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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.

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…

Get It Seen

1 Apr

No, that title isn’t just an instruction from us… it’s also the name of a new underground film festival taking place at legendary venue The Hen & Chickens Theatre in Islington this month.

© Hen & Chickens

The venue, which has been a spiritual home for TVO regulars for almost two decades – from The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi to recent shows like the magnificent Kill Phil, has gathered together some of the finest low-budget features and shorts of recent years to come out of the London comedy scene, to show from today through to April 26th,

This includes Peacock Season on April 1st, 4th & 11th.  This legendary film about the Edinburgh Fringe shot at the festival features a top-notch cast including Justin EdwardsPaul FootRichard Glover, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Richard Herring, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and co-writer James Wren.

Other TVO connected films on offer include Phil Whelan‘s slapstick farce Clowntime Is OverStephen Evans‘ nostalgic short The Notorious Bruiser Brothers Revisitedand a chance to see the star-studded Bob Pipe masterpiece The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains on a big screen!

© Bob Pipe

There’s loads more on offer too: we particularly recommend Adriel Leff’s brilliant mockumentary Bloody Lip! To see the full list of shows, and to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s Facebook page now!

Kill Phil Vol. 2

22 Feb
© Phil Whelans

© Phil Whelans

The sublime comedy play Kill Phil returns next month at legendary London venue The Hen & Chickens.

The show is the brainchild of Pros From Dover veteran (and writer/star of My First Planet), Phil Whelans, and co-stars Marny Godden of brilliant sketch troop The Grandees and TVO’s very own Stephen Evans and James Wren.

The plot is simple: Hector and Laramie Van Heusen’s mysterious death and the bequeathing of their only begotten son – who is a man – to a complete stranger – who is another man – sets in motion a murderous train of destruction, slapstick, betrayal, puns, communion with the dead and betrayal by pun that can only end badly.  Except, the show has a good ending.

Featuring a murder, a funeral, a will-reading and a séance, the show is a gloriously witty delight, in turns truly inspired and downright nonsensical in the best possible way. Every cast member has a moment or three to shine, and the fourth wall is positively left in rubble by the time the play is over!

image

The show first ran at The Hen & Chickens back in January, and it is here it stages a triumphant return from Wednesday 5th to Saturday 8th March. Tickets are available now!

Kill Phil

5 Jan
© Phil Whelans

© Phil Whelans

A brand new TVO-packed stage show will be unveiled later this month at legendary London venue The Hen & Chickens.

Entitled Kill Phil, the show is the brainchild of Pros From Dover veteran (and writer/star of My First Planet), Phil Whelans.  It also features a what’s who of the sketch comedy scene: including Marny Godden of The Grandees and TVO’s very own Stephen Evans and James Wren.

The plot is simple: Hector and Laramie Van Heusen’s mysterious death and the bequeathing of their only begotten son – who is a man – to a complete stranger – who is another man – sets in motion a murderous train of destruction, slapstick, betrayal, puns, communion with the dead and betrayal by pun that can only end badly.  Except, apparently, the show has a good ending.

What we know is it will include a murder, a funeral, a will-reading and a séance!

We can’t wait, and thankfully, we won’t have to for very long. The show runs at The Hen & Chickens from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th January, and tickets are available now!

The last time Whelans & Wren collaborated was for Bob Pipe‘s sensational, star-packed The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, which you can see again below.

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

Yesterday we brought you a round-up of the first quarter of 2013, as we’d probably forgotten half of it ourselves, let alone you lovely lot out there.  The second quarter provided loads more great things to celebrate, so we’ve been ploughing through TVO’s archives to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This second instalment of our round-up covers April-June, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

APRIL

April, or Ape-ril as it was renamed by the Sumatran Orangutan Society, began with a plea from TVO regulars Dave Brown and Tony Law to grow your beard as large as possible.  This was, of course, in aid of ape conservation: we are all 96.4% Orangutan after all…

The facial hair theme continued apace, with some of Onion Land’s most mighty beard-wearers being active this month.  First up, Paul Kaye hosted a short exhibition of his art, with TVO attended the star-studded press night to admire his work and have a quick chat to the man himself, though sadly his hectic schedule postponed our latest catch-up… we’re gonna get ya in the new year, mate! Kaye also became the latest big name to join the cast of hugely acclaimed fantasy show Game Of Thrones, as warrior Thoros of Myr.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Whilst the world got increasingly excited about his (then) forthcoming film A Field In EnglandBen Wheatley did the last thing critics expected, and made a string of commercials for Go Compare, further proving he works on his own terms ahead of one of the oddest films of 2013…

