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Paul’s Friday Night Dinner

26 Jul
© Paul Kaye

© Paul Kaye

Paul Kaye made an appearance yesterday in the final episode of Friday Night Dinner as a Rabbi.

The popular show has just finished its third series - about two lads who return to their parents home every Friday for dinner, and  stars Simon Bird, Tamsin Greig, Paul Ritter, Tom Rosenthal and Mark Heap as their neighbour Jim.

Another TVO star – Dan Skinner – appeared briefly in last week’s episode.

All of series 3 is still available for 29 days on 4OD.

An Early Look At Luxury 2

24 Jul

© Channel 4

Last week we were lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at the new series of Luxury Comedy. So without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect when it finally hits our screens on 31st July?

In interviews about the new series, Noel Fielding has been pretty open about his decision to move away from the sketch show format of series 1, towards a more narrative programme structure with a beginning, middle and an end to each episode. He says it’s because he’s a story-teller at heart, and it’s what he does best. This change of structure is certainly one of the most noticeable differences between the two series. So does it work?

Luxury Comedy is Noel’s stand up in visual form. That’s not to do it down; the fact that anyone has managed to capture the fantastical mayhem that goes on inside Fielding’s mind is impressive enough. Noel’s stand up material is at its best when allowed to slowly weave its shapes, layer upon layer, over a period of time. Stories unfold, characters evolve and concepts crystallise through repetition. By contrast, on the occasions I’ve seen him perform short slots on crowded comedy bills, his ideas don’t always have time to develop. This is not a man for the rat-tat-tat of machine-gun punchlines.

In the same way, expanding his TV ideas into 30-minute stories gives them proper form, allowing the viewer to step inside, appreciate their complexities and get carried along with the narrative. These are ideas rich enough for full episodes; and to reduce each of them to a sketch of a few minutes would underplay them. For me, then, the new format isn’t just about telling stories – it’s about telling strange stories much better.

© Channel 4

The different characters whom we encounter across the series are now part of each week’s story, which gives them purpose and makes the interaction between them feel genuine. The relationships between the characters are one of the aspects of the new series that gives the show its heart. This is no longer a disjointed collection of strange misfits; they’re friends, neighbours, and occasional enemies – as the story requires.

The friendship between the main four – Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth, allows for a solid dynamic at the centre of the action. The series 2 versions of the core team feel more ‘human’ and rounded, and as a result more sympathetic than before. Noel, in particular, presents a very different on-screen persona to anything we’ve seen from him previously: awkward, eager to please and uncool, he’s the Howard to Dolly’s preening Vince. Devoid of Howard Moon’s pomposity, however, this Noel is a character with whom we empathise, not just the one we laugh at.

Noel has said that he and Nigel spent longer writing the second series, and this comes across. I loved the first series, but there are more funnier moments in series 2 (based on the two episodes we saw). The writing’s sharp, the physical comedy is hilarious, and the characters are beautifully honed and gloriously wonky at the same time. Look out for star turns throughout from a whole host of TVO faces, including Richard Ayoade, Steve Oram, Dave Brown, Rich Fulcher, Arnab Chanda, Tania Wade, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Stuart Silver, Simon Farnaby and others.

© Channel 4

This series is arguably the most self-aware output that we’ve ever seen from Fielding, with a number of knowing references to the public reaction that series 1 generated. He’s said that it’s a natural reaction to criticism – you try to get in there first before anyone else does. And it works well in this context, tethering the strange Luxury world to our own experience from time to time (thereby making it more relateable), and imbuing the series with a large helping of humility which, one hopes, the cynics out there will respond positively to.

Added to all of that, Luxury Comedy is still a fabulous feast for the eyes: the distinctive day-glo sets, wardrobe, make-up and animation all combine to create a uniquely visual world. Huge credit to Nigel Coan and his production team for putting it all together; you can see that it’s a labour of love in every single scene.

So will the rest of the world like it? I hope so. If people enjoyed the Boosh and the naysayers can get over their disproportionately extreme reaction to series 1, they would like this. Genuinely funny, beautifully magical and full of heart – what’s not to love?

Don’t forget to tune in: Luxury Comedy series 2 airs at 10pm on E4 on 31st July. For the less patient amongst you, episode 1 is available to view from TODAY -  a whole week early, on 4oD here.

My First Planet Makes Second Contact

16 Jul

Sci-fi radio sitcom My First Planet returns to Radio 4 Extra next week.

