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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!

So Hot Right Now #24

30 Mar

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…

NEW TO TV AND RADIO THIS WEEK

It’s yet another packed week for top notch television and radio material, with a brand new show to savour and one last chance to see three others, so here’s a run-down of what to look out for over the next seven days.

TRAVEL MAN
Monday, 8:30pm, Channel 4

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

In recent years, Richard Ayoade‘s career branching would make his former alter-ego Dean Learner very proud indeed – as the Gadget Man becomes Travel Man for this brand new, four part series, starting this week.

Joined by celebrity guests, Richard’s task is to enjoy the most efficient weekend break possible. This week, he is joined by Kathy Burke for 48 hours in Barcelona, sampling adventurous cuisine, a football museum, a guided tricycle tour and a trip to see the surrealist work of Joan Miro.

These two talents will always make for affable company, and to spend half an hour with them is a pleasure. You can catch the show at 8:30pm on Monday evening, and it will be available on 4oD shortly after transmission.

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

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

© Sophie Mutevelian / BBC

The darkly comic anthology series from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton continues with The 12 Days of Christine, guest starring the delightful Sheridan Smith and Da Vinci’s Demons star Tom Riley.

In this thrilling second installment, Christine Clarke brings a man back to her flat from a New Year’s Eve party and her life immediately starts to unravel, as a terrifying stranger keeps appearing in the apartment at night. There’s plenty of scope for Shearsmith to be downright creepy in this one, and it’s yet another great opportunity to see him and Pemberton at their finest.

MOONE BOY
Monday, 9:00pm, Sky 1 HD

© Sky Corporate

© Sky Corporate

Series Three of Moone Boy continues on Sky 1 this Monday evening, with the fifth of six new episodes from Chris O’Dowd and the team.

This week, Martin begins renovating his new ‘penthouse’, and the whole town wonders: does Boyle really need a Catholic book shop? Expect more of the usual off-kilter charm and madcap adventures from the gang. This show knows what it does well, and doesn’t plan on breaking the wheel any time soon, and every now and then, that’s exactly what we need.

SLEEPY TIGERS
Monday, 11:00pm, BBC Radio 4

© Alex MacQueen

© Alex MacQueen

Julia Davis and Marc Wooton return with a second one-off comedy, featuring Alex MacQueen and Rosie Cavaliero. Sleepy Tigers features Davis and Wooton as a couple of maternity nurses running their own business, who start taking over the lives of some very new parents.

Following last week’s delightful one-off Couples, which is now available on iPlayer, this is a rare excursion from Davis (currently filming Hunderby‘s festive special) that’s simply not to be missed!

CHAT SHOW ROULETTE
Thursday, 11pm, BBC Radio Four

© BBC

© 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 already featured Kevin Eldon in its debut episode.

This week features a strong batch of familiar names: Pompidou star Matt LucasCrims star Cariad LloydMan Down star Mike Wozniak and Fast Show legend Charlie Higson. Bring it on!

HOUSE OF FOOLS
Monday, 10pm, BBC Two

© Pett TV / Christopher Baines

© Pett TV / Christopher Baines

We bid a fond farewell to the House of Fools this week, as Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer‘s sublime sitcom madness winds up its second series, with special guest appearances by Sally Phillips and Tony Way.

This week, Vic has a big date with his ex-girlfriend, but when she cancels, his friends set about concocting an ingenious plan to make sure he isn’t left disappointed. It’s another slice of funtime from the bonkers duo, with series regulars Matt BerryDan SkinnerMorgana RobinsonDaniel Simonsen and Ellie White on hand once more to ensure the run finishes on fine form. We’re really going to miss this one…

NURSE
Tuesday, 10pm, BBC Two

© Des Willie

© Des Willie

It’s also time to say goodbye to the sublime Nurse – starring Paul Whitehouse and Esther Coles alongside TVO regulars Simon Day and Colin Hoult, and also featuring the incredible Vilma Hollingbery (Psychoville).

In the final installment, Liz’s personal problems come to a head and she is a lot less sympathetic with her ex-husband than with her service users. Elsewhere, former soldier Jack begins to build himself a dug-out in the back garden, Herbert confides that he would like some female company, and Graham manages to rise from his bed and walk.