Another beardy Onion layer up to good things this month was Matt Berry, who was quietly preparing to unleash his new album, Kill The Wolf. May and June would see an awful lot of Berry activity, but April was no push-over, either.  First off, his radio series I, Regress… returned to the airwaves, and he went on to release the first snippet of his new album with a track called The Devil Inside Me

He wasn’t the only one returning, either. Rhys Thomas brought back his incredibly popular Radio 4 show Down The Line for a fifth run – the sixth if you include short-lived tv spin-off Bellamy’s People. Once again it featured Thomas’ fellow Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and the late, great Felix Dexter. Also along for the ride were Look Around You star Robert Popper, Big Train(and It’s Kevin) actress Amelia Bullmore, Citizen Khanwriter Adil Ray, and another TVO regular (and Rhys’ wife), Lucy Montgomery.

Also back this month were Boosh veterans and indie-folk legends The Ralfe Band, who released the single Come On Go Wild from their new album, Son Be Wise, and toured as support to Manchester’s finest ever band, I Am Kloot.  A video for the single followed on 1st May, which can be seen below.

This month also saw us bid farewell to Life’s Too Short, which returned for a one-off special at Easter. Sadly lacking in Matt Holness magic (Matt was a regular in the show’s first and only series), it nevertheless found the time to bring back Colin Hoult as Warwick Davis‘ useless psychic, Brian. Also along for the ride were telly veterans, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson, as well as former Batman star Val Kilmer. A fine send-off, then, for a show that ended way too soon.

Continue reading

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

Partaaaay With The Forgery Club!

9 Dec

© The Forgery Club/Michael Debono

If your idea of the perfect Christmas party involves a combination of boogying, bevvying and brilliant comedy, then look no further!

The Forgery Club‘s Christmas Party will be taking place on 21st December at Lowdown at The Albany, Great Portland Street in London (their original home).

Hosted by the legendary Pros From Dover (Phil Whelans and Richard Glover), the line-up also includes The Grandees, Anna Morris, Spencer Jones, Rachel Parris, Nathaniel Tapley and Joseph Morpurgo. Plus, the extremely fabulous Oram & Meeten will be headlining the party!

As well as the  characters, sketches, interactive audience fun, games and treats one expects from The Forgery Club, the night will be completed by the Club’s Xmas Disco, with tunes spun by DJ Bastard Ben.

Organised by friend of TVO, the always-awesome Bob Pipe, The Forgery Club Christmas Party starts at 7pm and runs through to 2am on Sunday 22nd December. Tickets are just £10 and are available on the door.

For more information visit the event facebook page.

Your Second Series Of My First Planet

5 Oct

Radio 4 sci-fi sitcom My First Planet - written by and starring Phil Whelans – is set to return for a second series, and you could be in the audience.

© Pozzitive / BBC

The show stars Only Fools And Horses legend Nicholas Lyndhurst as the ineffectual head of a new space colony, alongside Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On) and Tom Goodman-Hill (Another Case Of Milton Jones).  It 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).

Tickets for the three recordings of six episodes are available now, with each session taking place at The Rada Studios on Chenies Street (near Tottenham Court Road).  The first is on October 19th, with follow ups on November 2nd and November 23rd – the latter will be particularly interesting as we know Phil is a massive Doctor Who fan and will be missing the 50th special!

As ever with BBC Radio material, the tickets will be randomly allocated to people who apply, so get over to their Audience page now for a chance to see the show come to life.  We’ll bring you transmission details as soon as possible, so stay peeled!

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

Sucking McGuff, It’s More Masters Of Celluloid

10 Aug

Still craving your regular fix of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains?

If so, just like us, you’ll have recently enjoyed the first editions of Masters Of Celluloid – the spoof making of series starring Warwick Davies, from the mind of the increasingly active Bob Pipe.  The latest edition of the show features Colin Hoult as 50s action hero Eric Shepherd, rehearsing his appearance as rough, tough Wade McGuff.

As an added bonus, The Multiverse have also uploaded a nice little subscribe video featuring Alex Kirk as the Prime Minister.  Leave the Annotations on, or this could look a little suspect…

Now, there’s always a chance these videos are lost on you.  If so, that may be because you missed the parent show.  So, if that’s your current situation, you can see every episode of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, featuring a whole host of TVO regulars, over yonder, and read our interview with writers Bob Pipe, James Wren and Phil Whelans right here.

Onion Radio

7 Jul
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

As we mentioned last week, Colin Hoult‘s new 4-part radio series, Carnival of Monsters, starts tomorrow at 10.30pm on BBC Radio 4 extra. The show is based on his live show, so expect the unexpected!

Colin’s is not the only TVO related radio show being broadcast at the moment. Phil Whelans has written and stars in My First Planet, which is repeated on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm on Thursdays.

