – Aisling Bea with Tom Craine, Ali Brice and James Ross – The Lion Stoke Newington, 7pm, £3-£4

A WOMAN AND HER DOG

Finally this week, we leave you with a short film from Rachel Stubbings and Jon Drever about a woman and her dog, which you can download over yonder. You’re welcome.

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

Mighty Laughs In Melbourne – Reviews Round Up

19 Apr

If you follow what we do, you’ll be aware that a few of ‘our lot’ are currently gigging in Australia. So how are they being received by the critics?

To find out, take a look at our round up of reviews for Noel Fielding, Paul Foot, Tony Law and Sarah Kendall below (click on the links to read the full review). We’ve also come across a few new interviews on our travels around the World Wide Web, so we’ve included those too. Don’t say we don’t look after you…

© PaulpanfergramsNoel Fielding

Noel’s show has been getting as much praise from the critics as it has from his super-enthusiastic Antipodean fans. Across the board, reviews of An Evening With Noel Fielding have been superlatively positive:

The Music awarded the show 4 stars saying, “Highly recommended, and a strong contender for comedy gig of the year.” Noel received 4.5 stars from the Herald Sun, who said, “He owns the stage as if it is his loungeroom and we have somehow sneaked in via the kitchen.”

Then another writer at The Music awarded him the top 5 stars score, stating that, “Fielding is one of our improv greats, often just launching off on tangents left and right from the script and making them work.” And finally, The Sydney Morning Herald gave the show 4 stars, noting, “It’s pleasing to report that, over the course of two hours (plus interval) Fielding delivered.”

Go Fielding (x2) + Meeten!

If you haven’t got a ticket yet for one of Noel’s shows, there are a handful left for some of the dates. Take a look here to see what’s left – but be quick! UK folk can still get tickets for his tour later this year too – via the same link.

While you’re at it, why not have a listen to Noel in this new-ish radio interview too:

 

Paul Foot

Paul Foot has also been wowing the critics, with consistently positive reviews of his show Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major.

The Age gave him 4 stars, describing the show as, “an exquisite symphony of jubilant madness as Foot conducts the crowd, cuing the audience’s laughter and silence to amplify his offbeat delivery and timing.” And Time Out also awarded him 4 stars, noting: “It’s utterly outlandish, but beneath layers of absurdity is Foot’s sharp eye for satire, laser-pointed at British suburbia.”

Paul will be in Melbourne until tonight (Sunday), before moving on to festivals in Sydney and Perth (then returning to Blighty for shows in May). For information about the gigs and to buy tickets, visit his show diary.

Tony Law

© Tony Law

© Tony Law

There haven’t been as many reviews of Tony’s show Enter The Tone Zone available online, but we’ve uncovered a couple of new interviews, by way of compensation:

Review-wise, however, The Herald Sun gave him 3.5 stars, describing the show as, “An antidote to the predictable, the overly slick and the highly polished….Enter the Tonezone is the perfect tonic.” Sounds good to us.

Interview-wise, Liza Dezfoulo from The Beat spoke to Tony about his approach to comedy – which you can read in full here, and he was also interviewed on film by Dan Watt, which you can see there.

His final Melboune show is tonight – at 8.45pm. A few tickets are still available, which can be procured here.

Sarah Kendall

We’ve uncovered a nicely considered and thoughtful review of Sarah’s current show A Day in October.  The reviewer says of her performance: “A story like this one needs to be detailed to be effective, and Kendall has a natural ability to be incredibly descriptive but still maintain a clear and succinct structure. Everything interconnects nicely, and makes for a compelling sixty minutes.” To read the review in full check out Squirrel Comedy.

Sarah’s final Melbourne date is also this evening – at 7.15pm. To nab one click on this.

You can also read a short interview with The Herald Sun, which you can read here.

© Eugene Hyland

© Eugene Hyland

Congratulations to all of the artists for garnering such positive reviews. We hope more than a few of you managed to get to see the shows yourselves (jealous, us?).

Mrs Robinson, I Presume

18 Apr
© Tracy Ann Oberman

© Tracy Ann Oberman

A new radio play written by and starring Tracy Ann Oberman airs next week.

Telling the real life story behind the 1967 movie The Graduate, Mrs Robinson, I Presume features a star-studded cast including John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who) as director Mike Nichols, Paul Kaye as producer Lawrence Turman, Kevin Bishop (Star Stories) as Dustin Hoffman, Terry Mynott (The Morgana Show) as Gene Hackman, Steve Furst(Little Britain, Catterick) as Mel Brooks and Lorelei King (Chef, Bob the Builder) as Ava Gardner.