© Pozzitive / BBC

Written by and starring Phil Whelans (Kill Phil, The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, It’s Kevin) and Doctor Who audio range author/actor John Dorney, the show features Only Fools and Horses legend Nicholas Lyndhurst as the ineffectual head of a new space colony, and asks the powerful question: if humankind were to colonize space, is it destined to succumb to self-interest, prejudice and infighting? (By the way, the answer’s yes. Sorry).

Also featuring Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On, Mid Morning Matters), Tom Goodman-Hill (Dead Boss, Free Agents) and Cariad Lloyd (Cardinal Burns, Fit), Series 2 was recorded back in October and November last year, and will be first broadcast from Monday via BBC Radio 4 Extra at 9:30am.

Following this, it will be available on iPlayer for seven days after transmission, and repeated on Radio 4 in September.

You can hear a preview of the first series, which is available to buy digitally, below…

Time For A Serving Of Luxury

16 Jul

© Channel4

We’ve seen the trailer, we’ve wondered at its vague promise of “coming soon” – and you’ve been asking us in droves: WHEN WILL SERIES 2 OF LUXURY COMEDY BE HITTING OUR SCREENS?? Well wonder no more..

We can confirm that the new series kicks off on E4 on 31st July!

We’ve got all sorts of exclusive goodies up our sleeves to mark the occasion, so stay peeling to make sure you stay on top of everything.

In the meantime, here’s an interview with Noel Fielding that Channel 4 have released ahead of the new series.

Paul Foot New Video Log

13 Jul

Paul Foot has release a new video log, to keep us all informed about what he’s up to. Those of you who entered his Footoshop Fiesta competition will be able to find out who won and there’s a bit about his new show Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major.

He also tells us about the cottage he is living in at the moment, and wonders how big an acre really is.

There is also his take on hen parties, and birthday outings.

If you’ve seen Paul Foot before you’ll know that he makes it much more interesting than it sounds!

Be Alternative This Tuesday

11 Jul

© Comedy Central

The second series of The Alternative Comedy Experience, curated by Stewart Lee, will be hitting our screens this Tuesday – and it will be featuring a few TVO faces.

The new 13-part series will reflect the format of series one, having also been filmed at The Stand in Edinburgh. Once again, Lee has selected some of his favourite stand-ups on the circuit, including our very own Kevin Eldon, Tony Law and Paul Foot, alongside the likes of Bridget Christie, David O’Doherty, Nish Kumar, Michael Legge, Susan Calman, David Kay, Ginger & Black and Josie Long. These are people whom Lee feels represent “the stand-ups other comedians slouch at the back of the room and cry with laughter at”.

Episode 1 of the new series airs at 11pm on 15th July on Comedy Central and features Tony Law and Kevin Eldon; Paul Foot appears in episode 2. To see the full list of episodes and line ups until the fourth show in the series visit The British Comedy Guide.

For more information about the show and to view clips take a look at The Alternative Comedy’s page on Comedy Central.

And if you fancy procuring series 1 on DVD (you definitely should – it’s been rated as a 5-star extravaganza!) visit our amazon store now.

Dan Clark: Growing Up For Edinburgh

8 Jul

© comedy.co.uk

Last week Dan Clark performed a couple of warm up gigs in preparation for the run of his new show, Me, My Selfie and I, at the Edinburgh Fringe. We were lucky enough to grab a chat with Dan after his sold out show at The Pleasance in Islington. Velveteer Mog reports:

In the past, Dan Clark’s on-stage persona has felt like an extension of his best-known on screen creation, Don Danbury. Although a tad more charismatic and a lot more musical than the feckless anti-hero from How Not To Live Your Life, the distinction between Dan and Don wasn’t always clear. Dan’s new show, on the other hand, sees him in more contemplative, grown up mood. Like most men in their thirties, Dan hasn’t abandoned his laddish youthfulness completely – you’ll be relieved to know that the wank gags are still there – but now they’re framed with moments of mature introspection.

Dan acknowledges that the shift in tone could challenge some of his fan base: “It’s my most personal and honest show,” he says, “For an audience who have come to see Don Danbury, and you talk about death and mortality when they’re expecting knob gags, they might get confused.” So why the change? He explains: “I fell out of love with it (comedy), and I didn’t like what I was watching on TV, so I thought if I’m going to do this again, I’m going to write a bit more from the heart. There are plenty of 30-something comedians just doing jokes; we don’t need another one.”

