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COMPETITION: Win Tickets To See Anna & Katy’s Work In Progress Shows!

23 Jan

The Velvet Onion is proud to offer you a chance to win tickets to see Anna Crilly & Katy Wix live in London at fantastic new comedy venue The Invisible Dot in March.

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Last month, we were very excited by the news that Anna & Katy would be returning to the stage at one of our favourite London venues, The Invisible Dot.

Crilly and Wix are preparing fresh material for their next big project, following the untimely demise of their Channel 4 sketch show.  The two nights at The Invisible Dot in March will see the duo try out brand new stuff and air a few classics for good measure, and if you don’t fancy trying you luck here, tickets can be picked up right now for just £8 each!

Sounds exciting enough, of course, and now the good folk at Team Dot are offering us a pair of tickets for both nights – Monday 17th March and Tuesday 18th March, so you London lot have no excuse not to be there!

To be in with a chance of winning 2 tickets, simply tell us the answer to this simple question:

What was the name of the BBC Two sketch show in which Anna & Katy both appeared alongside Richard Ayoade and Matt Holness?

Email your reply to competitions@thevelvetonion.com by 11:59pm on Friday 7th February.  Please specify whether you would like to attend on Monday or Tuesday in order for your entry to be considered.

If you need a further clue, we’ll hint that Ben Wheatley was also involved with the correct answer.  We’ll randomly pick one entry for each show which reaches us in time with the correct answer, and contact them to arrange their name and a plus one on the guest list.  For the sake of our sanity, please choose Monday or Tuesday before you email, as we’ll be discounting any entries which don’t to save ourselves an admin nightmare. For all the usual t&c please see below.

This competition offers 1 pair of tickets for the Monday 17th March of Anna & Katy: Work In Progress at The Invisible Dot venue, and 1 pair of tickets for the Tuesday 18th March performance of the same show.  The winning entry will be selected at random, from all who correctly answer the question: “What was the name of the BBC Two sketch show in which Anna & Katy both appeared alongside Richard Ayoade and Matt Holness?”  The winner will be contacted via the email address they use to enter. Details will not be shared with any additional third parties beyond The Velvet Onion, The Invisible Dot Ltd, and the guest-list for the venue.
Only entries made to competitions@thevelvetonion.com will be accepted.  The Velvet Onion will not accept entries as comments to this post, replies to our Facebook/Twitter pages, comments to any other posts in error or emails to any other email address in our domain, nor any entries received after 11:59pm on Friday, 4th October. This competition is being run entirely by The Velvet Onion, with prizes organised by The Invisible Dot Ltd.  One entry per person. Any entrants found making multiple entries from the same IP address will be disqualified, and banned from entering further competitions run by The Velvet Onion. The judge’s decision is final. There is no monetary value to this competition and no cash alternative will be offered. The winner will be responsible for their own travel and/or related expenses. The Velvet Onion reserves the right to withdraw this competition if any overriding issues arise.

For more great happenings at The Invisible Dot, including shows featuring Tony Law, Kevin Eldon and Aisling Bea in the coming weeks, check out their website over yonder.

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

2013 has been a funny old year in Onion Land. We’ve seen our regulars scoop bucketloads of awards, from Best British Film at the Empire Awards to International Emmy Awards and everything in-between. Some names on our roster have reached new heights of success, becoming household names to people who have no idea of their cult origins. Others have just continued being quietly amazing, but all of them have been worthy of your attention.

As a result, we’ve been ploughing through the 12 months of TVO, to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This first instalment of our round-up covers January-March, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

JANUARY

The year began quietly, with the only key new show on the box being, on the surface, designed for kids. FIT was a sports-based sketch show on CBBC from the team behind Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, and featured TVO regulars Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast. For the most part, however, it was the involvement of Peter Serafinowicz - reprising his beloved cult character Brian Butterfield – which got everyone’s attention…

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael SmileyDan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby turned up in the very-much-for-grown-ups cyber-thiller Utopia on Channel 4. The show concerned itself with attempts to trace the only known copy of a graphic novel which left a trail of bloody carnage in its wake. With Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar part of its ensemble cast, as well as Kill List actor Neil Maskell as a creepy hitman, and The Thick Of It‘s Paul Higgins as a blackmailed civil servant, the show became an instant cult hit, and will be returning for a second series in 2014.