Nurse has been a timely reminder of the important work done in the name of improving mental health services in the UK, and its sensitive portrayal of the issues on hand have highlighted just how far we still have to go as a nation. Above all else, it’s been delightful to spend time with Whitehouse’s gallery of characters, and Esther Coles has been magnificent as put-upon Liz. Here’s to a second run before too long…

POMPIDOU
Sunday, 6:35pm, BBC Two

© BBC/John Stanley Productions/Natalie Seery

© BBC/John Stanley Productions/Natalie Seery

The rather hostile reception that dear ol’ Pompidou has received from certain elements of the press may make Sunday the last chance we have to spend time in the daffy aristocrat’s company. Despite a valiant defence from some quarters, it seems Matt Lucas new show hasn’t quite connected with audiences – which is a huge shame, as once cynicism is thrown out of the window, there’s much to adore here.

In this final installment, the electric heater in the caravan has broken down, and with Pompidou as broke as ever, there’s no chance of fixing it. The only thing left to do to get warm is go on holiday, but without the cash, he and butler Hove (the ever wonderful Alex MacQueen) must get creative. Enjoy it while you can…

THIS WEEK’S NOTEWORTHY REPEATS

© Dave / UKTV

© Dave / UKTV

There’s almost always good shows being repeated on a regular basis, but this week we get a couple of interesting ones to keep a look out for. Rhys Thomas multi-award winning documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender gets a re-airing on Friday night at 9pm via BBC Four, and another noteworthy recent doc airs on Saturday night once again: Rik Mayall: Lord of Misrule is back on BBC Two at 10:45pm, paying tribute to the irreplaceable comedy legend.

Over on Radio 4 this week, the recent Milton Jones led project, Thanks a Lot, Milton Jones begins a re-run. If you missed it earlier this year, it features TVO regular Dan Tetsell alongside Tom Goodman-Hill and Josie Lawrence, and can be heard on Wednesday morning at 11:30am.

ON STAGE THIS WEEK

© Dan Clark

© Dan Clark

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…

31/03/15 – Joey Page with Michael Stranney and Paul F Taylor – Hemingford Arms, 7:30pm, Free

01/04/15 – Richard Sandling: Perfect Movie Live Podcast Show featuring Brett Goldstein – Betsey Trotwood, 8pm, £3.50-£5.00

02/04/15 – Lou Sanders and Amy Howeska – Cavendish Arms, 7pm, £5

02/04/15 – Dan Clark with Harry Deansway and Holly Burn – Aces and Eights, 7:30pm, £6

04/04/15 – Cariad Lloyd with Brett Goldstein and Jack Barry – 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 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!

Dan Tetsell In Cabin Pressure Finale

30 Nov

© BBC

We’ve spotted Dan Tetsell hiding in the background (far left) of a new publicity photo for the BBC Radio 4 series, Cabin Pressure. He will be part of the cast for the final ever episode, which will be a double-bill which airs on 23rd and 24th December at 6:30pm.

With the show titles running alphabetically (from the first ever episode ‘Abu Dhabi’), this double finale will be called ‘Zurich’. Publicity for the last episodes describes the storyline as follows: “All of the MJN staff have big decisions to make.” Rumour has it that Dan plays two characters.

For the uninitiated, the main cast features Stephanie Cole as Carolyn Knapp-Shappey; Roger Allam as 1st Office Douglas Richardson; Benedict Cumberbatch as Capt. Martin Crieff and writer John Finnemore as Arthur Shappey. Besides Dan, other special guests for the finale include Anthony Head, Timothy West, Matilda Ziegler, Gordon Kennedy and Jonathan Kydd.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of BBC Radio 4 said of the show: “John Finnemore and his star cast have won our hearts with Cabin Pressure. Alas this is the final flight but we are delighted to bring it to you at Christmas.”

TVO Radio Stars

6 Aug
© google

© google

Tune in your radio to hear some TVO stars do their thing.

The second series of The Brig Society starring Marcus Brigstocke returned to BBC Radio 4 on Friday evening at 6.30pm – repeated Saturday at 12.30 and on iPlayer. Each week Marcus is put in charge of a ‘thing’ – this week he becomes an MEP. The show also stars Rufus Jones, William Andrews and Margaret Cabourn-Smith, and  is written by Brigstocke and among others, Dan Tetsell.