Also featuring Oberman herself as Anne Bancroft, the play tells of the struggle that Nichols and Turman faced convincing Hollywood that Hoffman was a suitable Benjamin Braddock, and how their classic movie went on to define a generation and change Hollywood forever.

The play can be heard on Friday 24th April at 2:15pm, and will be available on iPlayer worldwide shortly after transmission.

Tracy is featured in this week’s edition of Radio Times discussing the piece, as well as posing as Mrs Robinson for a photo shoot, which she teased on Twitter yesterday.

W1A Returns

15 Apr
© BBC

© BBC

W1A, the fictionalised fly on the wall documentary about life at the BBC returns for a second series later this month. The show features TVO-connected faces, Jessica Hynes (Siobhan Sharpe) and Rufus Jones (David Wilkes) amongst its cast.

The new series kicks off with a one hour special, set one year on from the first series. The team at the beeb have a new set of problems to contend with, including an impending royal visit, giving a makeover to the BBC coverage of Wimbledon, and trying to come up with the next big Factual Entertainment series after ‘Britain’s Tastiest Village’ flopped.

The first episode tackles the still-topical subject of Jeremy Clarkson (read a preview of the episode here).  You can catch it on BBC2 on 23rd April at 9pm. Sounds like a good un!

So Hot Right Now #26

13 Apr

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

TRAILAAAAAAAAH!

Late last week, TVO recieved the first teaser trailer for Aaaaaaaah! – the directorial feature debut of Steve Oram which features a cavalcade of TVO regulars in its impressive cast list.

The film features Oram alongside Tom MeetenJulian BarrattNoel FieldingAlice Lowe, Waen ShepherdShelly Longworth, Tony WayJohn Hopkins and Sean Reynard, as well as Julian Rhind-Tutt (A Touch of Cloth, Green Wing), Holli Dempsey (Derek, Doctor Who), Lucy Honigman (Mr & Mrs Murder) and post-punk legend Toyah Willcox.

With music from King Crimson Projekts (Robert Fripp) and David Westlake (Sneakerpimps), and no real dialogue to speak of, the teaser is certainly whetting appetites – and we can’t wait to tell you more. Stay peeled, and we’ll let you know what we can, when we can!

DO YOU COME FROM A LAND DOWN UNDER?

With the Melbourne International Comedy Festival now in full swing, the arrival of An Audience With Noel Fielding down under has led to a sizable chunk of TVO regulars entertaining audiences on the other side of the world to their normal location for an extended period of time.

© News.com

© News.com

MICF kicks off the Australian tour for AAWNF this week, as Noel FieldingTom Meeten and Mike Fielding bring their full length live mayhem to Oz. If you’ve not paid attention so far, the show features Noel’s long-form standup storytelling and a series of characters from Luxury Comedy and beyond… plus the Moon makes regular interjections on the action!

This week’s Melbourne dates are sold out, but Saturday’s second show in Adelaide and a return to Melbourne on Sunday are both still on sale, and some of the later dates are also up for grabs for the time being too. Next week, dates in Canberra, Sydney and Perth follow (all bar the second Perth date sold out), and the show will visit Brisbane, Syndey (again), Melbourne (again), Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch before wrapping up on 14th May. For tickets, go over yonder.

© Sarah Kendall

MICF is also hosting a series of TVO flavoured gigs from some of our favourite standups until it all comes to an end on Sunday 19th April. Most excitingly, this includes the première of Sarah Kendall‘s brand new show, A Day in October.

The storytelling stand-up follows her work on previous shows by exploring another tale from her childhood: this time focusing on a pool party in 1989 that was so disastrous, the ramifications are still being felt today. It was a bad pool party. Book tickets here.

© Paul Foot

Elsewhere at the festival, the mighty Paul Foot brings his 2014 Edinburgh show, Hovercraft Syphony in Gammon # Major, to Aussie audiences.

Paul has become a cult favourite in Australia, and returns after rave reviews to stimulate minds with his brief case full of new rants and tall tales. Book tickets here.

© Tony Law

Also there for one more week is Tony Law, who is bringing his 2014 Edinburgh show Enter the ToneZone to Australia for one final run. Following a huge UK tour and a Soho Theatre residency, Tone offers magical shapes, an original song, some truly heart-breaking nonsense and brief tackling of world issues through the medium of dance.