Closer to home, and the good folk of Onion Land seemed keen to dish out advice. Comedic agony aunt Rachel Stubbings was offering specially crafted miniature versions of herself for sale to anyone in need of a friendly ear. Or, to be more exact, a bit of unemotional plastic which happened to look a bit like her, in a variety of costumes. The Stubby Buddy was a quick sell out, though something tells me we won’t be seeing them in the shops next year…

Elsewhere, conceptual artist and Luxury Comedy star Kim Noble was offering handy tips on how to buy an oven

And as Bowie-fever gripped the world, James Cook released his own, haunting interpretation of Mr Jones’ classic track, Ashes To Ashes

Continue reading

The Onion At The Dot

16 Dec

Earlier today, we announced Anna & Katy’s new show at The Invisible Dot, and now the venue has revealed yet more cracking line-ups for 2014 with many favourites of Onionland involved.

© Invisible Dot

Just announced is the Live at the Chapel season for the new year which presents bills of stand-up legends alongside the next generation of exciting names. The first of the shows is on January 18th with Kevin Eldon heading an ace bill with Cardinal Burns, among others. The next, on 1st February, is just as impressive with Paul Foot headlining and rapidly rising star Liam Williams among the support. The March show so far lacks a TVO name but should still be fab with Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Bridget Christie topping the bill.

© Dave Brown

The shows aren’t yet on sale but they’ll appear on the Invisible Dot website at 2pm tomorrow. The shows take place at Islington’s stunning Union Chapel and will be priced at £18 (£16 concessions).

Can’t afford £18? Well, the Saturday Night Shows at the Invisible Dot’s own venue in Kings Cross may be more your thing at only £10 a ticket. These shows are taking place, you guessed it, every Saturday night – from January 11th to April 12th.  There are far too many great names on the bills to mention but they include Tony Law on February 1st, Aisling Bea on February 8th and Kevin Eldon on March 8th.

Full line-ups and tickets can be found over here.

And as we mentioned earlier today Anna Crilly and Katy Wix will be returning to the live circuit with shows there in March.  Already it seems 2014 will be the year of the Dot, and Invisible or not, you should try to see it!

Anna & Katy’s Dot Party

16 Dec

© Channel 4

Sketch duo Anna & Katy will be returning to the live circuit in the new year.

The pair, comprising of Anna Crilly and Katy Wix, have been relatively silent since the untimely end of their cult Channel 4 sketch show in June.

With plans for more work together, however, there’s life in the double-act yet, and as such, they’ll be performing two nights of sketches and skits old and new in March.

Hosted by the good folk at The Invisible Dot (who seem to have become one of THE hubs for alternative comedy of late), the two shows will take place on March 17th and 18th.

Tickets are not yet on sale, but will be very soon from their website over yonder.

In the meantime, you can see a clip from Anna & Katy below, and the whole series is available to watch again and again on 4oD.

Onion Selling

16 Sep

Whilst TVO appears to be in a ‘proper telly’ lull as we await a few big name shows coming soon, there’s no shortage of Onion faces cropping up on our screens thanks to the world of ad-breaks.

© Reed.co.uk

© Reed.co.uk

Such is the fickle nature of the acting profession – and stand-up comedy for that matter – every once in a while, TVO regulars crop up in commercials.

Whilst some may baulk at the notion of talented people turning up in adverts, let us remind you that, much like voiceover work, it pays well, doesn’t take long, and adds to the portfolio.  And hey, if it’s good enough for John Cleese, Dawn French, Kylie Minogue and Kevin Bacon, to name but a few big names who succumb to acting in ads, then who are we to complain.   Plus… it gets our good friends on the tellybox when we least expect it!

In the past, we’ve rounded up a number of commercials featuring so many faces of Onion Land, and the last month or so has seen the debut of three more such ads.