Also on BBC Radio 4, The Infinite Monkey Cage, starring Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince have recorded two shows at The Edinburgh Festival. In the second one they are joined by Josie Long and Paul Foot, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Stuart Ritchie to ask ‘is irrationality genetic?’. This show will be broadcast on Monday 11th August at 4.30pm and will also be on iPlayer.

As we mentioned earlier, My First Planet written by and starring Phil Whelans, started its second series on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Mondays at 9.30am and on iPlayer.

We can also look forward to a new series of Colin Hoult’s Carnival of Monsters coming soon. If you can’t wait to listen to it, you can get tickets to the recordings via this link.

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.

Monk-day Approacheth!

12 May

This week sees the broadcast of the new pilot episode for revamped project, Monks, featuring TVO regulars Fergus Craig and Justin Edwards.

© Anna Brabbins / BBC

© Anna Brabbins / BBC

As we’ve mentioned previously, the project has been on-and-off for 14 years, no less – first appearing on radio as Hey Hey We’re The Monks – a one off episode of BBC Radio 2’s Comedy Showcase.  Co-written by Danny Robbins (We Are History) and Dan Tetsell (Mongrels, Lab Rats), this pilot starred none other than future megastars Bill Bailey and Catherine Tate, yet it has never been repeated… lost into the ether (and the BBC Archives, we hope!).

Eight years later, and a non-broadcast tv pilot version featured James Corden, David Bamber, Geoffrey Whitehead and the addition of TVO regulars Fergus Craig (Colin and Fergus, Star Stories) and Justin Edwards (The Thick of It, Lifespam).  Sadly, the show was not commissioned, and that, it seemed, was that.

Until January of this year, that is, when a new attempt at the format was filmed at Elstree.  Standup and Mock The Week regular Seann Walsh is the new leading man, starring as benefits cheat Gary Woodcroft, who joins a religious order to avoid a jail term, only to find his choice of Rudley Abbey is just like prison, but with added praying.

Also along for the ride are Spaced veteran Mark Heap, The Vicar Of Dibley‘s James Fleet, former Have I Got News For You host Angus Deayton and, once more, Mssrs Craig and Edwards.   It’s all gloriously silly fun in the traditional sitcom mould, so any fans of Graham Linehan’s output or more mainstream fair like Miranda and Not Going Out should definitely check it out.  You can see a preview clip below:

The new pilot – For Whom The Bell Tolls – again written by Robbins, airs as the final edition of Comedy Playhouse this Tuesday evening at 10:40pm (11:10pm in Northern Ireland), and will be available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.  For a smattering of promotional images, look no further. Amen.

 

McGinn For The McWinn?

29 Apr

© Lime Pictures

Dan Tetsell‘s time as bumbling lawyer Jim McGinn in hit soap opera Hollyoaks has landed him a nomination at The British Soap Awards 2014.

The former Mongrels and Lab Rats star spent more than a year in the soap, leaving in dramatic fashion as his was stabbed to death whilst trying to escape a local gangster with his love, Carmel.

Upon his departure back in January, Tetsell told Digital Spy: “I loved every minute of my time on Hollyoaks. There are so many people I need to thank – the crew, the actors, just everyone at Lime – for making the last year and a bit so wonderful.  Special thanks has to go to the writers for all the jokes, the McQueens for taking me to their impressive communal bosom and the viewers for making me feel part of something special.

“I’m sad to leave, but we all knew someone as cool, suave, handsome and well-dressed as Jim was never long for this world.”

Dan left the show to get back to his comedy work – with a new adaptation of his long mooted project Monks being prepped for BBC One, and a recurring role in recent BBC Radio 4 show Thanks A Lot,  Milton Jones!

You can see a classic slice of Tetsell stand-up from The Velvet Onion Live below.

The nomination at The British Soap Awards 2014, is for Best Comedy Performance, and sees Dan up against Simon Gregson (Coronation Street), Sarah Moyle (Doctors), Linda Henry (Eastenders) and Laura Norton (Emmerdale).