There’s tons of other great shows on offer, so we suggest maybe hitting the list here and booking as many as you can, but whilst we’re here, we’d also like to give a shout out to up and coming comic Alexis Simmonds, whose show Mist-Conceptions is taking place at The Tuxedo Cat.  A long-standing friend of TVO and a big fan of our regulars now forging her own comedic path, she’s one of us, and one of you, and it’d be great if you could go along and say hello from us.

TRAVELLING JESS

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Back on our tellyboxes, the truly incredible Jessica Hynes joins Richard Ayoade for the latest edition of Travel Man this Monday evening at 8:30pm on Channel 4.

The delightful duo take a whirlwind weekend trip to Iceland, visiting the most famous waterfalls, glaciers and geysers of the Nordic island by helicopter, go in search of whales and chill-out at the Blue Lagoon geothermic pool. But it’s not all rosy, with a meal of rotten shark and Breavin (mashed potato spirit) on the agenda, and a mandatory attendance of Elf School. Magnificent.

TONY VISITS NUMBER NINE

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

The sublime Inside No. 9 continues on Thursday evening at 10pm on BBC Two, and this week, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are joined by Ab Fab legend Jane Horrocks, Luther star Nikki Amuka-Bird and TVO regular Tony Way in Cold Comfort.

This week focuses on Booth Nine in the Comfort Support Line’s call centre, which offers the lonely and desperate a chance to talk about their problems. Each of the CSL counsellors have their own ways of dealing with clients, the stress of the job and killing time between calls, but newcommer Andy (Pemberton) really isn’t prepared for what is to come.

Inside No. 9 continues to innovate and push the boundaries of its format, and this episode is no exception. Shot almost entirely via a fixed camera in the booth, other angles of CCTV footage are displayed down the side of the screen, and become increasingly important as the story unfolds. It’s clever television that also manages to remember to be gripping, thoughtful and creepy in good measure, and above all else, it’s a comedy that’s downright hilarious. A must-see.

ROULETTE FOR SIMON DAY

© BBC

© BBC

If you’ve not tuned in to Chat Show Roulette yet, it’s really time you did – as the improvisation led chat-show in which famous names pretend to be fictional guests on the spur of the moment to host Justin Edwards only has two episodes left in this long-awaited first series.

This week, he is joined by Brian Pern himself: the legendary Simon Day, as well as friend of TVO, David Reed. Also along for the ride are Luisa Omielan, Beardyman and regular musical accompanier James Sherwood. You can hear it on Radio 4 on Thursday evening at 11pm, and previous episodes, including appearances from Kevin Eldon, Matt Lucas, Charlie Higson, Cariad Lloyd and many more can be heard over yonder.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

©Stubbings

© Rachel Stubbings

While a lot of our regular touring lot are down under as listed above, there’s also a number of other chances to see TVO regulars this week. Here’s where you can see them…

13/04/15 – Rachel Stubbings and Lou Sanders with Jessica Forteskew – Aces and Eights, 7:30pm, FREE.

15/04/15 – Aisling Bea with  Ed Caruna, Joe Lycett, Matthew Crosby and Stuart Goldsmith – Bar FM, 8pm, £10.

15/04/15 – Richard Sandling with Alexis Dubus, Sarah Bennetto, Syd Moor, Spencer Jones and Elf Lyons – Betsey Trotwood, 8pm, £5.

15/04/15 – Cariad Lloyd with Josie Lawrence, Niall Ashdown, Richard Vranch, Andy Smart and Lee Simpson – The Comedy Store, 8pm, £17.

16/04/15 – Joey Page, Julian Deane, Michael Fabbri, Richard Todd, Nathan Cassidy, Laurence Owen, Faye Treacy and Luke Capasso – Camden Comedy Club, 8pm, £4.

17/04/15 – Aisling Bea with Mae Martin, Mike Wozniak, Tim Key – The Bloomsbury Theatre, 7:30pm, £20. {in aid of The Lullaby Trust}

Please note – there are listings out there suggesting Tony Law is appearing at Laughing Boy Comedy this Thursday in Brixton, but as he’s currently in Melbourne, we’re not sure how that’s possible, even for the ToneZone.

IN OUR PERIPHERAL VISION

© HBO

© HBO

We’d be remiss not to mention the long-awaited return of Game of Thrones this weekend, which is just about the biggest show in the world right about now. As you may remember, Tony Way played Ser Dontos Hollard in Seasons Two and Four, while Paul Kaye was Thoros of Myr in Season Three and comedian Gemma Whelan (The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains, Cardinal Burns) has been appearing as Yara Greyjoy since the second season.