First up in this latest collection is the return of Rufus Jones as the face of job website reed.co.uk, in an advert which debuted during this weekend’s top-rated edition of X-Factor, no less.  Once again Richard Sandling is one of his potential targets for new work after a rude awakening…

Elsewhere, Channel 5 is keen to push it’s own catch-up service, Demand 5, which is now available on smart televisions, as well as NOWTV boxes, their website and YouTube.  Catching up on Neighbours with a rather heavy hangover in this commercial is none other than Rachel Stubbings

And then there’s Virgin Media, who are using athlete Usain Bolt and company founder Richard Branson in a series of adverts, all of which are voiced by Richard Ayoade

Lastly for now, is the return of Paul Kaye in typically maniacal form as the star of BetVictor’s long running campaign.  Here, Victor Chandler is enjoying a nice, gentle, first-class train ride, but typically, Maurice can’t quite leave him in peace…

As long as there is an Onion Land, it seems, there will be commercials featuring its inhabitants.  There are far too many for us to possibly collate, but we’ve done our best to dig into the archives and find you some of the better moments via the handy playlist below.

Included here are such classic moments as Julian Barratt advertising Metz way back in 1997, and his co-hort Noel Fielding being creative with handcuffs for Carling Live five years later.  There are big name ads you’d never realise had TVO links, from Simon Farnaby voicing a horse with a penchant for NutriGrain through to Ben Wheatley helming recent Go Compare ads.

Of course, there’s a huge chunk of voiceover king Matt Berry, but his IT Crowd co-stars Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson get a look in too.  Regular collaborators Tom Meeten and Barunka O’Shaughnessy pop up in a few ads, and we’ve got loads more to savour featuring the likes of Richard GloverLaura PatchAlex KirkRhys ThomasJustin EdwardsDan TetsellAnna CrillyKaty Wix and the well trained eye of Paul King.  We’ve also got a ridiculously early tv appearance by Steve Coogan, and a couple of later ads in character as Paul and Pauline Calf. Enjoy…

TV & Radio Times

8 Sep

tv

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anna & Katy Cancelled

25 Jun

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Channel 4 has announced it has axed hit sketch show Anna & Katy.  

The critically acclaimed series from Anna Crilly and Katy Wix performed well with reviewers, but lost audiences along the course of its six episode run earlier this year, according to Radio Times.

The show, which began life as a Comedy Lab pilot back in 2011, before returning to screens for a full run in March this year, was given a difficult time-slot of 10:35pm on Wednesday evenings, which Radio Times suggests may be the real reason for the show’s demise.

One thing is certain: Channel 4 have not abandoned the duo, with a promise from their spokesperson that they are “committed to them as talent, and are talking to them about other projects”.  We remain hopeful Crilly & Wix will return, as soon as possible.

You can see the complete run of episodes now via 4oD over yonder.

Catch Up With Onion Land

4 Apr

© BBC

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

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

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

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

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

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

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

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

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

Anna & Katy Again

10 Mar
© channel4

© channel4

As we reminded you last week, Anna & Katy, the new sketch comedy from Anna Crilly and Katie Wix started the new series in its regular Wednesday evening slot of 10.35pm.

The ladies have been interviewed again, this time by the Radio Times, where they talk about soup, typing, neuralgia and Bill Beaumont, as well as the new show.

There is also a good review of the show on The Guardian site, where the reviewer describes the show as “two women on telly doing really, really stupid, really, really brilliant, really, really funny stuff”, so who could resist that?

If you missed the show first time round or want to watch again, it’s available on 4OD.

The Return Of Anna & Katy

3 Mar

Anna & Katy, the new sketch based comedy from Anna Crilly and Katy Wix, starts its brand new series on Wednesday 6th March at 10.35pm on Channel 4. The series was commissioned after the pilot show - with Lee Mack in a scary blond wig – was a success after it aired last year.

To celebrate the start of the new series The Guardian featured an interview with them this week. They talk about their comedy influences including Kenny Everett and Vic & Bob. They also elaborate on their guest appearance on Radio 2 with French & Saunders, and their Edinburgh beginnings.

You can read the full interview here.

Click on this YouTube video for a quick look at the new show.

Anna & Katy Return!