© The Evening Standard

This is Dan’s first entirely-solo show for seven years, having previously gigged with guest musicians (in the shape of regular collaborator, Ben Parker), or in the case of his most recent stage show, These Songs May Contain Jokes, an entire backing band. He says that he misses the camaraderie of being part of a gang  (“You feel safer when you’re on stage with other people”) and the buzz of rocking out with his musical mates every night – they regularly ended their set to standing ovations: “They were the most fun shows to play; nothing beats that…but I can’t afford to take those fuckers to Edinburgh!” He laughs.

Music still played a part in his warm up shows last week, however – even if it’s now one man and his guitar. Dan’s cleverness in weaving together strange comedy and genuinely tuneful melodies is something that distinguishes him from his peers. He acknowledges that ‘comedy + music’ is a magical mixture which audiences lap up: “Even if the material isn’t that funny, it’s the combination of it being quite amusing, with music – the room just loves it.” Dan notes that the comedy community is still figuring out whether it’s a cheap trick to get easy laughs or a sophisticated comedic ploy that cleverly works an audience.

© Dave Brown

The Edinburgh Fringe can be something of an endurance test for artists – nearly 4 weeks of tough audiences, late nights and – sometimes – bitter critics. Dan recalls a particularly biting review of his 2005 Edinburgh show, in which he was awarded 1 star. The following year the same critic gave him 2 stars, perhaps in recognition that she had been immortalised, none too positively, in one of his songs. So does a poor review hurt?

“Bad reviews are no longer yesterday’s newspaper,” Dan explains. “They stick around on the Internet. Someone googles your name and that 1 star review is the third thing that comes up!”  He compares the power that the critics wield to that of Simon Cowell on X-Factor, “Except in print you don’t get the humour or charm you get on TV. It just comes across as vicious.” He sighs and smiles, “Aaah, I can’t wait!”

The Velvet Onion would like to thank Dan for taking the time to chat to us last week, and we wish him all the best for Edinburgh. Don’t forget that you can see show Me, My Selfie & I at The Pleasance Dome from 30th July to 24th August. For more information and to buy tickets take a look at this.

Besides his own show, Dan’s other recommendation for TVO readers heading to the Fringe is Every Loser Wins, a cabaret-based comedy featuring the lovely Kelly Wenham and Simon Salmon. Dan describes it as: “A character comedy show with silly and weird characters” and reckons fans of Boosh/Paul Foot humour will love it. To check it out for yourself, head on over here.

TVOers On Tour

7 Jul

tvoukWith the Edinburgh Festival looming, the time has come for preview season to hit the land, and a number of TVO regulars – some of which are usually confined to the London area – are out and about and possibly in your area!

First up, Dan Clark will be previewing his Edinburgh show Me, My Selfie And I in Darlington (Sunday 13th July) and Leicester (Tuesday 22nd July).  The continually touring Paul Foot will also be visiting Leicester (Wednesday 23rd July) and is at the Larmer Tree Festival next week (Friday 18th July) – as well as taking his Edinburgh show Paul Foot’s Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major on tour in the Autumn.

There’s a rare chance to see Sarah Kendall‘s Edinburgh show Touchdown as part of the Cambridge Comedy Festival on Sunday 20th July, whilst Aisling Bea (without an Edinburgh show this year, sadly) continues her near constant gig schedule with appearances at Latitude Festival the same weekend, and The Pheonix Fringe in London on August 7th.

Festival booking seems to be the in-thing at the moment – as Colin Hoult is rocking Camp Bestival between July 31st and August 1st in East Lulworth, and cheeky chappy Joey Page is at Milton Keynes Fringe on Sunday 20th July.  Meanwhile, King of Krazy Tony Law lets the good people of Tring enter the Tone-Zone on Sunday 13th July, the folks in Leicester on Wednesday 16th July, and lots of places across the land this Autumn.

This week also sees friend of TVO and frequent Rich Fulcher collaborator, Harry Deansway make a rare excursion to the North West – he’s performing at The King’s Arms in Salford on Thursday night, previewing his new show Harry Deansway is a Bit of a Character Android.  Tickets are available right now.

Parkinson & Eldon Join Crackanory Series 2

5 Jul

© Dave

Earlier this year we reported that anthology comedy Crackanory would be returning for a second series.

Series 1 included TVO regulars Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

Like its predecessor, series 2 will be made and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, and will feature top drawer British comedians telling Jackanory style stories for grown ups.

So far, those confirmed for the new series include Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax – and Katherine Parkinson. Emilia Fox and Simon Callow will lend their voices to the series too, and it’s hoped that a performance by the legend that is Rik Mayall will also be shown.

Writers for the new series include Yonderland and Mitchell and Webb scriptwriter Toby Davies, Holly Walsh and Kevin Eldon, who will be authoring his second story for the show and will also make an appearance in another tale.