Whilst we’ve seen the last of Hollard, Thoros and Yara are still out there with stories to unfold, and the show’s international cast draws on a wide range of incredibly talented actors and actresses, so we’ll never rule out another TVO regular making an appearance until the show reaches its conclusion. And either way, it’s generally awesome, so it’s well worth your attention.

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

Nominations Announced For The South Bank Sky Awards

10 Apr
© Sunday Times

© Sunday Times

The nominations for the ​South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2015 have been announced and there are a few TVO people and productions amongst the nominees!

Paddington (Paul King and a whole host of TVO faces) has been nominated for Best Film, and all of the shows shortlisted for Best Comedy have a TVO connection! Doll & Em (Dolly Wells), The Trip to Italy (Steve Coogan) and W1A (Jessica Hynes & Rufus Jones) have all picked up nominations.

The awards will be hosted by Melvyn Bragg (who previously presented the South Bank Show when it ran on TV) at The Savoy Hotel on Sunday 7th June. The awards ceremony will be aired on Sky Arts 1 on Wednesday 10th June at 8.00pm.

For the full list of nominees click here. Congratulations to everyone who has been shortlisted!

So Hot Right Now #25

6 Apr

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more. Click through for the latest news, and see what’s so hot right now THIS WEEK below…

PIECES

© Jack Weatherley

© Jack Weatherley

This week sees the online debut of Jack Weatherley‘s sublime short film Pieces starring Michael SmileyAlice Lowe and Paul Kaye.

The short was shot last year, and appeared at a smattering of film festivals, including the Leeds International Film Festival in October. Following Jack’s 2011 short film debut Straight Way Lost (which also featured Paul Kaye), Pieces also stars Tanya Franks from Pulling and Defiance star George McKay.  To further the TVO connections, cinematography comes courtesy of Laurie Rose (Sightseers, A Field In England, Kill List, Down Terrace).  And the soundtrack comes via the impressive collaboration of Pablo Clements and James Griffith – both of UNKLE fame, under their Toydrum moniker.

Now at last, it will be released to a wider audience at some point on Monday, 6th April. As we went to press, we didn’t have a link to share with you, but please see our subsequent post about it, which includes the embedded film. Also, keep your eyes on Jack’s website and Twitter for updates.

NEW TO TV AND RADIO THIS WEEK

After a solid three months of heavy comedic artillery, with recent weeks featuring eight or nine shows per week with TVO regulars taking centre stage, this week is our first real ‘quiet one’ of the year. However, with Inside No. 9, Moone Boy and Travel Man on our tv screens, and Chat Show Roulette continuing on radio, there’s still plenty to savour, and a couple of cheeky bonuses if you know where to look. So, as always here’s a run-down of what to look out for over the next seven days.

INSIDE NO. 9
Thursday, 10:00pm, BBC Two

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

The dark comic anthology from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton has always been delightfully eclectic, and following two modern day tales of death and mystery, the third episode of this second series throws us back to Puritan days, as the gents pay homage to The Witchfinder General with their own The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge.

Gadge is an old crone accused of witchcraft, played by Ruth Sheen (Misfits, Bramwell). Shearsmith and Pemberton are the delightfully named witchfinder duo Mr Warren and Mr Clarke, whilst the legendary David Warner (The Omen, Time Bandits) plays local bigwig Sir Andrew Pike, who sees the trial as a tourist opportunity.

Warner last worked with S&P on the criminally underrated The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, so there’s a particularly arch pleasure in casting him in a similar vein here. There’s also appearances from the legendary Paul Kaye as Richard Two-Shoes (perhaps an ancestor of Johnny Two-Hats?), and Horrible Histories star Jim Howick.  The results are wickedly entertaining, as the episode allows S&P a chance to indulge their love of 70s horror and unleash their inner Vincent Price. What more do you need?

MOONE BOY
Monday, 9:00pm, Sky1

© Moone Boy

© Moone Boy

It’s never easy saying goodbye, and it’s even harder when you’re saying it to a show like Moone Boy, which never fails to charm us with its clever blend of familiar homespun charm and moments of downright madcap nonsense.

This week, Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy’s sitcom about a boy and his imaginary best friend in rural early-90s Ireland gets a touch of Hollywood glamour to send off its third series, as Anchorman megastar Paul Rudd makes a guest appearance, in an episode that manages to fuse the Irish civil war with George Gershwin and Godzilla. As you do…

It turns out that imaginary friends run in the family when Grandad’s childhood pal George Gershwin – a cool, piano-playing guy – turns up to fulfil his bucket list. Martin, Sean and Crunchie Haystacks (the ever brilliant Johnny Vegas) embark on a series of adventures to help him. Also, with summer just around the corner, Martin takes an unusual approach to his exam revision. Come back soon Moone Boy, for you will be missed.