The decision will be made by a panel of judges, so it’s out of our hands, sadly… but you can see the full list of nominations – and influence a few categories yourselves – over yonder.

BAFTA Craft Awards

26 Apr

© BAFTA

This Sunday, BAFTA will be handing out its 2014 awards for craft in television, and there are a few TVO-connected shows in the list of nominations.

If you’re wondering what television craft is all about, put simply it’s the skill and artistry that takes place behind the scenes to get a TV show onto our screens.

This year’s shortlist includes nominations for Count Arthur Strong (Graham Linehan & Steve Delaney)  and The IT Crowd (Linehan again) in the ‘Best Comedy Writer’ category. There are also a handful of nominations for Utopia, which featured a bevy of TVO folk amongst its cast, including Michael Smiley, Dan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby. The series features in ‘Best Director – Fiction’, ‘Best Digital Creativity’ and ‘Best Photography & Lighting’ categories.

The full list of nominations can be seen here. For live updates from the awards ceremony on Sunday follow @BAFTA on Twitter.

Best of luck to everyone for Sunday!

Jim McGone!

30 Jan

© Lime Pictures

This week saw Dan Tetsell leave Hollyoaks in dramatic style, with his character Jim McGinn never to return.

Any fans of the Chester-based soap opera who haven’t yet caught up on events, look away now, as we’re about to post a pretty big SPOILER.

After just over a year in the show as the somewhat dorky lawyer, Tetsell’s character was set to flee the village with his partner Carmel Valentine, only to have a run-in with gangster Fraser Black that ended with Jim being stabbed to death.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Tetsell commented: “I loved every minute of my time on Hollyoaks. There are so many people I need to thank – the crew, the actors, just everyone at Lime – for making the last year and a bit so wonderful.  Special thanks has to go to the writers for all the jokes, the McQueens for taking me to their impressive communal bosom and the viewers for making me feel part of something special.

“I’m sad to leave, but we all knew someone as cool, suave, handsome and well-dressed as Jim was never long for this world.”

The Hollyoaks team have uploaded a fun video in which Dan discusses his time on the show, which you can see below.

Back in the realm of comedy, the former Mongrels and Lab Rats star is currently developing a new television adaptation of Monks – a project that has seen many previous iterations never quite come to fruition.

He’s also set to appear in Help – It’s Milton Jones, which is recording at present for BBC Radio 4. 

You can see a classic slice of Tetsell stand-up from The Velvet Onion Live below.

Monks On One?

6 Jan

© BBC Comedy

News of a mainstream television pilot from some of TVO’s finest have emerged via our good friends at The British Comedy Guide.

The pilot, tentatively titled Monks, appears to be an adaptation of one-off Radio 2 Comedy Showcase special Hey Hey We’re The Monks from way back in 2000, which was written by Dan Tetsell (Mongrels, Lab Rats) and Danny Robbins (We Are History), starring Bill Bailey and Catherine Tate.

All these years later, the format – and seemingly some of its characters – will be revived for what has been described as “a brilliantly big, funny and warm-hearted new studio comedy for BBC One centred on a group of monks”.

It features Mock The Week regular and stand-up comic extraordinare Seann Walsh as benefits cheat Gary Woodcroft, who joins a religious order to avoid jail.  Except Rudley Abbey, where he ends up, is just like prison, but with added praying.

Long in gestation, the idea clearly has legs – having previously been piloted back in 2008 for a non-broadcast attempt featuring James Corden in the lead role, alongside David Bamber, Geoffrey Whitehead and TVO’s very own Justin Edwards (The Thick Of It, Lifespam) and Fergus Craig (Colin and Fergus, The Government Inspector).

Edwards is along for the ride this time around too, alongside Spaced and Big Train veteran Mark Heap and Vicar Of Dibley star James Fleet.  The pilot will be filmed at BBC Elstree Studios on Friday, January 31st – and tickets are available now via BBC Shows.

We’ll aim to bring you more news on this third attempt for Monks as soon as we hear it, so stay peeled.

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

Tetsell Helps Milton Jones

19 Dec

© Milton Jones

Dan Tetsell will be appearing in the latest radio project from Milton Jones.