25 Feb
© Dave King / Roughcut Television

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Following their acclaimed Comedy Lab pilot back in 2011, Anna Crilly and Katy Wix unleash their own six part sketch show next week.

Cunningly titled Anna & Katy, the character-driven show fuses their bonkers comedy with television pastiches and celebrity cameos – including former Boosh radio star Lee Mack.  

With the first episode set to feature cookery programme Rice Britannia, daytime show Congratulation, review show World’s Worst Words, reality docodrama Ignition and German game show Kuntworts - the stage is set for the duo’s ascent to the big guns of television comedy.

The show is certainly pulling no punches in terms of talent on board – as the delightful pair are being directed by none other than Red Dwarf and Bottom veteran Ed Bye, and executively produced by Ash Atalla of The IT Crowd and The Office fame.

It’s producer, Jon Petrie, also has links to great comedy – being the founder of Popcorn Comedy with a string of credits for QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and The IT Crowd behind him too.  One of our favourite ‘not-quite-TVO’ faces, William Andrews, is on board in supporting roles, and our very own Steve Burge is on the writing team as well, so all in all that’s quite a pedigree!

There’s a gallery of images for you to savour below, ahead of the first episode airing on Wednesday, March 6th at 10:30pm.  The series will then be available on 4oD shortly after transmission, which is where you can also rewatch the great pilot episode until then.

Loaded LAFTAS Ladies

12 Feb

© Channel 4

A smattering of TVO regulars are nominated in the Loaded LAFTA Awards 2013.

The comedy gongs are organised by the men’s magazine Loaded, and are now in their tenth year.  Whilst there are some questionable nominations for non-comics, there’s still a chance for some of our regulars to add a trophy to their mantle.

Anna Crilly and Katy Wix are up for Funniest Double Act – a category which also includes James Corden & Jack Whitehall for their controversial appearance on The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year.  Also in the running are Karl Pilkington & Warwick Davis, and the clearly unfathomable reality tv pairings of Olly Murs/Caroline Flack and Gary Barlow/Rylan.

Funniest Film will be fought out between a handful of critical and commercial bombs - Keith Lemon: The FilmThe Dictator and Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie - but there’s a smattering of taste in there, with Seth McFarlane’s hugely popular Ted and our very own Sightseers added into the mix too.

The awards, in aid of wounded servicemen charity Coming Home, will take place on Thursday, March 7th in London.  For a full list of nominations, and the chance to vote for your favourites very soon, visit the Loaded website over yonder.

Short & Sweet

9 Feb

There’s been a lot of creativity over the last week in TVO land.

Marek Larwood and David McNeil take us into the world of Leatherdick – The World’s 8th Best Detective. In the first episode nothing happens but it includes extracts from non-existent past and future episodes.

Meanwhile Katy Wix, Anna Crilly and Will Andrews made their own video for the Cher song Gypsy’s, Tramps and Thieves. The simple video must have taken a lot of work and only lasts 1 minute and 12 seconds so it’s worth a quick look. You can do that by clicking here.

Colin & Fergus Re-united

14 Oct

© BBC

Colin Hoult will be re-united with his comedy partner Fergus Craig for the inaugural  13th Hour Comedy Festival at London’s Leicester Square Theatre 24th October – 4th November.

Fergus will join Colin for the Real Horror Show on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th October. As well as Colin and Fergus the show features an ensemble cast including Anna Crilly, Will Andrews, Humphrey Kerr, Frisky and Mannish and Tom Palmer.

For a sneak peek of the festival watch the clip below – if you dare!

The 13th Hour Approaches

8 Oct

© AlleyKat Productions

Colin Hoult,  Richard Sandling, Rich Fulcher, James Bachman and Gareth Tunley are amongst the names appearing at The 13th Hour Horror Festival later this month at The Leicester Square Theatre.

The inaugural event is the brainchild of AlleyKat Productions – aka Alexandra Smith and Kat Hoult – and includes theatre, comedy, themed events, music, lectures, film, podcasting as well as exhibitions of photography, art and design.

The aim is to make this an annual event, so the duo have packed the line-up to the rafters with great events across 12 days.   There’s lots to see, but here’s a quick run-down of the Onion-tinged shows you’ll want to check out.