The new series will air on Dave in the Autumn.

Peacock Season: Edinburgh From the Comfort Of Your Sofa

3 Jul

© FMW Films

A wee while ago we mentioned that Peacock Season, the movie by and featuring James Wren, alongside a bevy of TVO-related comedians, would soon be available to view via Distrify, a site which allows you to buy films via social media. Well now it’s on there!

The film follows the story of advertising executive Keith Graham (Wren). When he’s fired from his job a chain of events leads to him taking a stand-up comedy show to the Edinburgh Festival.

This comedy about comedy was shot on location at the Festival and features a cast of festival veterans, including:

Dan Antopolski, Scott Capurro, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Justin Edwards, Felicity Wren, Pete Firman, Paul Foot, Richard Glover, Joy Gohring, Richard Herring, Adam Hills, Sammy J, Fergus March, Phil Nichol, Lucy Porter, Millie Reeves, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and James Wren himself.

To buy or rent the film and/or view the trailer visit this place.

Better Than Rather Good Comedy

21 Jun

© ARGComFest

The line up for ARGcomFest 2014 has been announced, and as the festival name promises – it’s Actually Rather Good.

The festival, now in its third year, aims to provide a taster of the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe with a host of Edinburgh Preview shows. It will be taking place at The Garage, Highbury, London, on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July

For a single ridiculously low ticket price, you get access to an entire weekend of 32 previews of top shows which are headed to Edinburgh this summer.

There’s currently one directly-connected TVO name on the list, in the form of the very wonderful Sarah Kendall, but check out the full line-up for the complete list of performers, then try telling us it doesn’t sound amazing.

You can buy tickets for the day (from £19) or the weekend (from £33); for all the details click here.

 

The Edinburgh Fringe Approaches

17 Jun

© The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

For three weeks every year thousands of shows from the worlds of comedy, theatre and anything else you can think of descend on Edinburgh for the largest arts festival in the world. The full programme for the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 has now been launched and of course there are many TVO regulars making an appearance.

The full programme can be viewed and all tickets can bought over at the fringe website. Read on to see our round-up of what’s on offer.

Continue reading

Mongrels Return – To Dave

14 Jun

© Alexandra Thompson

Although it’s not quite the return we had hoped for, series one of Mongrels is set to air on Dave from Monday 30th June at 3.15am!

As regular readers know Adam Miller‘s foul-mouthed puppet show featured Tony Way as Gary, the owner of a South London pub that just so happens to be surrounded by vermin – from meek metrosexual fox Nelson (Rufus Jones), and his best friend, simpleton feline Marion (Dan Tetsell), to psychopathic champion vulpine swearer Vince (Paul Kaye), and deranged, scheming pigeon Kali (Katy Brand). With Gary’s pedigree chav dog Destiny (Lucy Montgomery) completing the line up, the show was an instant cult smash, until it was axed by BBC3 a couple of years ago.

Dave is a digital channel and part of the UKTV network, who are now making original content for their channels, including the recent revival of BBC 2′s cult favourite Red Dwarf. UKTV Gold has also recently announced that they have the rights to show the final Monty Python live show, so they are obviously serious about investing in content for their channels.

If you can’t wait to see Mongrels again, you can get both series from TVO Store.

Another Chance To Catch Clark

12 Jun

© Dan Clark

If you managed to miss Dan Clark’s run at Soho Theatre last week, fret not – because there are now two more opprotunties to see his new show!

Dan will be performing previews of his 2014 Edinburgh show Me, My Selfie & I at Kokomedia in Brighton 27th June and at The Pleasance Islington on 1st July. Tickets for both shows are a mere fiver. Seriously. Just click on the relevant link to book.

And if you’re lucky enough to be heading on up to the Edinburgh Fringe, you can see Dan from 30th July -to24th August at the Pleasance Dome. Take a look here for further details and to procure tickets.

Take a look at our earlier review of one of Dan’s warm ups for a flavour of what it’s all about.

Casual Vacancy Roles Filled By Rufus & Richard

7 Jun

Rufus Jones and Richard Glover are amongst the big names attached to the BBC/HBO co-production of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, to film this summer.

© Rufus Jones

© Richard Glover

The adaptation of Rowling’s first adult novel after her boy wizard Harry Potter conquered the world, tells the story of an idyllic English village called Pagford, which hides social wars behind its quaint façade.  Told across three hours, the miniseries will air on BBC One and HBO later this year, with production beginning on 7th July, according to Variety.