The surreal stand-up and Mock The Week regular has created a brand new series format for his return to BBC Radio 4, Help – It’s Milton Jones – in which he uses his unmistakable Milton-ness to solve any dilemmas people face.  In his own words, there’s “No problem too problemy!”

His quest will be aided by Tom Goodman-Hill (Dead Boss, Ideal), Ben Willbond (Yonderland, Horrible Histories) and our very own Dan Tetsell – star of Mongrels, Labrats, We Are History and most recently Hollyoaks.

With producer David Tyler (My First Planet, Kevin Eldon Will See You Now) on board, reuniting with Milton Jones after the pair worked on their last radio show together, Another Case Of…, this series is already sounding like a must-hear.

What’s more, some of you could make it a must-see too, as tickets for the recordings are available now via BBC Shows.  The first recording takes place on 23rd January at The RADA Studios, at 7:15pm, and you can apply for tickets over yonder.

If you missed it earlier this year, you can see Dan Tetsell’s amazing set at The Velvet Onion Live below.

Further Your Comedy Career Here

15 Oct

© British Comedy Guide

The Big Comedy Conference is your chance to hear some of comedy’s finest talking about their careers in comedy – including a few folk with TVO connections!

The day of comedy-related talks and workshops is been organised and curated by The British Comedy Guide. It presents a unique opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a career in comedy to meet and listen to from some of the industry’s most successful writers, performers and producers. The event will include talks, networking and pitching sessions, and will be rounded off by a bar and live comedy gig in the evening.

© BBC Comedy

The full list of speakers is mightily impressive, but for the purposes of this here website, here are the ones with a link to TVO:  Dan Tetsell (Mongrels), Andrew Ellard (IT Crowd, Count Arthur Strong), David Schneider (I’m Alan Partridge), Caroline Norris (Horrible Histories) and Pete Sinclair (Never Mind the Buzzcocks).

You can see who else is attending by clicking here – and more speakers are still to be announced!

The Big Comedy Conference will take place on Saturday 30th November at The Old Sessions House, 22 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0NA. The venue will open at 9:30am, with the talks and workshops running in different rooms at the venue from 10am until 7:30pm. A comedy gig will follow in the evening and the bar will be open until 11pm.

Tickets are usually £149, but can be purchased for the early bird price of £99 before 21st October. Lunch is included in the price. To purchase tickets and for more information about the event, visit the British Comedy Guide here (scroll down for booking info). If you go, we’d love to hear all about it!

TVO Live Videos Part 10: Dan Tetsell & Funny Monkey

25 Sep

We may be trickling out the last few TVO Live videos, but they’re more than work the wait, as this week’s vid featuring Dan Tetsell demonstrates!

If you’ve been living under a rock, last year we hosted our very first live event, featuring a star studded line up of acts (and audience members).

Dave Brown, James Cook, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn Hall, Mike Fielding, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Laura Patch, Richard Sandling, Holly Jane Shears, Rachel Stubbings, Will Summers, Dan Tetsell, Gareth Tunley, Dolly Wells and the disembodied voice of Rich Fulcher all lent their talents to our endeavour, which was helped into existence by the glorious pair of Bob Pipe and James Wren too.

As we do our best to get around to putting on at least one more show – hopefully several – we’ve been quietly uploading footage from that glorious night of madcap fun.

This latest instalment features the impressive ventriloquism talents that Mongrels star Dan Tetsell keeps so well hidden, with help from his charming friend, Funny Monkey…

If you missed our previous videos in the series, you can check them out via this handy playlist over yonder. There’s still plenty more to come, including the sets from Waen Shepherd (as Gary Le Strange), Rachel Stubbings, Richard Sandling and James Cook, so stay peeled!

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…

Vote Tetsell!

24 Jul

© Lime Pictures

Voting has now opened for the 2013 Inside Soap Awards, and viewers across the land can nominate their favourite soap stars for gongs at the prestigious ceremony later this year.  Why are we telling you this?  Well, because our very own Dan Tetsell is up for two nods!

The former Mongrels star joined the cast of Hollyoaks late last year as slimy lawyer Jim McGinn, and he’s proven incredibly popular with audiences, and critics, even getting his own fan-videos on YouTube! As a result, Tetsell is up for “Funniest Male” and “Best Newcomer”, and you can help him win by going over here now!