Colin Hoult’s Real Horror Show

OCTOBER 24th / OCTOBER 25th

© Colin Hoult

Though it doesn’t take a genius to work out who Kat’s husband is, there’s no need for nepotism when he breathes horror comedy like no other.  Colin Hoult is a natural fit for this festival, so its no surprise that he will be bringing a new edition of his semi-regular Real Horror Show to the celebrations on October 24th and 25th.

This selection of twisted plays follows rave reviews for previous entries, and the upgrade to the theatre’s Main House will give Colin and his cohorts ample space to create a wicked new set of misadventures.   He’ll be ably supported by another regular face on TVO, Anna Crilly, along with the equally brilliant Humphrey Ker, Tom Palmer, Thom Tuck, Will Andrews and Frisky & Mannish.

Tickets are available for the shows now, priced just £15, via The Leicester Square Theatre Box Office.

Zomedy

OCTOBER 30th

© AlleyKat Productions

Promising a night of the living laughs, mixed-bill night Zomedy on October 30th, again in the Main House, is sure not to disappoint.  With comedians dressed as the undead, this night of zombie based comedy may just end with an actual zombie breakout!

The line-up includes Rich Fulcher and Colin Hoult, alongside Frisky & Mannish, Ginger & Black, Danielle Ward, Keith Farnan and host Tiernan Douieb.  Looks like one delightful way of celebrating Devil’s Night, provided you don’t get bit…

Tickets are available for Zomedy now, priced just £15, via The Leicester Square Theatre Box Office.

Richard Sandling’s Perfect Movie

OCTOBER 31st

© Richard Sandling

Like films? Like comedy? You should already be a regular at Perfect Movie then!  Richard Sandling‘s regular club night returns for a Halloween spectacular in The Lounge on October 31st, promising very special guests, interviews, sketches, classic movie trailers, games and recreations of top comedian’s favourite film scenes jam packed into 75 minutes of film fun.

This time around, Richard’s guests include James Bachman and Gareth Tunely, along with Nick Helm, Preston Nyman. Eleanor Curry, Steve Pretty, Catharine Rodgers and more to be confirmed.  Looks like a corker to us!

Again, tickets are available now, priced £10, via The Leicester Square Theatre Box Office.  Richard will also be bringing Perfect Movie back to the venue on November 28th with special guests Phil Whelan, Robin Ince, Sarah Bennetto, Brett Goldstein and Ash Frith, and tickets can also be booked for that night over yonder.

Of course, there’s lots more to see at the festival, including comedy from The Beta Males, The Three Englishmen, The Voices In Your Head (featuring Sara Pascoe & Thom Tuck), Danielle Ward, Death Row Diva, Max & Ivan, Paul Gannon, Johnny & The Baptists, Nathan Dean Williams, School Of Fright, Bec Hill and cult nutters The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.

With film screenings galore and new theatre productions too, including a new take on Dracula and the intriguing looking The Halloween Sessions featuring the work of Kim Newman and Stephen Volk amongst others, this is a festival any self respecting horror fan in the capital shouldn’t even dream of missing.

For more info on the full line up, visit The Leicester Square Theatre website now.

Funny Fortnight Favourites!

13 Aug

© Channel 4

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

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

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

© Talkback Productions

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

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

© Phil Fisk

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

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

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

© Kuba Wierczorek

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

© Dan Goldsmith

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

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

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

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

Funny Fortnight Forthcoming!

20 Jul

© Channel 4

Channel 4 have released more details of their Funny Fortnight next month, which features more than a smattering of TVO regulars and influences.

Over 30 hours of programming across two weeks of television, the season promises brand new shows, excellent stand up and familiar faces staging their returns to the channel.

A new video preview over on the Channel 4 press website showcases highlights from some of the channel’s flagship shows, and offers an exclusive look at a number of exciting specials.

© Tiger Aspect Productions

Amongst these new shows is Bad Sugar - written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show and Four Lions fame.  It combines three of comedy’s biggest names of the moment - Julia DavisSharon Horgan and Olivia Colman, and centres on a dysfunctional, wealthy mining dynasty, with an ailing patriarch and some greedy siblings.