TRAVEL MAN
Monday, 8:30pm, Channel 4

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Who would have thought that, only two episodes into Travel Man, that Richard Ayoade would be a natural host for this fast-paced holiday adventure series? Well, anyone who has previously enjoyed Gadget Man for one, or been charmed by Richard’s unique style over the years.

And he really is quite brilliant as the host of this new show, in which he is joined by celebrity guests and tasked to enjoy the most efficient weekend break possible. This week, he is joined by stand-up comic Adam Hills for a whirlwind weekend in Istanbul, Turkey.

The pair cross the River Bosphorus from Europe to Asia, comparing a private yacht tour with the low-price public ferry. They follow this up with an authentic Turkish shave at a local barbershop, and share an awkward moment at a local bath and massage parlour. Best of all, they visit the Grand Bazaar market, where both men have a go at haggling. Travel telly has never been this fun.

CHAT SHOW ROULETTE
Thursday, 11pm, BBC Radio Four

© BBC

Justin Edwards returns as the host of long awaited radio improv show Chat Show Roulette on Thursday evening. The former live show, turned tv pilot, turned radio pilot finally came to air a few weeks ago, and has featured a strong line up of guests so far including Kevin Eldon, Matt Lucas, Cariad Lloyd and Charlie Higson amongst others.

Joining Justin this week are comedians Adil Ray, Jarred Christmas and Rachel Parris, and regular musical accompanier James Sherwood. As is the nature of improv, not everything works, but with talent like this, the vast majority of it is downright hilarious. Kick back and tune in.

THIS WEEK’S NOTEWORTHY REPEATS

© HBO

© HBO

Again, a bit of a slow week here, but there’s always chances to catch TVO classics if you know where to look. This week, with the fifth series of Game of Thrones just around the corner, Sky Atlantic are loving the opportunity to revisit the whole run. Which means, in recent weeks, we’ve seen the likes of Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr and The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains star Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy.

This week, they reach Series Four, which saw the return of Tony Way as Ser Dontos Hollard, who ends up playing a very key part in the Game. His three episodes are all being shown on Friday evening from 9pm. If you’ve missed out on GoT so far, and want to binge watch ahead of the new run, Now TV is offering the first four series as part of their ‘Boxset’ range for a limited time only, or you could always buy the dvd or blu-ray from our store.

IN OUR PERIPHERAL VISION

© BBC

© BBC

In a quiet week like this, it’s always good to cast a light on those just outside our remit who we love and admire, and would feature if only they worked with our regulars that little bit more often.

So this week, look out for the ever delightful Diane Morgan on the first new episode of Have I Got News For You this year, alongside The Thick of It and Alan Partridge co-creator, Armando Iannucci and guest host Daniel Radcliffe. The 49th (!) series starts on Friday night at 9pm on BBC One.

Listen out also for the re-run of Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens on BBC Radio 4 all week long, mostly at 11:30pm every night. The fantasy epic features a top notch cast with a smattering of names that aren’t quite regulars here, but we think they’re brilliant all the same: including Mark Heap, Peter Serafinowicz and Julia Deakin (all Spaced veterans, no less), as well as Neil Maskell (Kill List, Utopia), Louise Brealey (Sherlock, The Government Inspector), Arsher Ali (Four Lions), Mark Benton (Inside No. 9) and many, many more.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

©  Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

© Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

As is often the case, this week sees a smattering of TVO regulars appearing across London on various stages for your entertainment. So if you’re in the area, here’s where you can see them…

08/04/15 – Dan Clark: The Wow Wow Show! featuring Liam Williams, Oliver Maltman, Natasha Demetriou and The Wow Wow Band – The Soho Theatre, 9:30pm, £15

09/04/15 – Lou Sanders with Holly Burn, Richard Todd, Yacine Belhousse and Jayne Adams – The Glory, 7:30pm, £5

11/04/15 – Aisling Bea and Mae Martin – The Invisible Dot, 8pm, £10

Of course, if you’re on the other side of the world, then you can see Sarah KendallPaul Foot and Tony Law at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 19th. And if you’re in LA, keep your eyes peeled, as the recently emigrated brilliance that is James Bachman may just turn up on a bill near you.

AND THE REST…

As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

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