The show, about a colony on a distant planet, also stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vicki Pepperdine, Tom Goodman-Hill, Cariad Lloyd and John Dorney. You can catch the first two episodes on BBC iPlayer.

The Brig Society starring Marcus Brigstocke is on Wednesdays on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm. This features Marcus being put in charge of something every week with variable success.

The show also stars Rufus Jones, William Andrews (Anna and Katy) and Margaret Cabourn-Smith. You can also catch up on the first two shows on BBC iPlayer.

Brains Redux

1 Jul

Just as we had started to miss The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains - there’s a brand new version of it to savour!

The sitcom-sketch-hybrid from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans arrived on YouTube channel The Multiverse earlier this year, and featured a whole bevvy of TVO regulars in the cast.

Now some of the best bits from the short episodes have been put together into a 30-minute version, which demonstrates how wonderfully the concept would work on television.  Revisit the magic below…

If you missed it earlier this year, you can read our interview with Bob, James & Phil about all things Brains right here

Radio Features

8 Jun
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

There are a couple of TVO linked radio shows worth a mention this week.

Vent starring Neil Pearson is continuing a repeat run of the first series on BBC Radio 4 extra on Sundays at 11pm. Lucy Montgomery is featured in this 2006 dark comedy about a man in a coma and his family. Catch up with the latest episode on BBC iPlayer.

Later this month My First Planet, written by and starring Phil Whelans starts it’s repeat run on Radio 4. The 4-part series is set on a space colony where the colonists are unfortunately typical human beings who behave badly. The show also stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vicki Pepperdine, Tom Goodman-Hill, Cariad Lloyd and John Dorney. You can catch the show from 27th June and in the meantime you can read about it here.

Mankind Sucks Back!

7 Jun

The final installment of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now online, as humanity makes one last effort to fight back!

You can see our attempts, once more featuring Richard Glover and co-writers Phil Whelans and James Wren below.  This week also features Warwick Davis, Chris Kendall, Phil Nichol, Terry Alderton, Carey Marx, James Redmond, Rob Rouse, Nick Helm, Ricky Grover & Andre Vincent, and is yet again directed by Bob Pipe.

If you missed previous episodes, you can catch them all again here via this handy playlistand don’t forget to catch our interview with Bob, Phil and James concerning all things …Brains from earlier this week.

Onion Talking: The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains!

5 Jun
© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

You’d have to have been living under a rock these last few months not to notice us banging on about a brilliant new web series called The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains.

Jam-packed with TVO regulars, the show is the brainchild of Bob Pipe, and as the show comes to the end of its first run, TVO spoke to Bob and co-writers James Wren and Phil Whelans for the scoop on …Brains.

They came from outer space. Ok, not really. They live in London, but outer space sounds more exciting. Their mission: to suck out our brains. Again, this may be a lie. They’re more interested in stimulating our limbic systems within said organs to make us laugh.

When Forgery Club head honcho Bob Pipe got the call to create his own web-series, he turned to two regular collaborators – Hen & Chickens guru James Wren and improv legend Phil Whelans – to help develop it. The trio are jacks of all comedic trades and masters of several, and the resulting series became The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, which premiered exclusively on YouTube earlier this year.

The cast list for …Brains reads like a who’s who of alternative comedy, with Richard Glover, Colin Hoult, Waen Shepherd, Alex Kirk, Stephen Evans, Gareth Tunley, Richard Sandling, Neil ColeAntony Elvin and Will Summers all furthering the TVO connections. Phil Whelans is also on hand as recurring scientist Professor Langhorne, who pops up to offer invaluable advice on avoiding brain sucking with his esteemed colleague Dr Von Busey (Glover). Alex Kirk plays the hapless Prime Minister with no clue how to handle the crisis, which sees everyone from Army heroes to spaced out teenagers to simple Northern Folk facing the wrath of the alien invaders. It’s all gloriously silly, and insanely addictive.

“To be fair,” Phil Whelans explains, when asked where it all began, “it was all Bob Pipe’s idea. But if it’s successful, then I’ve always wanted to do it. If not, then I thought it was a terrible idea. This concept is called ‘Schrodinger’s Answer’ – the theoretical concept that, in a lead-lined box with a decaying radioactive particle, my answer to this question exists in two distinct states at the same time.”

Bob Pipe directs Will Summers & Antony Elvin [© Bob Pipe]

“Bob is a go-to guy for filmed comedy,” he adds on a more serious note. “For people who are used to turning up at a venue with a bag of props and just walking on stage, filming stuff can be a bit daunting, but Bob knows how to make it happen.”