The show also stars David Bradley, Peter Serafinowicz, Kayvan Novak and Reece Shearsmith, and it’s producer is Derren Schlesinger – who was previously responsible for both Four Lions and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.  Undoubtedly one of the most exciting shows on telly in some time, this Tiger Aspect Productions show has real potential to be a smash hit.

© Objective Productions

Also set to première is Toast Of London, the new sitcom pilot by Matt Berry and Father Ted/Big Train creator Arthur Matthews.  Matt stars as successful actor Steven Toast, who has recently made a career faux pass by electing to star in a controversial west end stage play.

Recently divorced, and attacked in the street by members of appalled public, the previously much loved actor auditions for a role in the long running television series, Inspector Somerset.  However, it’s producer has been imprisoned for racial chanting on set, so Toast auditions for the part of a gay corrupt detective during prisoner’s visiting time.  Made by Objective Productions, we’re keen to see if this show lives up to its potential.

Other new shows include: Them From That Thing  – a two part sketch show featuring Kayvan Novak, Sally Phillips and many more, co-written by one Charlie BrookerThe Function Room - a traditional looking sitcom featuring the likes of Reece Shearsmith, Kevin Eldon, Simon Day and James Fleet; Lucky Sexy Winners - a new panel show from Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer; Very Terry - a Phonejacker spin off from Kayvan Novak focusing on car salesman Terry Tibbs; Harry Hill: The Reunion - in which the madcap comic seeks out the cast of his old Channel 4 show to find out “where are they now?”; The Boyle Variety Performance  – a spoof of the annual royal-attended show from Frankie Boyle; Just Around The Corner  – from the creators of Drop The Dead Donkey; and I’m Spazticus  - a prank show featuring disabled performers which has been seven years in development since its pilot aired in 2005.

© Avalon Productions

And that’s not all!  As we previously reported, Channel 4 are counting down their 30 Greatest Comedy Shows, which will feature the Onion flavoured vehicles Garth Marenghi’s DarkplaceThe IT CrowdBrass EyeFather TedStar StoriesSpacedBlack Books, and Friday Night Dinner. 

These classics will be up against the likes of The Comic Strip Presents, Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, The Adam & Joe Show,  Da Ali G Show, Trigger Happy TV, Pheonix Nights, Bo’ Selecta!, Peep Show, Green Wing and The Inbetweeners and more.

© Talkback Thames

The channel have also turned to the writers of classic shows to name their favourite episodes, which will air across the fortnight.  These include Graham Linehan‘s favourite ever The IT Crowd  and Father TedChris Morris‘s legendary Brass Eye; mockumentary series Star Stories which featured Fergus CraigAlice Lowe, Tom MeetenLaura PatchRhys Thomas and Dolly Wells in it’s expansive cast; plus episodes of Spaced, The Inbetweeners, Peep Show and Vic Reeves Big Night Out.

There’s also a chance to catch tv premieres of live shows from Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Evans and Micky Flanagan, plus the early and rare Vic & Bob special The Weekenders, Harry Endfield one-off Norbert Smith: A Life and Peter Cook’s interview with Clive Andersonplus editions of Comedy Labs featuring Dynamo, Peter Kay, Karl Pilkington and TVO’s very own Anna And Katy!  Plus we’ll still have The Midnight Beast featuring Simon Farnaby every Thursday too!

Phew – we think we’ll need a lie-down after all that!  Exciting times indeed.  We’ll aim to bring you a complete run-down of exactly when each show will air as soon as possible, so stay peeled.  In the mean time, check out the video preview over on the Channel 4 press website – and you can pick up a string of Channel 4 classics in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

Bitch Boss Booshdom Double

21 Jun

© BBC

Tonight brings comedy lovers everywhere two chances to see Sharon Horgan on their tellyboxes, with a few other familiar faces from Onion Land too.

The Playhouse Presents comedy pilot Psychobitches, which we told you about recently, airs on Sky Arts at 9pm – featuring comic legend Rebecca Front as a psychotherapist interviewing a variety of  famous historical figures all played by big star names.