Votes must be cast by September 9th, and the ceremony takes place on October 21st.  If you’re curious how the delightful Mr Tetsell is fairing in the soap, you can catch up on past episodes now via 4oD.

Tetsell’s Surprise

12 Jul

© Lime Pictures

Dan Tetsell has been interviewed by Digital Spy regarding his current role in C4 soap Hollyoaks.

The star of MongrelsLab Rats and We Are History has been playing slimy lawyer Jim McGinn in the Chester-based, Liverpool-filmed soap since November, where he has built something of a cult following.

Dan’s interview mostly consists of the charming gent putting himself down a little, as he jokes: “I watched the first ever episode, which dates me horribly I suspect! [My friends] all think it’s absolutely hilarious that I’m now hanging around with all these attractive, beautiful people!”

You can see the full interview over at Digital Spy now, and we’ll have some footage of Tetsell in action at The Velvet Onion Live in a few weeks, so stay peeled.

The Velvet Onion Live: One Year On…

31 May

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Velvet Onion Live!

In character, Matt Berry once memorably said: “Time is a menstruous woman. One cannot control her eddying currents.”  Rarely has a truer remark been uttered in jest.  It’s hard to believe a whole twelve months have passed since our inaugural live event at The Vandella, Shepherd’s Bush, made in collaboration with James Wren and Bob Pipe.  And yet, there it is – a big fat first anniversary.

To celebrate this occasion, as we slowly but surely gear ourselves up to arrange further live events before the second anniversary is upon us and we increasingly look like one-hit-wonders, we will be bringing you weekly installments of footage from the jam-packed event.  It’s fairly lo-fi due to a few technical hiccups on the night, but we recorded the whole event for posterity and now, at last, we can share it with you all.

For those not in the know, the event gathered together a number of our regular names for a night of fun and games.  We had live comedy sets from duos Steven Oram and Tom MeetenRichard Glover and Stephen EvansDolly Wells and Laura PatchGareth Tunley and Alex Kirk.  We had solo sets from Dan TetsellRichard Sandling and Rachel Stubbings, whilst David McNeill nabbed Evans & Glover back for a spot of twisty-nonsense.

And that wasn’t all. Alice Lowe and Antony Elvin gave us a set from Hot Brew, whilst Elvin also regaled us with jaunty ditties alongside Will Summers.  There was a rare chance to see DeadDogInBlackBag perform, and we heralded the return of Waen Shepherd as Gary Le Strange.  The night was rounded off with a sumptuous set from James Cook, and we had Mike Fielding DJ-ing whenever performers took a well earned rest.

The night began, proper, however, with an important health and safety announcement from our honorary member, Bollo:

We’ll be bringing you more footage, all being well, on a weekly basis, so come back next Friday for your next installment!

It’s Your Choice At The TV Awards

27 May

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

© TV Choice Magazine

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

© Baby Cow Productions / Sky Atlantic

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

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

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

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

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

Reminder Round-up

24 Jan

There have been a few appearances of TVO people on the airwaves this week, so here’s a quick reminder of what has been on.

On Tuesday at 10pm the second part of Utopia aired on Channel 4. The show is a dark and enigmatic thriller, with a lot of violence and gore and guest appearances by Dan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby.

Catch up with both episodes on 4OD, and the third part is on next Tuesday.

On Wednesday at 6.30pm on BBC Radio 4, was the third episode of Cabin Pressure, featuring Dan Tetsell as Karl/Otto.

© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Cabin Pressure is a radio show about the crew of a small airline, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Roger Allam, Stephanie Cole and John Finnemore. You can catch this episode and episode 2 on BBC iPlayer, unfortunately the radio player only keeps stuff for two weeks, but if you missed the first and now want to listen you can download it here for 99p. The next episode is on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday at 10pm on BBC 4 was the first episode of Bob Servant Independent, a new six-part series starring Brian Cox (the actor) as a Scottish politician. As we have previously mentioned it also stars Rufus Jones as his slick professional politician opponent Nick Edwards.  As always you can catch this on BBC iPlayer.

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