…Brains has been gestating in Bob Pipe’s mind for many years, with an early version of it forming Bob’s end of year project in his Media Studies HND back in 1999. “We only had a shitty S-Video camera, video deck editing and no proper actors at our disposal,” Bob remembers. “I knew I was limited at what I could make, so I decided to make a B-Movie! I tried to remake it when I was the In-House Director for [now defunct website] ComedyBox, but I never got round to it. Me and a friend tried to pitch it to Channel 4’s Comedy Blap initiative a few years ago but it never got picked up.  But I’ve never given up on the idea, so I pitched it again to Channel Flip when I heard about The Multiverse, who loved it. The rest is history. Or perhaps, the future?” Continue reading

Prime Sucker

31 May

The latest installment of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now online.

This week, Professor Langhorne and Dr. Von Busey (Phil Whelans and Richard Glover), have a meeting with the Prime Minister (Alex Kirk), about the global epidemic of brain sucking. Can it be too late for mankind?

Stay peeled to TVO this weekend for an exclusive interview with writers Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans about all things …Brains – and check out previous episodes featuring the likes of Gareth TunleyWaen ShepherdColin HoultAntony ElvinWill SummersRichard Sandling and many more with this handy playlist over yonder.

Monkey Toast And Commander Strax

28 May

© Monkey Toast

Well that’s not a headline you see every day! In this case it’s also factually accurate – please allow us to explain:

Monkey Toast is an improv-based comedy night from Phil Whelans. This Sunday, 2nd June the show features special guest raconteur, Dan Starkey, who plays Sontaran battle nurse turned Victorian butler Commander Strax on Doctor Who!

This Sunday’s line-up at The Black Heart in Camden also includes David Shore, Briony Redman, Paul Foxcroft, Sara Pascoe, and of course, Phil Whelans. Doors open at 7:00pm  for a 7.30pm  start and tickets are only £5. For more information visit the event facebook page, and to purchase advance tickets click here.

First Contact

16 May

The latest edition of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now online for your peepers to cast their gaze upon.

This week, the leading faiths of our land join forces to try and fend off the alien invaders, and there’s a surprise waiting in Professor Langhorne’s laboratory…

Joining Richard Glover and Phil Whelans this week are none other than TVO regulars Colin HoultAntony ElvinWill Summers alongside the likes of Louie Bayliss, Nathaniel Tapley, Jamie Glassman and Toby Williams.

For those who don’t know, TDTCTSOOB is the brainchild of one Bob Pipe, and is co-written with Phil Whelans and James Wren.  New episodes air each week exclusively on The Multiverse,   and many of the team behind it – including composer Waen Shepherd – can be seen at this Friday’s Forgery Club on London’s South Bank.  For more info, visit this earlier peeling.

Pipe recently spoke to friend of TVO, John Dredge, on behalf of comedy website Comedy Chords, and you can read the results here.  TVO has also been having words with Bobo, and his co-writers Whelans & Wren, and we’ll be bringing you our report on all things …Brains soon, so stay peeled!

Forged Hope

10 May

The latest installment in the gloriously silly web series The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains has emerged online.

This week’s episode from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans features the return of the latter and Richard Glover, with more brain sucking victims including a Blackpool cabaret singer, played by Waen Shepherd and Wren’s chain smoking live wire surgeon.  Meanwhile, Mason Philips minister is not so lucky…

If you’re enjoying …Brains, don’t forget that the team behind it are staging two cult comedy nights in the coming weeks.

Bob Pipe is bringing back his wonderful on-off club night The Forgery Club on Friday, May 17th at The Udderbelly, Southbank.  The 80s special will see the return of swash-buckling time travelers Umbrage Swain & Burton Latimer (played by Wren & Glover), on a mission to solve the Mystery of the Missing Giant Purple Upside Down Cow.

They’ll be accompanied by the mighty Gary Le Strange, along with Dave McNeill, Modern Dreams, Terry Alderton and some surprises, so grab your tickets whilst you can over yonder!

James Wren is also reviving his own popular club-night, Spank in June and July at the same venue, with the show on June 7th featuring Isy Suttie, Vicki Stone, David Armand, Rhys Mathewson and No Son Of Mine – aka Rufus Jones and Alex Kirk.  The following show on July 5th features Tony LawHot Brew, Phil Nichol and Anil Desai, and more info and ticket links can be found over there.

How To Survive Without Your Brain

3 May

In this next installment of the Brain Sucking Saga, Earth people are standing up to the Alien Invasion.

Tips on how to avoid having your brain sucked out include wearing the latest in tin foil headgear, and staying indoors.

Richard Sandling and Neil Cole join in the fun this week, as you can see below.

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