These include Horgan as Jane Austin and Freida Kahlo [following hot on the heels of Tom Meeten there!], and the fabulous Katy Brand as George Elliot and Joan Of Arc.  You can see a preview clip, featuring Catherine Tate below.

Its director, League Of Gentlemen star Jeremy Dyson is also the script editor of Horgan’s new murder mystery sitcom - Dead Boss – which airs its third episode tonight at 10:30pm over on BBC3.

In tonight’s edition, another familiar face guests in the form of Anna Crilly.  Crilly plays a German cannibal killer on a prison exchange, who makes life even more difficult for Sharon’s character, Helen.

With Bunny And The Bull star Edward Hogg also in the series as creepy work-mate turned stalker Henry, and the ever sublime Jennifer Saunders returning as the wicked prison governor, this strange fusion of Psychoville and The Vicar Of Dibley is one you won’t want to miss.

Channel 4′s Comedy Celebration

16 Jun

Channel 4 will be marking its 30th anniversary with a fortnight of exciting new comedy – and there are a number of TVO-related artists in the mix!

© Ben Meadows

One of the highlights of  Channel 4′s Funny Fortnight is a brand new sitcom, Toast of London, co-written by and starring Matt Berry. Matt plays the part of a successful actor, Steven Toast, who has made a recent career faux pass of starring in a new controversial West End play. The play is considered so outrageous, that Toast is often attacked by disgusted members of the public!

Also showing is a new two-part sketch show, Them From That Thing, which features Kayvan Novak (Four Lions), alongside a host of other famous faces from the world of comedy and drama. Set in a world where serious characters say and do very stupid things, Them From That Thing combines great British drama with a silly, unhinged comic sensibility. Charlie Brooker features amongst the writing credits, and the show is produced by Derren Schlesinger (Four Lions, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy).

Bad Sugar will also form part of the fortnight, and it’s a show that we’ve mentioned previously – for obvious reasons: it was conceived by and stars Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan, along with Olivia Coleman. Bad Sugar offers a peculiarly British comedic take on telenovela style melodramas, and also stars Peter Serafinowicz, Kayvan Novak and Reece Shearsmith.

And there’s more…

© The Sun

The Function Room, featuring Kevin Eldon, is a sitcom set in a pub function room. It revolves around pub regulars who have booked the room for different events, and new weekly characters. The episode that features as part of this special fortnight sees the function room being used for a local community ‘Meet The Police’ event, while the locals are only interested in one thing: who is the infamous Shit Egg Killer?

The fortnight of comedy will also include a countdown of the 30 greatest comedy shows as part of Channel 4’s contribution to British comedy, Lost Gems from Channel 4′s archive, and Best Episodes ever chosen by the writers including The IT Crowd, Father Ted, Brass Eye Special, and Star Stories, amongst others.
 
Shows from Comedy Lab, Channel 4’s breeding ground for new talent, will also include Anna and Katy, featuring Anna Crilly and Katy Wix.
 
Channel 4′s Funny Fortnight runs during August and we reckon it sounds awesome! We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we have any more details.
 

© Channel 4

 
 

Anna & Katy On Board

26 Apr

© Channel 4

Comedy duo Anna Crilly and Katy Wix have a busy few days ahead.

On Wednesday 9th May, the pair are appearing at Fraser Millward presents Is This Thing On?: along with Trodd And Bratt, Gemma Arrowsmith, Paul Foxcroft, Fliss Russell, Tom Golding, Susan Harrison, Short and Curly and Matthew Kelly. You can enjoy all this entertainment for only £5 at Deansways Comedy Club from 8:00pm (doors 7:30pm).

The following day, Thursday 10th May, the duo are at Comedy Back Rub at The Camden Head. Other performers include: Christmas for Two, Toby McNeil and Pamphilo and Delete the Banjax!

On Sunday 10th June Anna and Katy are on The Battersea Barge, taking part in Oyster Eyes Presents: Comedy On The Boat: featuring HMS Ship & Oyster Eyes, Totally Tom, Jamie Demetriou, Nick Mohammed and Cardinal Burns. The show starts at 7pm and costs £10.  For more information click  here.

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