Michael Gambon (The Singing Detective, Harry Potter, Doctor Who) will lead the cast as Howard Mollison, with Julia McKenzie (Miss Marple, Shirley Valentine, Notes on a Scandal) as  his wife, Shirley, and Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes, Line of Duty) as Samantha Mollinson.

TVO regular Rufus Jones will be appearing as Howard’s son (and Samantha’s husband), Miles, whilst his fellow TVO favourite Richard Glover will be portraying Simon Price.

Also along for the ride are a few names and faces you may recognise from TVO related productions.  Bond regular Rory Kinnear (recently seen in Count Arthur Strong), will play Barry Fairbrother, while Monica Dolan (W1A, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and Sightseers) will play Tess Wall.   Simon McBurney (Utopia, Rev) will play Colin Wall, and Marie Critchley (Sirens, In The Flesh) will play Ruth Price.

With the cast rounded off by Keeley Forsyth, Michelle Austin and Abigail Lawrie, plus more names to be announced, Casual Vacancy has certainly pulled in the talent in front of the camera, as well as behind it – with a screenplay from Sarah Phelps (The Crimson Field), and the producer of The Hour, Ruth Kenley-Letts, and director Jonny Campbell (Doctor Who, Pheonix Nights, Eric & Ernie) also on board.

We’ll bring you more news as and when we receive it, so stay peeled for further updates.

Enjoy Yourself Some Cuban Fury

3 Jun

Cuban Fury, the salsa-dancing romantic comedy featuring Chris O’Dowd amongst its cast, is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 9th April.

Nick Frost plays the lead role in the film (with O’Dowd playing the part of his alpha male nemesis), and another actor with TVO connections, Kayvan Novak, also features.

You can pre-order the movie from our Amazon store for £13 on Blu-ray and £10 on DVD. And if you fancy getting your own shimmy on, the soundtrack is now available for £13.61.

Take a look at the trailer below and put on your dancing trousers…

Comedy Shorts Online

1 Jun
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

As we mentioned a couple of months ago, the BBC have commissioned a set of original comedy shorts, created by and starring some of Britain’s best comedians, to celebrate the new BBC iPlayer.

As we mentioned at the time there are contributions from our TVO family including Lone Wolf – an alternative wildlife documentary, written by Bob Mortimer and performed by Matt Berry and Channel M from House of Fools’ Morgana Robinson, featuring Rufus Jones.

The line-up also includes Reece Shearsmith with Sally Phillips in The Case of the High Foot, a 1940′s set black and white medical caper, Frankie Boyle and Bob Mortimer in an interactive cooking programme in which they are judged by how the show is performing on social media.

Meera Syal’s Playback centres around a Bollywood star and her playback singer – the one who actually sings the songs. and their relationship with each other and the media. Micky Flanagan’s Foxageddon tells the story of a dead fox and Micky’s part in the media circus that surrounds it, and contains a scene of a sexual nature.

In our original post we mentioned a short by Stewart Lee, which doesn’t appear to be online yet. We’ll keep checking back and update you when we know anything.

Overall there is something for everyone and they only last around 6 minutes each, so why not give them a go when you have a bit spare time? Links to all of them can be found on BBC iPlayer.

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

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

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

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

Get Your Hands On Peacock Season

25 May

Last week we mentioned in passing a film called Peackock Season, the first part of a low-budget trilogy by James Wren. Now further information has come to light about how you can get hold of it.

© FMW Films

Peacock Season (which features Richard Glover and Paul Foot, along with James) is currently available on DVD for just £12 from Go Faster Stripe, the awesome website that promotes and sells comedy videos from beyond the mainstream.

This comedy about comedy about comedy was shot on location at the Edinburgh Festival for just £58 and features a cast of festival veterans. You can buy the film and see a couple of preview clips here.

Soon, however, you will also be able to view Peacock Season via Distrify, a site which allows you to sell films by leveraging Social media. To find out when it’s going to be available, sign up for FMW Films’ mailing list, and you’ll be one of the first to know.

Don’t forget that the final film in Wren’s trilogy, The Man You’re Not, is currently in production. For more information, take a look at our previous post about it.

 

Don’t Start Again

20 May
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

BBC Radio is repeating the second series of Frank Skinner’s Don’t Start, the comedy about what long-term partners really argue about. The 4-part series stars Frank and Katherine Parkinson as Neil and Kim, a couple who have been together many years, so have to find new and unusual ways to start an argument.

The episodes air on Sundays at 7.30pm on Radio 4, repeated on the following Friday at 7.45am on Radio 4 Extra. To listen to the latest episode click on iPlayer.

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